Native Plant Profile: Amelanchier

I could probably talk about Amelanchier until my voice gave out (at least an hour!). It’s such a great multi-season plant in the garden, and brings so much value to wildlife, as well. It’s also a great example of how native plants convey a “sense of place” that is not imparted by conventional, non-native plants in the garden.

Although the Genus is distributed across the Northern hemisphere, the greatest diversity is found in North America. As you can see from the BONAP distribution map, Amelanchier diversity is the greatest in the Northeast. New York State hosts 14 species, varieties, natural hybrids, and subspecies. And New York City is home to 6 of those.

2013 BONAP North American Plant Atlas. TaxonMaps - Amelanchier

Amelanchier in my garden

Amelanchier was one of the key plants I included in my backyard native plant garden design in 2009. To fit my design, I needed a tree form with a single trunk and broad canopy.

Final rendering, backyard garden design

Most of the species grow as multi-stemmed twiggy shrubs. In my design, I specified A. arborea, the only species that would normally grow with a single trunk. But straight species are difficult to find in the horticultural trade. Even nurseries specializing in native plants are unlikely to carry this species. I would likely need to find a “standard”: a plant grown with a single trunk that normally wouldn’t.

In Spring of 2010, I went hunting for a specimen for my garden. I found one at Chelsea Garden Center on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was the second most expensive single plant I’ve ever bought. But worth it!

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

What I found is Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’, a selection of a horticultural hybrid of two species: A. arborea and A. laevis. So arborea is in there somewhere! This cultivar was selected for its vividly colored autumn foliage. But any of the species will have beautiful fall color.

The new serviceberry, planted and mulched, May 2010

Their peak bloom in our area is just weeks away, before the ornamental cherries, and the dreaded callery pear. We’ll follow the seasons, starting with where we are right now, Winter.


This is Amelanchier ‘Autumn Brilliance’ in my backyard, as viewed from a bathroom window, after our January snowstorm.

Amelanchier in snow in my backyard, January 2022

Winter into Spring. Here’s a lengthening and expanding bud on my backyard Amelanchier, which I shared last week. It still looks like this. These terminal buds will become the flowers.

Detail, buds, *Amelanchier* 'Autumn Brilliance', serviceberry, shadblow, in my backyard, February 2022

Bud break. The emerging inflorescence is covered in dense silvery hairs, which offer protection from late frosts. The leaves will emerge later from separate buds along the stems.

Flower Buds, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'


The big show is coming soon! It’s the first woody plant to bloom in my garden, early April or even late March in warm Springs. Two common names refer to its bloom time. Shadblow, because it would bloom when the shad are running. And serviceberry, because it bloomed when the ground had thawed enough to bury winter’s dead.

Over the next few weeks, these distinctive furry flower buds continue to expand.

Buds, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

As they mature, the inflorescences start to turn more upright and the pedicels lengthen. The whole tree turns a little less furry and fuzzy.

Flower Buds, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
Flower Buds, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

Finally, the buds start to open, revealing the bright creamy white of the petals. At this stage, they almost look like flowering peas.

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

When the flowers are fully open, they reveal their true nature. Amelanchier is in the Rosaceae, the rose family. Here you can clearly see the five-fold symmetry of rose relatives. At this stage, the leaves just start to emerge.

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
Morning Glory: Amelanchier still shy of full bloom in my urban backyard native plant garden

In full bloom they are spectacular and conspicuous in the landscape. This is when you are most likely to notice them, if you haven’t been stalking their progress all along, as I might do. Even at highway speeds, they are recognizable when flowering. There’s a line of them along the McDonald Avenue border of Green-Wood Cemetery. My commuter bus drove down this road on the return trip from Manhattan. I would sit on the right side of the bus to soak them in.

Garden hybrid Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance' blooming in the backyard, April 2020

NYC is home to many bee species — especially mining bees, Andrenidae — that specialize in flowers of the Rosaceae. Most of our bees are solitary bees, and many of them nest in the ground. They are only active and visible for a month or so, as the females prepare new ground nests and provision their eggs with pollen balls. The rest of the year, the larvae and pupae are underground, slowly maturing, or aestivating through the winter, waiting for next year’s Spring.


Juneberry is descriptive: Berries ripen in the summer, typically June. Ripening berries on my backyard Amelanchier in 2011. They turn dark reddish purple when ripe, but good luck getting to them before the birds and squirrels. Technicaly edible, this cultivar’s fruit are mealy and seedy, better left for wildlife. Other species are used for making jams, or enjoyed right off the bush.


When we first bought our house, our next-door neighbors had an old, failing apple tree in their backyard, next to our shared fence. The fruit never ripened. Monk parakeets loved to munch on the apples.

They were also visited by cedar waxwings, another bird I had never seen before They seemed to love picking insects off the flowers in spring, presumably to feed to their young, as much as they enjoyed the fruits in summer. After our neighbors had their tree taken down, we rarely saw the monk parakeets, except when they flew overhead. And we never saw the waxwings again. I hoped another Rosaceae would bring them back.

This intent has been successful.

Cedar waxwing in my Amelanchier, juneberry, June 2018

The berries are enjoyed by many different birds in my backyard.

Catbird in my Amelanchier, juneberry, June 2018Zonotrichia albicollis, white-throated sparrow, in my backyard Amelanchier, serviceberry, April 2020
Turdus migratorius, American robin, juvenile, in Amelanchier, serviceberry, in my backyard, June 2019Turdus migratorius, American robin, in my backyard Amelanchier, January 2021


Amelanchier‘s autumn foliage is brilliant, after all. This is from its second Fall in my garden, a year and a half after planting.

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance', Serviceberry

This is from November 2014, four years after planting.

Morning Glory: Amelanchier/Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance' leaves peak in my urban backyard native plant garden/habitat

Related Content

Twitter: #WildflowerHourNYC Twitter thread, 2022-03-09

Related blog posts:

Flickr, photo album: Planting a Tree


Wikipedia: Amelanchier
BONAP North American Plant Atlas, county-level species Genus distribution maps: Amelanchier
MOBOT Plant Finder: Amelanchier
NC State University Plant Toolbox: Amelanchier
Plants for a Future

Pollen Specialist Bees of the Eastern United States, Jarrod Fowler

Megachile, Leaf-Cutter Bees

A leaf-cutter bee removes a segment from a leaf of Rhododendron viscosum, swamp azalea, in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat (National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat #141,173). You can see other segments – both completed and interrupted – on the same and adjacent leaves.

Like carpenter bees, Leaf-cutters are solitary bees that outfit their nests in tunnels in wood. Unlike carpenter bees, they’re unable to chew out their own tunnels, and so rely on existing ones. This year, I’ve observed a large leaf-cutter – yet to be identified – reusing a tunnel bored in previous years by the large Eastern carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica.

They use the leaf segments to line the tunnels. The leaves of every native woody plant in my garden has many of these arcs cut from the leaves. The sizes of the arcs range widely, from dine-sized down to pencil-points, reflecting the different sizes of the bee species responsible.

Tiny arcs cut from the leaves of Wisteria frutescens in my backyard.

I speculate that different species of bees associate with different species of plants in my gardens. The thickness and texture of the leaves, their moisture content, and their chemical composition must all play a part. I’ve yet to locate any research on this; research, that is, that’s not locked up behind a paywall by the scam that passes for most of scientific publishing.

Although I’ve observed the “damage” on leaves in my garden for years, this was the first time I witnessed the behavior. Even standing in the full sun, I got chills all over my body. I recognize now that the “bees with big green butts” I’ve seen flying around, but unable to observe closely, let alone capture in a photograph, have been leaf-cutter bees.

As a group, they’re most easily identified by another difference: they carry pollen on the underside of their abdomen. A bee that has pollen, or fuzzy hairs, there will be a leaf-cutter bee.

An unidentified Megachile, leaf-cutter bee, I found in my garden.

Another behavior I observe among the leaf-cutters in my garden is that they tend to hold their abdomens above the line of their body, rather than below, as with other bees. Perhaps this is a behavioral adaptation to protect the pollen they collect. In any case, when I see a “bee with a perky butt,” I know it’s a leaf-cutter bee.

When they’re not collecting leaves, they’re collecting pollen. Having patches of different plant species that bloom at different times of the year is crucial to providing a continuous supply of food for both the adults and their young.

An individual bee will visit different plant species (yes, I follow them to see what they’re doing). And different leaf-cutter species prefer different flowers. All the plants I’ve observed them visit share a common trait: they have tight clusters of flowers holding many small flowers; large, showy flowers hold no interest for the leaf-cutter bees.

Related Content


BugGuide: Genus Megachile

Amphion floridensis, Nessus Sphinx Moth

Amphion floridensis, Nessus Sphinx Moth, on Rhododendron viscosum, Swamp Azalea, in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat. The two bright yellow bands are a key for this species.
Amphion floridensis, Nessus Sphinx Moth, on Rhododendron viscosum, Swamp Azalea

Another lifer moth for me, I saw this in my backyard a few weeks ago. Fortunately, I had my camera with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to break out the flash, or the tripod. This was a fast-moving moth.

Here is a better view of the moth at rest. This is from Flickr member Circeson, taken in Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta Visitor

Amphion only has one brood as far north as New York, from April to July. The specific epithet floridensis – of Florida – points to its more southern range.

Swamp Azalea flowers are intensely fragrant, reminding me of cloves and maple. The deep, trumpet-shaped flowers are perfectly suited to this moth, which hovers in front of each flower while it sips out nectar with its long tongue from the nectaries at the base of the corolla.

Sphinx Moths, Family Sphingidae, are medium to large moths, generally colorful, and certainly eye-catching in flight.

Related Content

Flickr photo set



Native plants blooming in my garden today

Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle, blooming in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat this afternoon.
Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle
My little urban backyard native plant garden is in its peak Spring bloom:

  • Amsonia tabernaemontana, eastern bluestar
  • Aquilegia canadensis, eastern red columbine
  • Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Asarum canadense, wild ginger
  • Chrysogonum virginianum, green-and-gold 
  • Cornus stolonifera ‘Cardinal’
  • Dicentra eximia, fringed bleeding heart
  • Fragaria virginiana, Virginia strawberry 
  • Geranium maculatum, spotted geranium (just starting)
  • Iris cristata, dwarf crested iris
  • Lonicera sempervirens, trumpet honeysuckle
  • Phlox stolonifera, creeping phlox
  • Photinia pyrifolia (Aronia), red shokeberry (just finishing)
  • Podophyllum peltatum, mayapple
  • Polygonatum biflorum, Solomon’s seal
  • Sedum ternatum, woodland stonecrop
  • Tiarella cordifolia, foamflower
  • Trillium (various)
  • Vaccinium angustifolium, lowbush blueberry
  • Vaccinium corymbosum, highbush blueberry
  • Viola sororia, dooryard violet, common blue violet
  • Viola striata, striped cream violet
  • Zizea aurea, golden alexander

Phlox stolonifera, Creeping Phlox. These appear blue on-screen, not at all like the purple they carry in the garden.
Phlox stolonifera, Creeping Phlox

Fragaria virginiana, Virginia Strawberry
Fragaria virginiana, Virginia Strawberry

Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander
Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander

Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Red Columbine
Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Red Columbine

Vaccinium corymbosum, Highbush Blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum, Highbush Blueberry

Chrysogonum virginianum, Green-and-Gold
Chrysogonum virginianum, Green-and-Gold

Amsonia tabernaemontana, Eastern Bluestar
Amsonia tabernaemontana, Eastern Bluestar

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My Native Plant Garden

Rest for Winter’s Dead

2019-04-07: Additions and link corrections

Amelanchier Flower Buds
Flower Buds, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

With a score or so species, subspecies, and natural hybrids native to northeastern North America, the genus Amelanchier goes by several common names, many of which represent the plants’ phenology:

It blooms – blowswhen the shad are running.
The edible, dark-purple fruit ripen in June.
It blooms now, when the ground has thawed enough to dig new graves, and services can be held for those who died during the Winter.
Alosa sapidissima, American Shad, print by Shermon Foote Denton, First Annual Report of the Commissioners of Fisheries, Game, and Forests of the State of New York (1896)

County-level map of Amelanchier distribution, Biota of North America Program (BONAP)
County-level map of Amelanchier distribution, Biota of North America Program (BONAP)

There are examples of Amelanchier blooming all around us, if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to encounter Pyrus calleryana, Callery Pear, alien and invasive, and widely planted as street trees. This year, they started blooming before the Serviceberries.

Serviceberries, to my eye, are more elegant, with widely-spaced branches, and feathery flowers held in elongated clusters. My specimen, Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’, finally bloomed two days ago. It’s opening unevenly, still a day or two away from full bloom. Perhaps it’s as suspicious of our early Spring as I am, hoarding its treasures lest they all be squandered at once to a hard frost.

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'


Related Content

Native Plant Profile: Amelanchier x grandiflora


Wikipedia: Amelanchier
BONAP: Amelanchier

Cellophane Bees Return

Cellophane Bee

Colletes thoracicus, Cellophane Bee, is a native species of solitary, ground-nesting bees. Solitary, because each nest is burrowed out by a single queen, who constructs several chambers in which to lay individual eggs. Solitary, yet communal: where they find the right conditions, the nests can be densely packed.Here’s a short video showing the activity on Saturday morning.

This is the third year for what I’ve come to think of as “my little bees.” I noticed the holes earlier last week, and saw all this activity last Saturday, as I was readying for the Plant Swap. This is the earliest in the year that I’ve noticed them.

Make Your Garden Bee-Friendly

These bees took up residence in a “neglected” spot of the garden, one of the benefits of being a lazy gardener/ecosystem engineer. Different species of bees have different requirements. Here are some things you can do to make your garden bee-friendly.

  • Avoid chemicals, especially pesticides.
  • Leave some areas of bare or muddy ground for ground-nesting species.
  • Set aside “wild” areas, even a few square feet.
  • Provide bee nesting houses.
  • Forego that perfect lawn, minimize lawn area, and/or mow less often.
  • Plant a diversity of flowering plants; bees prefer yellow, blue, and purple flowers.
  • Provide a succession of blooming plants throughout the growing season, especially early spring and late fall.
  • Provide a mix of flower shapes to accommodate different bee tongue lengths.
  • Emphasize native perennial plants. (See plant lists under Links below.)
  • Minimize the use of doubled flowers.
  • Select sunny locations, sheltered from the wind, for your flower plantings.
  • Practice peaceful coexistence.


Related Content

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, Flickr photo set

Who cares about honeybees, anyway?, 2009-11-04, my guest rant on Garden Rant

Bee Watchers Needed in NYC (and a rant), 2009-06-05
Bees, a Mockingbird, and Marriage Equality, 2009-05-22
Cellophane Bees Return, 2009-05-09
Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, 2008-05-26



Great Pollinator Project
Understanding Native Bees, the Great Pollinators

Plant Lists

Regional Plant Lists, PlantNative
Plants Attractive to Native Bees, USDA 


Ecoregion Location Maps and Planting Guides, Pollinator Partnership
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
Urban Bee Gardens, Dr. Gordon Frankie, University of Berkeley
The Xerces Society

Fall Approaches, 2009

September Dogwood, Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, 2009September Dogwood

My clear signal for the onset of Spring is the blooming of Snowdrops, Galanthus species. The reddening leaves of Dogwoods, Cornus species, tell me that Fall has really begun in my neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn. Soon to come are the yellows of the Locust trees, Gleditsia and Robinia species, and the psychedelic rainbows of White Ash, Fraxinus americana. The big show is put on by the Maples and Oaks.

Conditions are ideal for spectacular foliage this year. We’ve had ample rains over the summer following near-record Spring rains. The NY State Foliage Forecast predicts that peak foliage will reach New York City around the last week of October. This timing couldn’t be more perfect. On Saturday, October 24, fellow gardener Tracey Hohman and I will be guiding the first Fall Foliage Street Tree Walking Tour for Sustainable Flatbush. We’ll be walking the same route we’ve visited the past two Springs, so participants can see the same trees this Fall that they’ve seen in the Spring.

Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour, Arbor Day 2009. That’s me in the middle, next to the tree. Photo by Keka

Brilliant, near-peak foliage will make its first appearance in New York State this weekend in parts of the Adirondacks, while rapidly changing colors in the Catskills will bring most of the region to around the midpoint of change …
I Love NY Fall Foliage Report, week of September 23-29


Related Content

Fall Approaches. 2008-10-22

The Luminous Streets, 2007-11-25
Fall Approaches, 2007-10-01

More Fall Color in Beverley Square West, 2006-11-11
Fall Color in Beverley Square West, 2006-10-28

All Fall posts


I Love NY Foliage Forecast

Sustainable Flatbush

Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer

Although I’ve lived in Brooklyn since 1992, I didn’t encounter Sphecius speciosus, the Eastern Cicada Killer, until we moved to Flatbush in 2005. It was summer, and I was working outside in the garden. Suddenly, here was the biggest wasp I had ever seen, large and loud, buzzing around my driveway and digging into the lawn next to it. I freaked out. I hosed out the burrow and destroyed the nest.

I regret having done that. I attribute my over-reaction partially to the stresses of being a first-time homeowner. I now find them beautiful. I consider myself lucky that we live in an urban area where these specialists can thrive. Besides, they are much too busy during their short adult lives to bother with people.

Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer, with prey, just inside the Eastern Parkway entrance of the Osborne Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, August 2009
Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer

They have a fascinating, if gruesome by human standards, life history. It could easily be the inspiration for the xenomorph of the Alien movie series.

After mating, the female digs out a deep tunnel leading to a multi-chambered nest. They’re impressive excavators. This debris pile appeared overnight alongside our driveway and sidewalk in August of 2012. The concrete curb is 3″ high.
Burrow of Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer

Here’s the entrance to a nest in Cattus Island Park in Toms River, in the coastal pine barrens of New Jersey, in August of 2011. Note there are 4 different colors of sand, showing the different layers, and depths, the female reached.
Nest, Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer

The female then hunts for and captures an adult cicada, paralyzing it with its sting without killing it. It returns with the cicada to its burrow, dragging it into one of the chambers of the nest. It lays a single egg on the cicada. It repeats this process several times. The female dies soon after egg-laying.

Sphecius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer, with prey, at the Flatbush CommUNITY Garden, July 2008
Spechius speciosus, Eastern Cicada Killer

When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the still-living cicada. When the cicada hs been completely consumed, the larva spins a cocoon and overwinters as a pre-pupa. In Spring it emerges from the cocoon as a pupa, eventually metamorphosizing and emerging as adults, male and female, for mating and renewing the cycle.

Dog-day Cicada (annual Cicada) in Prospect Park, July 2008
Dog-day Cicada

Cicada killers are solitary wasps. Males emerge from pupal cases in mid-July to early August, a few weeks before the females. The males tunnel out of the ground, leaving telltale holes, and select a territory that they actively defend. Females mate soon after emerging, and then begin digging burrows in the ground using their mandibles and legs. The burrows can be several feet deep with numerous branches.

Once construction is complete, the female searches in trees and shrubs. Upon capturing a cicada, the female stings it injecting venom. Then, she carries the cicada back to the burrow, where she lays an egg on its living, but paralyzed body. Within two weeks, the egg hatches into a larva, eats the cicada, and develops into a pre-pupa, the stage at which it will spend the winter. Cicada killers are active in late summer, the same time that cicadas are present. By September, most adults have died.

Although visually alarming, these wasps pose little threat. Females are not aggressive and rarely sting, unless excessively provoked. Males often display territorial behavior and will dive-bomb people’s heads; however, they have no sting and pose no real threat.

Cicada Killer, Master Beekeeper Program, Cornell University

Felis catus ssp. cicadakilleratus ‘Ripley’ on my back porch, August 2009
Ripley with Cicada

I was prompted to write this in response to a message sent out on the Flatbush Family Network:

We seem to have an underground yellow jacket nest on our front walkway with a “Queen” that is about 2.5 inches long…..a little frightening to me but will absolutely scare the wits out of my kids- she looks like she can carry her own luggage! Anyone know an exterminator that can come and get rid of this Quick!?

Thanks, Lori


Related Content

Dog-Day Cicadas, 2008-07-11
Flickr photo set




University of Kentucky Entomology
Ohio State University Extension

Magicicada Brood II emerges

I was excited to hear that periodical cicadas are emerging on Staten Island. Knowing my interest in such things, Blog Widow alerted me that he had just read about it on one of his favorite blogs, Joe My God, reporting on an article in the Staten Island Advance:

Batches of cicadas, those giant, singing insects that emerge in a massive swarm every 17 years, have begun to poke their heads out of the earth … Similar early risers have been detected all along the Eastern Seaboard … Some of the obnoxiously loud insects have been seen, and heard, in Wolfe’s Pond Park in Huguenot and in Great Kills backyards in recent weeks.
Cicadas are out, loud and early, Phil Helsel, Staten Island Advance, 2009-06-04

I wrote last year about Magicicada, the genus of periodical cicadas, last year, in anticipation of the emergence of Brood XIV in Brooklyn. Alas, they never showed up; they seem to have been extirpated in Brooklyn, historically part of their range.

In any given area, adult periodical cicadas emerge only once every 13 or 17 years, they are consistent in their life cycles, and populations (or “broods”) in different regions are not synchronized. Currently there are 7 recognized species, 12 distinct 17-year broods, and 3 distinct 13-year broods, along with 2 known extinct broods, found east of the Great Plains and south of the Great Lakes, to the Florida Panhandle.
Magicicada Mapping Project

The next brood in the NYC area was Brood II, a 17-year brood, expected in 2013. But it has emerged four years early, in 2009.

Some periodical cicadas belonging to Brood II are emerging in several states along the east coast. … The extent of this year’s acceleration is not known, but could occur anywhere in the Brood II distribution …
Cicadas, College of Mount St. Joseph

Off-year emergence, whether it precedes or follows the expected year, is called “straggling”:

The exact causes, or even the prevalence, of straggling is not well understood. Straggler records have long confounded attempts to make accurate maps of Magicicada broods, which is one of the reasons the Magicicada mapping project exists. Among 17-year cicadas, straggling seems particularly common 1 or 4 years before or after an expected emergence (e.g., cicadas emerging in 13, 16, 18, and 21 years), although stragglers with other life cycle lengths have also been found. Straggling has been detected in all seven Magicicada species.
Stragglers, Magicicada Mapping Project

The historical range of Brood II does not, unfortunately, include Brooklyn.

Similar early risers have been detected all along the Eastern Seaboard, and an Ohio researcher who has studied the bugs for 35 years is sure warmer winters are to blame.

“This is the fifth brood where part of it is coming out early,” said Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. “When you have a phenomenon that is that widespread, the most likely candidate is some kind of climate-driven response.” …

Parts of broods coming out four years too early is a phenomenon first documented in 1969 in Chicago, but prior documents suggest it may have occurred earlier. The last time Brood II came out in full force was in 1996, and most of that brood still will burrow out of their underground homes on time in 2013.

Kritsky, who has studied cicadas for 35 years and expects his most recent findings to be published this month in Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, said the fluid disruption caused by warm winters affects cicadas only during their first five years of life, and it always results in emerging four years too early.
Cicadas are out, loud and early


Related Content

(Magi)Cicada Watch, 2008-05-21


Cicadas are out, loud and early, Phil Helsel, Staten Island Advance, 2009-06-04
Cicadas Appear Four Years Early, Joe MY God, 2009-06-04

Brood II, Magicicada Mapping Project

Brood XIV, Massachusetts Cicadas
Cicada Central, University of Connecticut
Cicada Web Site, College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH
Chicago Cicadas
Magicicada, Wikipedia
Mathematicians explore cicada’s mysterious link with primes, Michael Stroh, Baltimore Sun, May 10, 2004

Cellophane Bees Return

I’m no entomologist, but I think this is the same species, Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, that “bee guy” John Ascher identified from my photos last year. This is an individual from a colony that appeared this week in the same place it appeared last year about this time.

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees

We’ve had rain almost every day for a week. Yesterday I had the day off, and the weather also took a break, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s (F). Seems like perfect digging-in-the-ground conditions to me.

The area of activity is much larger this year than last. I wish I had a video camera. In the area of this photo, there were at least 30-40 bees flying around, but I can’t pick them out from the photo at this scale and resolution.

Colony Area

Related Content

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, 2008-05-26
Flickr photo set


Wikipedia: Colletidae