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Bees take center stage at Pollinator Party

Kelly Nail, left, and Laura Ragan help Pollinator Party visitors learn about the rusty patched bumble bee and other pollinators. Photo by Jill Utrup/USFWS

Kelly Nail, left, and Laura Ragan help Pollinator Party visitors learn about the rusty patched bumble bee and other pollinators. Photo by Jill Utrup/USFWS.

By Kelly Nail and Jill Utrup
Minnesota-Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office

People from across the Twin Cities gathered in late July to celebrate all things bees at the Minneapolis Pollinator Party. The lively festival had a variety of activities and booths to visit, including a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service table where visitors learned all about some of the midwest's imperiled pollinators. The rusty patched bumble bee, which recently became Minnesota's state bee, took center stage at the table. Visitors were invited to spin the trivia wheel and answer questions about the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, as well as questions about monarch butterflies and other beneficial pollinators found in their neighborhood.

Participants were also able to decorate and create native seed packets to be planted in their backyards, composed of plant species that bloom throughout the entire time that rusty patched bumble bees are flying in Minnesota (from early spring through mid-autumn). Staff discussed best practices for keeping a pollinator friendly yard and how to report sightings of rusty patched bumble bees. Families were also able to celebrate pollinators with temporary tattoos of the rusty patched bumble bee and monarch. The festival had a sweet twist too, with children who visited all of the booths getting a cone of ice cream made with local honey!

While the Pollinator Party is over for this year, there is still lots that you can do for native bees and other pollinators in your own neighborhood.

Last updated: September 9, 2019