Early Risers

Early Risers

Spring is approaching and some areas are already seeing the first signs of the season. A number of insects emerge from their winter slumber in early spring, announcing the season’s beginning. Many of the insects emerging are ones that developed last summer, pigged out on food, and then hibernated as fully formed adults. These insects include queen bumblebees, queen wasps, mining bees, and various butterflies and hoverflies.

When spring begins and the days start to get warmer these insects emerge from their hibernation spot such as a hollow tree, a mouse hole, or your garden shed with a serious need for food and water. After months of living off of what nutrients they stored in their bodies, these guys are ravenous when they wake up. And they risk death if they don’t find sustenance within a day or two. One of the most common plants these guys head for are “pussy willows,” the blossoms of willows and sallows. The yellow pollen from the bright catkins is a vital source of protein for the female insects. Many of them mated the previous summer or autumn and need this protein to produce viable eggs. So, as the weather gets warmer be on the lookout for these early risers.

Have you begun to notice some insects emerging from their winter sleep? What insects have you seen so far this year?