Butterflies & Bees


There are native alternatives to parsley, dill and fennel for the Black Swallowtail Caterpillars. The native host plants for this butterfly larvae are Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) and Heart-leaved Alexander (Zizia aptera). Sassafras Farm in Gloucester sometimes carries these plants. The contact info for the native plant nursery is found on our chapter's website, under Native Plant Resources, Local Nurseries. Sometimes local native plant society chapter sales carry these plants, as well as various milkweeds for the monarch caterpillars. 

Caterpillar and Butterfly

Additional Information


Honey bees are essential for production of over 90 food crops. In 2006, for unknown reasons, honey bee colonies suddenly began to die across the U.S. The losses threaten the honey and pollination industries, and researchers are looking for causes and remedies. View more information about Colony Collapse Disorder.

Honey Bee

Reduction in Bees

From 1972 to 2006, there was a dramatic reduction in the number of feral honeybees in the U.S. (now almost absent) and a significant, though somewhat gradual decline in the number of colonies maintained by beekeepers. This decline includes the cumulative losses from all factors such as:

  • Commercial Beekeepers Retiring and Going out of Business
  • Pesticide Use
  • Tracheal and Varroa Mites
  • Urbanization

Rate of Attrition

However, late in the year 2006 and in early 2007 the rate of attrition was alleged to have reached new proportions, and the term "colony collapse disorder" was proposed to describe this sudden rash of disappearances. (Wikipedia)

Additional Information