Free Bee and Wasp Cards to Celebrate National Pollinator Week

Ohio is home to more than 450 species of bee. They’re bumble bees, carpenter bees, cuckoo bees and others, and you can identify more than a dozen of them — types you’re likely to see in your garden — using the pocket bee card from The Ohio State University.

And how about some love for wasps? Ohio has an amazing diversity of wasps, including paper wasps, golden digger wasps and potter wasps. Not fond of wasps? They serve as pollinators, are important in the biological control of caterpillars and other pests, and add to the diversity and beauty of our landscapes.

To celebrate National Pollinator Week, The OSU Department of Entomology is offering a free copy of the 4-by-6-inch bee and wasp identification cards. Common Bees of Ohio and Common Wasps of Ohio cards can be requested through July 5th by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to “Bees and Wasps” c/o Denise Ellsworth, OSU Entomology, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691. One copy of each card will be sent per envelope.

Multiple copies of the bee and wasp cards can be purchased through the OSU Extension Publications website.

Free copy of Botany Primer: join us for the USA Phenology Network webinar

Hello! As a reminder, LoriAnne Barnett of USA National Phenology Network will host a webinar on April 23rd at 11AM (60m) for anyone interested in Nature’s Notebook training. This training will orient cooperators who are planning or might be interested in using Nature’s Notebook to collect phenology data. LoriAnne will be sharing a tip sheet on data collection, and will answer questions about how to customize data collection for goals your site may have. She will also share details about the on-line phenology short course and other advanced training offered by NPN this year.

As a thank you, webinar participants will get a free hard copy of the popular Botany Primer!

Please contact LoriAnne to register for this webinar. I hope you can join us on the 23rd!

Phenology updates, spring 2019

Bumble bee phenology: look for queens flying when Virginia bluebells flowers.

Hello phenology fans! I wanted to let you know about some changes happening this year with the OSU Phenology Garden Network…..but first, I want to thank our many amazing volunteers and cooperators.  Our volunteers have done everything including installing gardens, collecting data, hosting educational phenology programs for the public, observing pollinators and even relocating gardens as they outgrew their spaces. I want to thank everyone who has been an enthusiastic partner — particularly those who have been involved with the project since its inception in 2004! Together we have helped thousands of people gain an appreciation for phenology.

If you’re like me, phenology has changed your outlook and your life! There’s no “unseeing” nature’s sequence once you focus your lens. I feel fortunate for the privilege to work with so many dedicated volunteers over the last 15 years. Thank you so much!

  • I hinted last year that changes would be coming to the plant data collection effort. As of 2019, OSU will no longer be collecting plant phenology data. The USA National Phenology Network has agreed to archive the OSU Phenology Garden Network data. If your site would like to continue to observe and gather plant phenology data, I recommend that you link with the USA National Phenology Network’s Nature’s Notebook program.  They will also provide training to sites interested in collecting phenology data through Nature’s Notebook. Lorianne Barnett of NPN will host a webinar on April 23rd at 11AM for anyone interested in Nature’s Notebook training. About a third of the OSU Network plants are on the Nature’s Notebook site, and more can potentially be added. Please contact Lorianne to register for this webinar.
  • Of course, your phenology garden can continue on however it makes sense at your location whether or not you decide to collect and submit data through Nature’s Notebook or The Great Sunflower Project.
  • Some garden sites have transitioned to include pollinator habitat demonstration. Thanks to a Pollinator Health grant, we are again able to provide flats of native perennials for educational or demonstration sites across the state. These can be phenology garden sites, but could also be other public demonstration sites not formerly part of the OSU Phenology Garden Network. This year, we have flats of native perennials used by specialist bees (4 plants each of 8 different species from the list below). We can also provide up to three flats (32 plugs each) of common milkweed Asclepias syriaca for educational/demonstration use (not private lands/gardens). These plants will be available for pickup at Secrest Arboretum on May 2nd from 10AM to 12 Noon. We will gather in Miller Pavilion to have a short program, distribute plants and take a phenology walk in the arboretum with Dan Herms. Register here to reserve plants to pick up on May 2nd! 

We will also have a limited number of tall metal plant markers for sale $4 each on May 2nd (bring a cash or a check made payable to Lora Avens). Reserve markers on the “reserve plants” link above.

Native perennials for specialist bees. This is our master list of plants we’re growing for demonstration and habitat projects, including making bee observations through The Ohio Bee Atlas project on iNaturalist:

Ratibida columnifera, upright prairie coneflower

Ratibida pinnata, pinnate prairie coneflower

Solidago nemoralis, gray goldenrod

Solidago rigida, stiff goldenrod

Solidago speciosa, showy goldenrod

Symphyotrichum leave, smooth blue aster

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum , calico aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England aster

Vernonia fasciculata, prairie ironweed

Veronicastrum virginianum, culver’s root

Zizia aurea, golden Alexanders

Be sure to let me know what questions you have, and thanks again for sharing your time and talents with the OSU Phenology Network, whether you’re a recent or long-time cooperator!

Best wishes for a warm, sunny spring,


Native Perennials for OSU Phenology Garden Network sites

Yes, we have more plants available — up to 5 flats– for your OSU Phenology Garden Network site! Phenology Garden sites are receiving first notice of this offer, going out to Extension offices today.

Thanks to a NIFA IPM grant for pollinator health and an amazing grower (Bob Filbrun at the OARDC Muck Crops branch), the OSU Bee Lab’s “Partners for Pollinators” project ( is able to provide native perennial plugs (3″ containers) for OSU pollinator-related research and demonstration projects. Do you have an existing pollinator/phenology display garden or research plot you’d like to expand? A new pollinator outreach project you’d like to develop? A citizen science monitoring effort, or another good public use of native perennial plants to help pollinators?

We have nearly two dozen species of native perennials available, including milkweed, aster, liatris, lobelia, rattlesnake master, wild bergamot, mountainmint and many more. You can mix flats at pick-up (most plants are in 4-packs, with 32 or 72 plants to a flat) to create garden diversity. We also have rooted cuttings of native shrubs, including staghorn sumac, buttonbush, dogwood and willow.

Each project request can receive up to 5 flats of plants. 

To request plants, please complete this form, including total number of flats requested and intended location and use. 

Flats must be picked up on June 28th between 11AM and 2PM at OARDC in Wooster near Thorne Hall (details will be e-mailed) by an OSU employee or affiliated (phenology) volunteer. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Plants can only be used for OSU (including OSU partner) pollinator educational, display or research projects: no home plantings, and no resale. Recipients agree to follow up with photos and brief use of site details for pollinator events, displays or programs. Quantities are limited, so make a request ASAP!

Thanks for helping the bees,


Bee Blitzes across Ohio during National Pollinator Week, June 16 – 24

Join Denise Ellsworth from the OSU Bee Lab along with fellow bee enthusiasts at one of these Bee Blitz events across Ohio during National Pollinator Week, June 16 – 24. We’ll use nets and vials to catch (and then release) bees in the field and identify common Ohio species. Shorter events are free; longer events require registration and small fee (see below).

Nets, bee ID guides and vials provided to use in the field. Bring water, a snack or lunch in a day pack, and dress for the weather and ticks. If the weather looks threatening, call Denise to check for cancellations: (234) 249-4346. Questions? Contact Denise at

  • Saturday, June 16th: 11:00 – 1PM (no fee)

Bissell Nature Center,  3973 Callender Road, Rock Creek, OH 44084

  • Monday, June 18th: 1PM – 3PM (no fee)

Smuckers Store, Orville. Meet in parking lot: pollinator plot is south of the lot.

Secrest Arboretum, Wooster (Miller Pavilion, #5 on the map)

Ohio Pollinator Advocate Training and PM Bee Blitz

Indoor training in the morning, field time in the afternoon

Bring your lunch

  • Wednesday, June 20: 1PM – 3PM (no fee)

Rittman Orchard, Doylestown. Meet at the orchard store entrance.

  • Thursday, June 21: 1PM – 3PM (free for members, $10 fee for non-members to enter Holden)

Holden Arboretum, Kirtland. Meet at the visitor center.

OSU’s Waterman Farm, Columbus

Ohio Pollinator Advocate Training and PM Bee Blitz

Indoor training in the morning in the farm classroom, field time in the afternoon

Bring your lunch

  • Saturday, June 23: Anytime between 10AM – 5PM

Pollinator Palooza at Franklin Park Conservatory

Come to the pollinator garden throughout this free pollinator festival!

Bees in Your Backyard, a special workshop for OSU phenology cooperators

Join author and biologist Olivia Carril on June 1 for this special workshop in Worthington:

Bees in Your Ohio Backyard

June 1, 9:30 to 3PM 

Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road

Columbus, OH 43235

The session will include classroom time,  time spent with microscopes, and exploration in the field.

Please bring your lunch! Coffee and light refreshments provided.

Register here:

Questions? Please let me know!

Spring Update follow up!

Thanks to everyone for a great turnout at yesterday’s OSU Phenology Network spring update! Visit our garden network website here.

I promised to follow up with several items, including how to register for the free Bees in Your Backyard session on June 1st at the NW library in Worthington with Olivia Carril, open to all active Network cooperators. The session will run from 9:30AM to 3PM, and will include indoor bee ID and biology, time spent under microscopes, and time in the field catching and releasing bees. Cooperators can register here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can create account with The Great Sunflower Project and learn more about monitoring for pollinators here.

I will clarify the “flower number” definitions for all our plants, and will post updates as soon as I can put materials together.

Yesterday’s powerpoint program is embedded on our website here.

A general phenology powerpoint program can be found here. You can download by clicking on the settings wheel, then customize on your computer.

Our session included information on the Ohio Pollinator Advocate program. Here’s a link to that website, which includes powerpoints and other resources.

The ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds handed out yesterday are for you, just for fun. Don’t feel like you have to include them in your phenology garden, and it’s up to you whether you want to monitor the sunflowers for pollinators through The Great Sunflower Project.

Similarly, the flat of native perennials is to enhance your phenology garden if appropriate. Don’t feel obligated to monitor these plants unless you have the time and cooperators to do so.

I’m checking into possibilities for ordering metal stakes, although most suppliers I know of are out of business. I have one lead to follow, and I’ll let everyone know what I learn.

Here’s the link to request engraved labels for your phenology plants.

Other links I wanted to share:

Special thanks to Jason Veil and Paul Snyder for leading arboretum walks, to Bob Filbrun and Jeni Filbrun for growing our plants, and to Karen Edgington for help with set up and clean up yesterday.

And thanks to all for your continued involvement with the Ohio Phenology Garden Network! We have an amazing group of cooperators, and I’m consistently proud to work with this project.