milkweed in the woods & a new bee watering station

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.

per our reference: “All milkweeds are excellent producers of nectar that is attractive to numerous butterflies and other insects”

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.

my first location was in the growing area, with the 5 gal container suspended between 2 cedar posts, but it has full sun exposure most of the day

I noticed the water fetching bees were concentrating on the compost area where puddles remained from recent rains. 

an overtuned 5 gal bucket was receiving a lot of attention – rain had collected in the pockets of the rim and bees were tanking up

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.

word must have gotten to base and now the new water spot is regularly visited


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