Cooperative Extension, Sutter-Yuba Counties
University of California
Cooperative Extension, Sutter-Yuba Counties

UC ANR Blogs

What Effect Did the California Drought Have on Butterflies?

Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, counting butterflies in Gates Canyon, Vacaville, on Jan. 26, 2014. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Remember the California drought of 2011 to 2015? What effect did that have on butterflies? Newly published research examining more than four decades of data collected in central California by Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, clearly reveals the effect: a marked difference between how butterfly populations fared at low and high elevations. It's basically good news for the valley or low-elevation butterflies and bad news for the mountain or high-elevation...

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 1:28 PM

Welcome, Anise Swallowtail!

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon, nectaring on Verbena in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon, fluttered into our pollinator garden and headed straight for the Verbena. Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis, identified the gender: "it's a girl." The Anise Swallowtail, our first sighting of the season, bypassed the butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii. But she'll be back--hopefully to gather some more nectar and lay her eggs on our fennel. The Verbena patch was a little too populated...

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 6:12 PM

The Bee and the Butterfly

A Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) clinging to a lavender stem in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

So here's this Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) clinging to a lavender stem in our pollinator garden. It is all alone--for a little white. Then here come honey bees seeking to forage on the lavender, too. One bee buzzes next to the butterfly's wing. Then it soars up and over. Too much traffic for this butterfly. It moves to the nearby catmint patch. The showy butterfly, a brilliant orange-reddish masterpiece with silver-spangled underwings, first appeared in California in the vicinity...

Posted on Friday, June 1, 2018 at 4:42 PM

Here Come the Carpenter Bees!

A male mountain carpenter bee, Xyclocopa tabaniformis orpifex, nectaring on Spanish lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's spring and it's loud in the Spanish lavender patch. The girls--the honey bees--are buzzing furiously as they forage among the blossoms, but so are the boys, in this case the mountain carpenter bee, Xyclocopa tabaniformis orpifex. The girls are there for the pollen and nectar to take back to their colonies, and the boys are there for some flight fuel.  And to find mates. Xyclocopa tabaniformis orpifex is one of three species of California carpenter bees: the others are Xyclocopa...

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 6:21 PM

Pollinator Plants in the Home Garden

Scarlet bugler and foothill penstemons by B. McGhie

By Brent McGhie, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, March 30, 2018. Pollinators, animals that pollinate plants, are essential for the functioning of virtually all terrestrial ecosystems.  The most common pollinators are insects, including both social and solitary bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and flies.  Birds (primarily hummingbirds) and bats are the most common vertebrate pollinators.  Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (the...

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 5:00 AM

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