Episode 3: National Moth Week with MaLisa Spring

Intro: Welcome to National Moth Week! Oops, I missed it by a couple days… July 18-26 2015. But you can still participate! 

The buzz word: some word used when discussion pollination: Floral Visitor vs Pollinator. What is the difference?

Buzz worthy news: We are in a drought. Western Washington is seeing one of the hottest, driest summers on record, California is in their 3rd year of a significant drought, and I'm sure this is happening all around the country. I wrote a blog post on the whats the buzz blog about how this is affecting pollinators, but I urge you to find out the state of the water supply in your area and do what you can to help your bees! Maybe that means put out a VERY SHALLOW pan with water for them to drink- I've heard a few people say they put fish tank marbles in the pan so the bees have somewhere to land without drowning (bees aren't good swimmers).

Research Updates: We have just finished the second part of the 3 part field season. Part 2, which was conducted over the majority of July saw a marked increase in the abundance and diversity of bees in the gardens and fields. It is very interesting to see the seasonal changes of the communities, for example, in the early season, we saw a lot of bumblebee queens, but in the mid season (part 2) I only saw a couple, but I did see a lot of newly emerged bumblebee adults and just a general increase in the overall diversity of bees. I'm very interested to see how the population will change in the September sampling- part 3. I won't be returning to the field for that portion, because I will be taking classes in the fall semester, but Eli will be heading back out with a couple of people to help.

Interview: I interviewed MaLisa Spring from Ohio State University in the Mary Gardiner Lab (who we heard from last time). Once again, I apologize for the sound quality- we recorded this one through Skype so it is very poor, but if you can lok past the bad sound, MaLisa had some really interesting things to say! On a side note, if you know a better way to record audio via Skype than hitting the record button and having a chat, please email me at whatsthebuzzresearch@gmail.com Follow MaLisa's updates: @entospring on Twitter

Events: As I mentioned, we just missed Moth Week (but you can still enjoy and appreciate all the beautiful moths around you). Our project has a few more CSI Bees classes in Seattle- I will share dates and locations for those in the next episode!

Pollinator of the Day: Cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae. Why am I choosing a butterfly when it is national moth week? For some reason, most people really like butterflies, but a lot of people really hate moths. It seems to be a dislike of moths flying at them, perhaps because their cell phone screen is lighting up the night? Cabbage butterflies are often called moths because people don't like them, and they can't imagine butterflies would do something so awful as to destroy their gardens, but I am here to set the record straight. Those little white butterflies flying around your broccoli bed are butterflies. As caterpillars, they can be significant agricultural pests to pretty much everything in the cabbage family, Brassicaceae (these include cabbage, obviously, broccoli, kale, radish, mustard, cauliflower, canola, brussels sprouts- pretty much all my favorite veggies!). As adults, the cabbage butterfly feeds on nectar, and is therefore a floral visitor. I've collected cabbage butterflies with pollen on their bodies- their underside is fuzzy so they are capable of moving small amounts of pollen. They might not be the most efficient pollinators, but they are doing their small part! 

End: This podcast is supported by a grant from the USDA, and thanks to a grant from WSARE, we will be able to keep it going! Thanks WSARE! If you want more information about the project, visit our website at whatsthebuzzresearch.com. You can contact me there with questions, or you can send an email to whatsthebuzzresearch@gmail.com. You can also follow the project on Twitter @buzz_research, or you can follow me @RLOlsson. Again, thank you so much for listening, and I hope you take a few moments this month to pay attention to the buzz around you!