It was M. who noticed them while I, deep in thought, walked right past. From our book “Forest Plants of the Southeast and their Wildlife Uses” (Miller & Miller) she identified it as Asclepias variegata – white milkweed. See picture above showing its distinctive showy 5-lobed petal crown. Milkweed is a favorite of the Monarch butterfly. This is the only one we have seen in the woods and we resolved to collect its seeds and try extend its presence.
Bees need water and I have not been a good provider. Filling a tray with water and rocks (landing platforms) works as long as I diligently keep the tray full. I am trying a new method – suspend a 5 gal bucket with valve above the tray and set it to drip regularly.
I noticed the water fetching bees were concentrating on the compost area where puddles remained from recent rains.
The compost heap is much closer to the house and is well shaded for most of the day. I relocated the watering station to the compost area and to entice the bees dabbed some honey on the rocks in the tray.