Pollinator Parade

BUZZ BIXBY: Good Morning and Happy Harvest to you! Welcome to Critter Radio’s broadcast of the 73rd Annual Harvest Festival Pollinator Parade, right here on 99.9 KRTR!

I’m Buzz Bixby…

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: … and I’m Cecily Swallowtail…

BUZZ BIXBY: …and we’re your hosts for this wonderful panorama of floats, performers, balloons and marching bands, all celebrating pollinating insects and their buggy friends. It’s a beautiful day for a parade…

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: … Indeed, it is, Buzz – warm, sunny, with light winds and no dew – …

BUZZ BIXBY: … and we’re expecting a full lineup of pageantry. So get your apple cider and pumpkin spice doughnuts, and snuggle up on your couch at home while we bring you all the sights and sounds of the fall harvest.

First to step off is this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, representing Longwood Gardens, PA. He’s riding on a float of purple thistle. One of your relatives, Cecily?

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Why, yes, I believe that’s my cousin Cyril.

BUZZ BIXBY: Next up is a Common Buckeye from York County, PA.

The theme of this float from Cape May Point is “Playing Peek-a-boo” and that’s just what this Painted Lady is doing, hiding coquettishly behind the petals of a Jerusalem artichoke.

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Lovely. Just lovely.

Here’s one of your kin, Buzz – a Common Eastern Bumble Bee from Longwood Gardens, perched on a coneflower float. Bumble bees are important pollinators, aren’t they Buzz?

BUZZ BIXBY: That’s right, Cecily, and a little later on we’ll talk about why pollinators are so important. Hey, here’s a fun fact – there are over 250 species of bumble bee in the world!

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: I did not know that, Buzz.

BUZZ BIXBY: You never know what you’ll learn at the Pollinator Parade.

Now for something different, here’s a Mantis from Longwood Gardens, PA on a bed of thoroughwort. Many mantises are non-native species, and all are predators. Doesn’t he look fierce!

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: He certainly does!

In contrast, this American Rubyspot damselfly from Batsto, NJ is positively delicate – but no less a predator.

BUZZ BIXBY: Along came a spider… a colorful Marbled Orb-weaver from Bombay Hook. Spiders aren’t even insects, but they are predators and may contribute to plant pollination.


BUZZ BIXBY: Yes, you do, Cecily! The Box Elder Bug marching band is just getting into formation. These talented youngsters hail from John Heinz NWR in Philadelphia, PA.

Look – there’s our first balloon, looming over the street.

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: That’s no balloon, Buzz! That’s another Mantis. Looks like he might have frightened the young Box Elder Bug nymphs – look at them scatter!

BUZZ BIXBY: Oh, no! The neat lines of the marching band have dissolved into a confused jumble. The youngsters in the band have fled the parade route entirely!

Let’s take a break from the action, while the young nymphs are comforted by their parents and order is restored. The 73rd Annual Harvest Festival Pollinator Parade celebrates all the many insect pollinators that have been working hard all summer long. Not all of our performing insects are pollinators, of course, but many are. Cecily, why are pollinating insects so important?

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Well, Buzz, without pollinators, there would be no plants! It’s not quite that simple, but critters play a huge role in the basics of plant reproduction. Plants’ flowers produce pollen, which must reach the flowers of other plants to produce seeds for the next generation. Although wind helps disperse pollen, most of it hitchhikes on insects, birds and even bats. Without our pollinating friends, the world would be nearly devoid of plants. And we need plants! They aren’t just pretty flowers to look at; they provide shade, shelter and food for all creatures great and small.

BUZZ BIXBY: Fascinating. Here comes another lovely butterfly! Showing off her dance moves in her sparkly costume, from York County, it’s the Great Spangled Fritillary!

Underneath this clownish costume is – no, not a beetle; fooled you! No, this joker is a Webworm Moth from Cape May Point, enjoying his day in the sun.

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Aren’t we glad to see that sun! Next up, on the flowery plumes of goldenrod, we have a little emerald bee that just might be a… it’s just a little too far… Buzz, can you see who that is?

BUZZ BIXBY: No, Cecily, I can’t quite make it out, and unfortunately my notecards have disappeared. Maybe one of our audience will recognize this shiny green critter.



Ah, there’s no trouble seeing this next performer, she’s right up close and in your face! Representing York County, here’s a Clouded Sulphur. Looks like she’s thinking of eating some of her coneflower float, doesn’t it?

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Yes, it does, Buzz. I don’t blame her, it’s been a long parade, and I’m getting a little hungry myself. Did you say something about pumpkin spice doughnuts?

But wait, here’s the last group of the day. Aren’t they lovely? Eastern Tiger Swallowtails from Longwood Gardens, PA, both their yellow and black forms.

BUZZ BIXBY: They are lovely, indeed, Cecily. And that’s it, folks. The 73rd Annual Harvest Festival Pollinator Parade has drawn to a close. All in celebration of our amazing pollinators and the end of another successful season. What a wonderful day it has been!

I’m Buzz Bixby, with Cecily Swallowtail, keepin’ it wild on 99.9 KRTR, Critter Radio. Happy Harvest, and thank you for joining us!

Now, Ms. Swallowtail, perhaps you’d like to join me for a little thistle nectar…

CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: Why, Mr. Bixby, you sweet-talking – Hey! Is this microphone still on?


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