Pollinators Study Group (Thurston Co, WA)

All our programs -- 7 PM 4th Mondays, Traditions Cafe, downtown Olympia.

Those who depend upon these updates, my apologies.   I will try to be more consistent.

We (continue to) meet on the 4th Monday of the month.  Check our poster link for more details.

Bee well,
Glen Buschmann

JANUARY 23 2017 -- Building Bumble Bee Boxes -- bring a hammer.

With patience and a bit of luck you can raise bumble bees in a nest box.  We will touch on some of the history and variety of bumble bee houses, different ways to place what we build,  look at a bumble bees' natural needs, and review some species one can expect.  We will also discuss ways to document our successes and failures (expect both).
We will devote the majority of the time building nest boxes using different materials.  We will provide materials and some tools, but if you have a favorite hammer or screwdriver, please bring it. 

All our programs -- 7 PM 4th Mondays, Traditions Cafe, downtown Olympia.


NOVEMBER 28 2016 Hummingbirds -- the "big" pollinator --  Janet Partlow

June July August Sept Oct 2016

OCTOBER 24 2016 -- Pollinators and Organic Farms, w/ Elias Bloom

SEPTEMBER 26 2016-- Mason Bees -- a twenty year inquiry --  Glen Buschmann

AUGUST 22 2016 -- Leafcutter Bees -- Insect Artisans

(Stop by the displays the next week at the Thurston County Fair Aug 3-7)

JUNE 27 2016  -- Male Bees -- will post program notes later

As happens in Spring, tasks get lost in the shuffle.  We had an excellent program in March which only now I am posting.  In April we explore butterflies, and May we look at bee variety and bee mimics

MAY 23 2016 -- The Other Bees -- and Their Mimics
The "bee" in the photo is a fly
Sally Vogel has been working with Panorama City developing a pollinator garden and has her camera ready at all times.  Her many wonderful photos include many native bees, as well as many wasps and flower flies who sometimes peacefully coexist with bees, sometimes compete with them, and sometimes even consume them.

APRIL 25 2016 --  Butterflies and Plants
(Photo is of a "Red Admirable" on fall aster.)
Janet Partlow will lead us down the butterfly path.  Butterflies are a minor pollinator, but their lives are closely entwined with plants, from egg laying to adult nectaring.  Despite the bold colorful differences, many anatomical features of butterflies, both larvae and adult, are much like bees.  Knowing the habits and shapes of butterflies often crosses over to the study of bees.

MARCH 28 2016 --  Urban Pollination Project
Susan Waters introduced us to a collaborative citizen science project she co-coordinated, where UW Biology students and Seattle P-Patch gardeners studied pollinators in 33 community gardens in Seattle, looking specifically which bumble bees were present in the different gardens, and were most effective in pollinating tomatoes. (Bombus vosnesenskii did 95%.)

JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2016 NOTICE -- Bees and Books

FEBRUARY — Mining Bees, Digging Bees, and Books

End of February we will use books to go underground and explore the world of Mining and Digger Bees. These hard working bees represent hundreds of species and yet they are little known.  While none of the three books are specific to Western Washington, they fill in details that most of us lack.

Three Bee Books:

• Brand new and outstanding is The BEES in Your Backyard by Wilson and Carrill. Richly illustrated and detailed, it is a fabulous new book that all enthusiasts will will use many times.

• Book two is California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, by Frankie, Thorp, et al.; one year old, it generously and clearly examines both many bees and plants.

• Finally, LeBuhn and Pughs’ Field Guide to the Common Bees of California: Including Bees of the Western United States is just two years old and very well done; this one is small enough to be an excellent pocket guide.

JANUARY — Emerging Bumble Bees 

January often includes a few warmish dry days, perfect enough to bring out two early species of bumble bee queens, stretching and foraging and even considering getting started nesting. In hopeful anticipation we give these two bumble bees — Bombus melanopygus and Bombus vosnesenskii — equal billing on our January poster and study topic.

We have added another "page" to our blog of the monthly Study Group fliers.  I'll keep it updated with the current full page posters, and include links from this page.

We look forward to seeing you 7 p.m. on the fourth Mondays at Traditions Cafe in downtown Olympia (5th Ave. and Waters St.)


We now have a permanent location thru June 2016 -- Traditions Cafe in downtown Olympia!
(300 5th Ave SW, Olympia) 

 This month will focus on making and adding structure(s) to improve habitat.

Please share your experience and questions in making boxes, rock piles, heaps, and other structures that pollinators will use.  Photos and props are encouraged.

There is NO December Study Group meeting.  The January meeting place will also be at Traditions. The January topic will be chosen at the November meeting topic. 

While WE will not have a December meeting, people may want to attend Black Hills Audubon’s mid-December program, where David Jennings will show photographs he has taken of bumble bees and share some stories.  Thurs, Dec 10 7 pm, Temple Beth Hatfiloh.


Our plans are also progressing for a summer weekend on Passion for Pollinators.
Watch for more details soon, or write if you need / want details.

Please freely pass this note along.
Thanks, Glen
Nov 3, 2015

Questions, email olypollinators[at]aol.com

The Pollinator Study Group met and will meet again.
Still 4th Monday.  October at Traditions Cafe, 7 pm
(300 5th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98501)
The October meeting is on Favorite Pollinator Plants.
The November topic is to be decided.
Here is the October poster:

We have several people who will bring photos and suggestions.  Bring your ideas and questions.  No charge, but we will pass the hat for Traditions.  (Other donations, including tasty treats, welcome.)

Please freely pass this note along.
Thanks, Glen

Questions, email olypollinators[at]aol.com

(posted Oct 9 note revised Oct 19)


SEPTEMBER 2015 NOTICE (First event!)
After returning from a Study Weekend on pollinators, with an emphasis on Bumble Bees, it is evident (to me) that IT IS TIME for a study group in Olympia and vicinity.

This page is a Holding Place until an independent web / blog page is put together.  I'll keep this page current until then with some schedule information, etc. and add the link whenever it happens.

Our First Meeting will be on Monday, September 28, 6:00 pm at Olympia Timberland Library.

The intention is to meet on the 4th Monday of most months (Not December), future locations to be determined.  May thru August can be field trips.  A weekend summer symposium is possible. 

We will vary between invited guest speakers and round table discussions on a chosen topic.

To keep this first meeting interesting, it will include show and tell, including displays of projects, gadgets, posters, photos, critters -- whatever you bring!!  Alas, the first meeting will also include discussing logistics -- next meeting place, information exchange, volunteers, some long-term goals. 

In addition to the project displays, a display of baking talent is also acceptable.  (In other words, nosh / snacks are welcome -- thank you thank you thank you.)

If there is interest, after closing the program at 7:45 we can adjourn to a Public House.

Future topics can include: bumble bees, ground bees, nest habitats, macro-photography, trap nesting, venom, leaf cutter and mason bees, commercial aspects, habitat enhancement and construction, syrphid (hover / flower) flies, parasites, and much more  -- depending upon YOUR

By the way, we are NOT a honey bee group.  That is a complicated type of animal husbandry / agriculture.   Olympia Beekeepers Association provides classes and information every month.
(They meet at Chinook Middle School the 2nd Monday of each month except July and August.)

Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas.
Thanks for your interest.

Glen Buschmann
July 28, 2015

1 comment:

  1. A big thanks to Glen, Nancy and Janet, for this website and blog. I found a list of "recommended pollinator conservation seed mix for gardens and urban reclamation". This is a one-page list, with a lot of the plants one normally sees, such as echinacea and monarda. One plant that was very much the draw all summer for my garden (and my neighbors, where I also garden) was figwort. It is a bit aggressive when seeding, but easily controlled. I chopped it back in late July and it returned with a bevy of flowers that called to all manner of bees. Thanks from my local bees goes to Nancy.