Pollinator Week BINGO!

Every year, a week in June is dedicated to celebrating pollinators. All week long TPI will be posting pollinator-related videos, blog posts, etc. PLUS, you can play BINGO for a chance to win a prize!

To play Pollinator Week BINGO, which features flower-visiting insects you can find in the Northeastern USA this time of year, download and print the Bingo card (below) or screen shot the image on your phone. Take your card/phone outside and if you find the correct insect, mark it off on your printed card with a pen/pencil or with your phone’s photo annotation option.

If you get BINGO! (five in a row, vertical, horizontal, or diagonal, TPI logo is a free space), send a photo of your annotated card to tuftspollinators@gmail.com or tweet a photo and tag @PollinateTufts by 11:59 pm on Friday, June 26. Each completed BINGO! card will be entered in a drawing to win TPI swag and a voucher for a free pollinator-friendly plant at next spring’s TPI plant sale! Limit one entry per person.

For help identifying the insects you observe, download our identification guides or reach out to us with photos via email or Twitter!

Stay tuned for more #PollinatorWeek fun!

Social distancing with cellophane bees

Cellophane bees are very bad at social distancing. In early spring, hundreds to thousands of males and females aggregate on sandy soil and in pines and cedar trees. Males swarm females in large groups termed “mating balls” and, from each cluster, only one male will emerge victorious. Once mated, females get to business building nests. Though solitary, females work in a shared office space called a nesting aggregation for their three-week life. Sometimes, when a female gets bored, she’ll even dip into the nest of another female. Certainly, they do not keep six feet away from each other in the narrow tunnel of the nest. Don’t be like cellophane bees. Practice social distancing.

Cellophane bees are very bad at social distancing. Here, several males have swarmed a female and are competing for the chance to mate with her. PC: Colletes succinctus, Nigel Jones, Flickr

Nevertheless, observing cellophane bees is a great way to social distance while you’re at home and living your best #quarantinelife. In New England, you can find unequal cellophane bees (Colletes inaequalis) nesting in your backyard in late-March/early-April, provided the sod isn’t too thick. Watching cellophane bees be cellophane bees can be a fun distraction. And don’t worry about getting stung since they are quite docile. Here’s a short video to help you get started finding your own cellophane bee nests. If you do find some, take a photo and get in touch! We’d love to hear what you find.

Female cellophane bees nest in close proximity. Each turret of sand marks the entrance to a nest. PC: N. Dorian

TPI spreading across Tufts campuses!

Early last spring, TPI was officially funded by the Tufts Green Fund. Since last year, we planted three pollinator gardens on the Medford/Somerville campus, and generated outreach materials for events on and off campus. Through live-facing events alone, TPI reached over 1,000 people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island!

For this cycle of the Green Fund, the Sustainability Committee from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University reached out about applying to fund pollinator gardens on their campus. As of yesterday, the SMFA pollinator garden project was funded!

We extend our congratulations and are excited to collaborate! Some of the seedlings we’re growing in the greenhouse, as well as TPI signs, will find a home in Boston later this year. If you see a pollinator garden while strolling the SMFA campus, take a moment to watch. You might be surprised by how many pollinators you see!