Pollinators, Known and Unknown, in the Late Summer Garden

Summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of pollinators in the garden. Here’s a collection of some I saw recently. Some are old friends, while certain others and I have never been properly introduced to others. Help with ID would be much appreciated.


I’ve been trying to get a decent shot of the Black Swallowtails all summer. This picture was taken on a day that was so muggy the camera lens kept fogging up.


An unknown bee looks like it is trying to stick its head right into the flower of Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta). That’s not a honeybee, is it? I really don’t know my bees.


Here’s a Bumblebee foraging on the Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum). I like how its got pollen grains all over its butt.


Though you can’t see the butterfly very well, I like this picture of a flying Clouded Sulphur with flowers of Golden Glow (Rudbeckia laciniata).


Here’s another picture, though the Sulphur is still kind of fuzzy.



I’d really like to know the name of this fellow with the intriguing markings on his wings.


This is a Skipper, I know, but not sure what kind. I found a website that listed common Skippers of Illinois but I still was unsure about the species.


Let’s conclude with two Monarch butterflies getting intimate on top of a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia).


They were having a little trouble holding their position. You can see a third Monarch behind the leaves to the left. Three is a crowd, they say.

51 Comments on “Pollinators, Known and Unknown, in the Late Summer Garden”

  1. Have you ever used BugGuide? It looks a little intimidating at first, but it really is easy to use. You post a photo of your insect, and even experts from all over the country often will pop up in short order to tell you what you have. And you always can browse the galleries of already identified bugs to see if you can find yours. They have a handy guide-by-shape on the home page to head you off in the right direction.

    The eye of your bee in the second photo sure looks familiar. There’s a genus that has “those eyes” — of every color.

  2. Isn’t it fun to have all of these bugs in the garden to entertain and peak your interest. I can’t help with the bees. I too struggle with their ids. I have had more sulphur type butterflies in the garden this year. I wonder if it is because it has been so darned dry here. Hmmmmm???

  3. Hello Jason ! .. You have wonderful photos here and I can relate to that problem of the lens fogging up on those humid days .. it always seems to be just when you are focusing in on a really nice picture ? LOL
    You have captured beautiful pollinators here .. I have such a hard time trying to catch them because they are so fast, and so touchy when they sens you are taking pictures ? haha
    I have already made plans for next year to make sure my swallowtail cats will betaken care of properly after my disaster earlier ! They are such gorgeous creatures .. I can’t seem to ever get a picture of monarchs though, so I envy you with those wonderful shots.
    Well done ! and it is so heartening to see these amazing little creatures enjoying themselves in your garden.

  4. Wonderful visitors! I see you have an ID on the webworm moth. I can’t quite make out the markings on the skipper, but I’m wondering if it’s a Peck’s skipper or a fiery skipper. I tend to consult wisconsinbutterflies.org, and you probably have quite a few of the same butterflies that we have. I just saw a couple of Peck’s the other day in the garden. Hope you’re not getting too much rain from the hurricane remnants?

  5. I was worried about the lack of pollinator diversity to my garden this summer although it’s possible I was just not seeing everyone that was there. But late summer brought a lot of butterflies that had been missing earlier in the season. I ended up with over 20 swallowtail cats on my parsley/fennel and at least 6 monarchs!

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