The Bees Sure Do Like NE Aster
I’ve read that New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is an important source of nectar for Monarch Butterflies on their southern migration. From casual observation, though, I have to conclude that Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is a much bigger draw for Monarchs and other butterflies as well.
Bees, are a different story, though. Right now the New England Asters are covered with bees of many kinds.
The two pictures above are both some kind of metallic green bee, I think. The name seems apt.
Medium-size and smaller bees seem to prefer New England Aster to the Tithonia.
When you look close, it seems like they are shoving their faces right into the disc flowers. Makes me think of someone in a pie-eating contest.
The bumble bees seem to like Tithonia and New England Aster about equally.
Based on what I’ve seen in my garden, bees love asters of all kinds. I’d say it’s a good idea to have a mix of Aster species both for fall blooms and to provide an outdoor buffet for the pollinators.