The number of insects in the world has an estimated count of 900,000, representing roughly 80% of the world’s species. They have important jobs to do such as pollination, decomposition, and providing food for other creatures. Because of the different functions they may have in an ecosystem, insects make great bioindicators, revealing if there is poor water quality, showing if there is a change in habitat, or a loss of biodiversity.
Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Found at Center
Schlitz Audubon recently confirmed multiple Rusty Patched Bumble Bees (Bombus affinis) on our property. This bee is the only Federally Endangered Species (effective March 21, 2017) within Milwaukee County and is listed as a Species of Special Concern in Wisconsin. Center staff has been in contact with the US fish and Wildlife Service, and we are developing a plan to improve habitat for this endangered species. Read more.
Fireflies light up our summer nights. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot these fascinating insects. Learn how to identify and count fireflies in your own backyard for this important yet simple Citizen Science project. Help researchers learn more about our firefly populations, distribution, and the environmental factors affecting firefly habitats. Learn more about Firefly Watch here.
Monarch Butterflies at the Center
Schlitz Audubon has undertaken massive land rehabilitation efforts over the past few decades. This includes planting native prairie flowers for adult monarchs and milkweed for caterpillars. Volunteers have participated in Monarch tagging programs. These numbered tags, once found, help inform scientists about migratory patterns of Monarch Butterflies.
At Your Home
One of the best things anyone can do to provide Monarch Butterfly habitat is to plant milkweed in their yard. Caterpillars munch exclusively on milkweed and planting this provides them with vital sustenance. For a more in-depth exploration of Monarch information, read the feature article in our summer 2015 edition of Panorama.
For more regional information visit Wisconsin Butterflies.
Future Insect Monitoring Projects
As resources permit, the Center is looking to include Dragonflies, Ladybugs, and Bumblebees in future citizen science projects. If you are interested in participating in or assisting these, please contact Moya Mowbray.
In the Center’s Shop
Schlitz Audubon’s shop carries a rotating variety of books relating to insects and their relatives, such as the below titles:
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders
Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman
Dragonflies of the North Woods by Kurt Mead
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation | Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.
The Great Sunflower Project | Identifying where pollinators need help and helping.
e-Butterfly | eButterfly is an international, data driven project dedicated to butterfly biodiversity, conservation, and education.