Creating A Rhode Island Butterfly Garden

Times are definitely changing. At the time of this writing we are in the midst of a global pandemic, where everyone is asked to self isolate and keep six feet away from friends and family. These are trying times, emotionally and financially, so what is someone to do to help weather the storm? With it being spring, one thing you can do is help another global issue; the decline of pollinators.

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BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “Common Spiders of North America” by Richard A. Bradley

Growing up I was not much of a fan of spiders. On the one hand I thought they were kind of cool looking. On the other, they could be so fast and could bite! I think as a child I just felt it was safer to collect butterflies and moths. As I got older though my appreciation for these eight-legged invertebrates grew and now, I am a huge fan of arachnids. Though their speed and ability to bite makes me hesitant to hold them, I have a huge respect for them, especially with how beneficial they are to the world around us.

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BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants” by Christopher Kline

I have been on the search for the ultimate butterfly gardening guide for awhile now and with this one concentrating on the use of native plants, thought I would add it to my library. Up until recently I hadn’t taken into consideration the importance of using native species so wanted to learn more.

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BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “Raising Butterflies in the Garden” by Brenda Dziedzic

If you are a regular reader of my blogs then you know that I absolutely love books on insects and arachnids, especially when it comes to butterflies and moths. Forty-five years ago began my interest in Lepidoptera and the passion has lasted until now. I started out as a collector and now any new collecting I do is in the form of photos. Any work with actual specimens is in conservation and raising these beautiful creatures.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Native Plants for New England Gardens” by Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe

Times have certainly changed since I first started gardening. When I began, we planted what we did because we liked it, with no regard as to whether it was a native plant and certainly no concern as to how it could impact the environment. My background has always been with butterfly gardening and early on I wanted my gardens to be filled with anything that would attract butterflies; native or not. Now, it seems that this method can actually be detrimental to not only the butterflies but the bees as well. Being a horticulture manager at a zoo has certainly opened my eyes on many levels to the importance of always using native plants.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada”

Fireflies. Lightning Bugs. Who doesn’t love them. I vividly remember growing up in a place where fireflies were a rarity and to see one was a thrill. I remember catching them with my butterfly net and being fascinated by this small beetle with the light up butt. Because sightings were so few and far between, I kind of forgot the magic of seeing this amazing little insect. That is, until maybe two years ago.

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LEPIDOPTERA LIFE CYCLES: The Glover’s Silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia gloveri)

The Glover’s silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia gloveri) is a smaller relative of the Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia). This beautiful species can be found along the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin from Canada to Mexico.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies: A Field Guide”

What can I say? I love Texas! I am a Rhode Island native and in 2017 and 2018 I visited Austin and all of the night life it had to offer. During the day my girlfriend and I would go hiking, checking under rocks and logs for scorpions and tarantulas. In addition, we were always on the lookout for the local butterflies, hoping to see something we wouldn’t normally see in New England. One of my favorite parts of travelling is experiencing insects and arachnids that I’m not accustomed to.

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LEPIDOPTERA LIFE CYCLES: The Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is perhaps the most popular butterfly in the world. Its large size and contrasting orange and black coloration make it highly recognizable and its annual migration of up to 3,000 miles south make it seen by more people than perhaps any other species of butterfly in the world.

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Male monarch butterfly.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Butterflies of North America” by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

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There are new books on butterflies coming out all the time and I usually find out about them accidentally, usually by them showing up as a recommendation on Amazon based on my search history. When the book “Butterflies of North America” came up I was really unsure how it was going to be. The feedback on Amazon was decent but as many people know, you cannot always rely on these reviews. Thankfully the reviews ended up being based in fact!

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