Insects on the go

JILL SNYDER
Visitor Engagement Manager

As the temperature soars, many animals, including park visitors, tend to find shade and rest during the heat of the day. But that isn’t true for one group of animals – insects! With prairies in full bloom, it is a great time for our butterflies and bees to move from flower to flower in search of food. Many species of butterfly are attracted to striking prairie flowers, such as butterfly weed and Sullivant’s and swamp milkweed. Butterflies lay their eggs on tall grasses like Indian grass and little and big bluestem. These and other grasses provide an abundant food source for the caterpillars. Monarchs, fritillaries, viceroys and cabbage white butterflies as well as milkweed beetles, bugs and bees are easy to spot on a walk through the flowering fields.

Honey bee on butterfly weed at Walnut Woods. Photo, Mindi McConnell

Beyond the prairie, insects gather along the waterways and wetlands hunting for food and laying eggs on the water surface and nearby plants. The creeks attract large numbers of dragonflies such as darners and skimmers as well as ruby-spotted and ebony jewelwing damselflies. Plus, visitors can dip in the creek to cool off while they watch the insects buzz around!

Here are a few great programs to get out and learn about these amazing insects!

Preschoolers: Insect Safari
Sharon Woods Metro Park
July 27 at 9:30 or 11am
Learn about our 6-legged friends through a story and activities, and then go on an insect safari to see what we can find! Ages 3-5. Meet at the Apple Ridge Picnic Shelter.

Bugstravaganza
Walnut Woods Metro Park
August 6 from 10am-1pm
Celebrate insects and their relatives with activities and displays for children and adults. Representatives from several organizations will help you catch and release bugs, meet a beekeeper, explore a creek, learn about pollinators and native insects, and see insects up close. Meet at the Buckeye Area.

Kids search the fields for insects at Bugstravaganza. Photo Annette Harting Boose

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