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A few weeks ago, the wolfberry was in bloom and covered with insect visitors.

Today the Texas sage is blanketed with flowers.

We had a lot of rain this month, and Texas sage plants bloom in response to humidity and rain.

The insects respond, too.

The thumb-sized carpenter bees caught my eye, but they were too fast for a close up.

Does this look like a honey bee?

Surprise! It is a syrphid fly. It was more cooperative and sat still for its photograph.

Here's another smaller syrphid fly (sometimes called a flower fly.) It also posed.

The honey bees looked strange. Instead of the usual golden brown, most were covered with white pollen.

Would you believe the thorax of this sweat bee is bright green?

It looks like it is covered with snow.

All these insects are pollinators, which means they carry pollen from plant to plant and help many types of plants produce viable seeds. Some recent reports have shown that pollinators may need extra assistance in order to survive and thrive. Check out a recent article which suggests being messy in the garden is a good way to provide places for pollinators to shelter over winter.

Messy? That's easy to do!

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This morning when I dropped my son off for class, I noticed this small landscape shrub was flowering.

dalea-at-EVIT027It is a Dalea sp. (likely Dalea frutescens) that I had noticed previously, so I made a mental note to bring my camera and come back 10 minutes early to take a photo of the flowers.

Dalea-flower-close-up-0089

When I showed up 10 minutes early, this is what I found visiting this small plant:

Butterflies:

white-skipper-on-dalea-0161. A white checkered skipper butterfly, with lovely hooks at the ends of its antennae

hairstreak-on-dalea-best-0522. A delicate gray hairstreak butterfly

Reakirts-blue-butterfly-on-dalea-1673. Reakirt's blue butterfly, which appeared to be ovipositing

Bees:

green-sweat-bee-0051. A green sweat bee (Halictidae)

sweat-bee-on-dalea-010 Another shot of the same kind of bee

bee-on-dalea-face-on-shot-0642. A digger bee with a creamy yellow thorax

bee-in-flower0973. A small black and white bee

flying-bee-0071Those were incredibly fast and I have a lot of shots of them flying to another flower.

honey-bee-_01034. Honey bees were also represented.

I also saw a Polistes paper wasp.

So, let's recap. In approximately 10 minutes I was able to find three species of butterflies, at least four different kinds of bees, and a wasp visiting this one small plant that barely came up past my knee. Not only was there a great diversity of insects, but also a good quantity of bees. There was a constant stream of insects visiting flowers all over the plant, not just one or two here and there.

Dalea sp. plants are listed as larval food plants for Reakirt's blues and southern dogface butterflies, making them a fabulous choice for butterfly and pollinator gardens.

Sometimes, just planting the right plant can make all the difference if you want to attract wildlife.

Do Dalea sp. grow where you live? What kind and what do you see visiting them?

Spring has arrived in Arizona.

toadflax

The wildflowers are blooming.

spring-bee-flying-1

The bees are flying.

spring-bee-1

Bees and flowers are made for each other,

halictid-in-desert-marigold

like this halictid sweat bee in a desert marigold,

carpenter-bee-mallow-small

and this carpenter bee face first in a desert mallow flower.

Yes, spring is in the air.