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Caterpillars, Butterflies and Bees

Keystone Plants and Soft Landings

A majority of moth and butterfly caterpillars feed on native tree foliage only. After feeding on Keystone Plants, these caterpillars drop to the ground to spend their next life cycle state (pupae) in the leaf litter or soil below the tree. By refraining from mowing and raking beneath native trees and plants, you will provide a Soft Landing area for the cocoons.

(All information about Keystone Plants and Soft Landings has been obtained from: Narango, D.L., Tallamy, D. W. and Shropshire, K.J.)

What are Keystone Plants?

Keystone plants are native plants that support a significant number of caterpillars (butterfly and moth larvae). Planting keystone plants helps build complex food webs by forming the essential foundation —native plants and insects — that provide food for other organisms, directly and indirectly. 


What are Soft Landings?

Soft landings are diverse native plantings under keystone trees (or any other regionally appropriate native tree). These plantings provide critical shelter and habitat for one or more life cycle stages of moths, butterflies, and beneficial insects such as bumble bees, fireflies, lacewings, and beetles. In addition to plants, soft landings also include leaf litter, duff, and plant debris.


Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees

Native bees are a hidden treasure. From alpine meadows in the national forests of the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona and from the boreal forests of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to the Ocala National Forest in Florida, bees can be found anywhere in North America, where flowers bloom. From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4,000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees. Read more...

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Wild Bees of New England

With wild bee declines throughout New England, The Rehan Lab at the University of New Hampshire has compiled a helpful guide to identify commonly encountered bees and ways to encourage pollinator practices for best bee nesting and foraging resources.

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