Plant and insect activity is really ramping up in my native plant garden. Prenelopis imparis flew two weeks ago. I could tell because I found about 12 males drowned in my birdbath one morning. The next day, I found a queen while doing yard work. She hadn't shed her wings or laid any eggs after a week, so I decided to release her. I've observed this species tending aphids on the flower stems of my golden ragwort (Packera aurea). This plant usually grows as a creeping ground cover, but in early spring it sends up 12" tall flower spikes, which never fail to attract lots of aphids.
Last Thursday we finally hit 80 degrees, and there was a big Camponotus flight in my yard. I found two winged queens that afternoon while my kids were playing in their sandbox, and two dealates around 9:30 crawling on my patio. After some research, I identified them as C. chromaiodes. The following day, I found a male drinking nectar from my wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). This is a beautiful spring bloomer that happens to be the first native plant I added to my garden eight years ago. They're basically indestructible, and they have a really cool spring action seed dispersal method.
Here's a photo of a nice corner I have planted with wild columbine, wild geranium, and golden ragwort in the rear. Pollinators love all of these plants and the columbine is a hummingbird favorite.
I actually encourage flowering lawn "weeds" to help pollinators as well. My lawn is full of dandelions this time of year, which I use to brew up a heavenly dandelion wine. Part of that process entails plucking of lots and lots of petals, and while doing this I always find lots of tiny ants on the flowers drinking nectar. This year I found Monomorium minimum, Solenopsis molesta, and Tapinoma sessile on the flowers.
Edited by ANTdrew, April 23 2019 - 10:55 AM.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.