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HABITAT - the arrangement of food, water, cover, and space - IS THE KEY.

Author’s Note

Happy Fall!

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the sights and smells as the summer fades, and it is a great time to be out in the garden. Currently, many animals are in the midst of migration, and we are having some record breaking dragonfly migration swarms this year! As fall unfolds, here are a few things to consider this time of year:

  1. Skip the fall clean-up to help local wildlife
  2. Consider sowing seeds
  3. Fuel fall migrants

In addition, last year’s rainy summer, coupled with this year’s drought and other factors, have taken a toll on oaks in our region. The University of Maryland Extension has put together an informative and concise article on Why Oak Trees are Declining. If you are in need of trees and shrubs for conservation or lumber, check out the Maryland State Tree Nursery which is accepting orders for Spring 2020.

In this issue, you can learn about a lovely native wildflower, the New England aster, as well as a native group of bees called sweat bees that help to pollinate New England aster and its relatives. In addition, with advances in plant research, we are learning more about how cultivars affect our landscapes. Finally, learn about an up and coming invasive insect in Maryland, the spotted lanternfly, and how to report if you see one in the state.

Happy Habitats!,
Kerry Wixted

A green bee ontop of a white flower.

Sweat bee pollinating rare single-headed pussytoes in Maryland by Kerry Wixted


In This Issue:

The Cultivar Question

While searching for the best plants to include with a garden, you have likely come across cultivars for sale. The use of native cultivars (aka nativars) has been growing as the popularity of native plants surges. Read more.

Seek and Destroy: the Spotted Lanternfly

Despite its name, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) isn’t a fly, rather it is a plant hopper, which is native to China, India and Vietnam. The first infestation in the United States was reported in Pennsylvania in 2014; this insect has now been detected in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York. The first Maryland record was found in 2018 in Cecil County and subsequent records have been found in northeast Maryland this year. Read more.

Native Animal Profile: Sweat Bees (aka Halictid Bees)

Maryland is home to 437 species of bees, just over a quarter of which are members of the family Halictidae: sweat bees. Unlike other bee families, like the Andrenids (mining bees), sweat bees are often generalists, visiting whatever flowers pique their interest. Read more.

Native Plant Profile: New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

With lilac purple rays and a bright yellow center, New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) brings a pop of color to fall gardens. This tall, branching aster can reach heights up to six feet if allowed to grow to its full potential. Read more.


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We want to hear from you!

Letters, e-mail, photos, drawings. Let us know how successful you are as you create wildlife habitat on your property.

Write to Me!

Kerry Wixted
Natural Resources Biologist II
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service
MD Dept of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401

phone: 410-260-8566
fax: 410-260-8596
e-mail: kerry.wixted@maryland.gov

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Habichat, the newsletter for Maryland's Stewards of Backyard Wildlife, is published by the Wildlife and Heritage Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The facilities and services of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are available to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical or mental disability. This document is available in alternative format upon request from a qualified individual with a disability.​