Trees & Shrubs for Bees ~ Our 2019 Blogging from A to Z Challenge Reflections

This year was the 10th year anniversary for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge, and the 8th year anniversary for us squirrels. In fact, we began our blogging in 2012 with this challenge.

We’re both proud and excited to complete our challenge. If you’ve spent any time poking around our website, you’ve likely noticed the line of ‘survivor badges’ our sidebar. We have not been able to find this year’s–and it’s not for lack of digging around! (Ok, Hickory found it–we have to complete a survey first. Ha, good way to get us to do that!)

On the A to Z site’s master list, we are number 592 of 685 blogs that sign-up this year. It’s the first time we’ve had a theme other than local nature observations from our neighborhood in suburban Washington, D. C. Our focus on woody plants that provide our bee neighbors bigger supplies of nectar and pollen is a very timely theme, one we are seeing more frequently in your human news as insect populations decline.

This is a scary thing for us. Our favorite food–acorns–are wind pollinated, but we squirrels eat a variety of other foods as well, including a lot of other nuts, berries, and yes, insects. We bet you humans might like a variety in your diet as well. I’m sure you can see where we are headed with this: we all need to be scared…and we all need to do something to help. Anything, no matter how small you think it may be.

Our April posts included: Fifteen flowering trees that help bees. Nine flowering shrubs that help bees. One insect that feeds on a tree. One structure that you can offer to supplement bee housing. We saw another blogger list his prior year’s posts in a review, so we’re offering that here.

The A to Z site suggested several questions that we might reflect on. We liked this one:

What was the best moment for you during this year’s challenge?

Our best moment was discovering that though we made a point about including native and honey bees, we honestly were thinking more about those hive bees, the colony dwellers. Right up until three-quarters of the way through the month when Hickory checked in on that mason bee house and discovered that the native bees were using it. That thing went up April 1st!

Within 3 weeks the bees were using half the tubes. We had no idea there were that many bees around. That many bees in need of places to lay eggs so desperately that they found this one house on a fence in one back yard.

See? Any little thing that you might do helps!

Read other 2019 A to Z Reflections here.

Thank you to Jeremy for the fantastic A to Z graphic–not just this year, but every year!

Thanks for being with us on this journey!

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Choose Kindness

Space. Shelter. Food. Water.

These are important for all of us to live, and wildlife are caught in the squeeze as much as humans.

So today, one of those important human days, at least where we live in suburban Washington, D. C., please chose kindness to make things better for your world and ours.

L is for Lucky Ladybug

What better way to celebrate a Friday the 13th than by honoring the lucky ladybug?

It’s not just us squirrels that think a ladybug–whether seven-spotted or not–can be lucky. Farmers in North America, where the ladybug is from, have always known they help crops, so much so that children were told it would bring bad luck to kill one. A single ladybug–or ladybird beetle–eats 5,000 aphids over its lifetime. That’s a lot of crops saved from having their sap sucked out.

Their fame has spread to other cultures. Some people believe if one lands on you, it will bring good luck. Or if it lands on a object of yours, that thing is improved.

Seven is widely considered a lucky number, but if one does land on you, count the spots. That’s supposedly the number of months your good luck will last. The stronger the red color, the stronger your luck will be.

We squirrels think you better look for one like this!

K is for Keep Calm and…

Keep them messy!

Now this isn’t the perfect suburban forest floor–it’s got a few of those invasive vines in it, but the leaf litter under the hollies and oaks is an oasis of acorns and bugs, and even a few mushrooms pop up, all tasty to us squirrels.

I certainly can’t find any of that here:

The ground has been raked clean of acorns. The small nooks where insects can winter over and feed on decaying leaves are gone. And daffodils? You humans do realize they are poisonous, right? No squirrel with any woods-smarts touches them!

You humans might like a neatly mulched area of woods, but it does exactly zero for wildlife.

Even if our suburban woodlands aren’t perfectly native, Keep them Messy, please!

H is for Honeybee

Protecting bees, both colonies and solitary bees, is very much in the news these days. If you can’t host a honeybee hive, perhaps you can put up a bee house for naive bees?

Or help all bees within a 2  mile radius of you by planting nectar and pollen flowers. Don’t know how to start? We found this great article on rethinking your lawn and garden to become a bee oasis from the Honeybee Conservancy Website.

And for our Motionless Monday post, bees are making it big in the wildlife statue realm…

F is for Frozen

And by frozen, we squirrels don’t mean what most of you humans are thinking…

We mean it’s gonna snow again! Yes, we are expecting below zero temperatures tonight and through next week! Please keep an eye out for wildlife–we’re as shocked as you are–and just like in the dead of winter, keep water unfrozen for us. Thanks!

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

We had to break our hiatus for a little celebration…

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day! 

Thank you for following our squirrel stories on The Squirrel Nutwork and, out in the real world, enjoying the antics of 200 species of squirrels everywhere!

However, we squirrels aren’t naive enough to believe all humans love us. Some become very angry when we help ourselves to the food you put out for other wildlife, or take the opportunity to widen a hole in your house to provide a safe place to rear our kits.

Maybe some of you can explain that we are all sharing space in a world where wild places are getting harder to find, and acorns aren’t falling from every tree. (What are some of those species that do nothing but look pretty?)

For today, let’s celebrate that Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from Asheville, North Carolina, cared enough about squirrels to create a day to honor us! Thank you, Christy!

Acorns for all!