Do you find yourself bugged some days?
So do we. Only it’s not human annoyances, but insects. Here’s a sample of some we’ve seen lately in the gardens.
No, this is not a Texas-sized mosquito, like mosquitoes, it’s a fly – a crane fly that can grow up to 2-1/2 inches long, with a wingspan of 3 inches. They are brown and slender with long, super-thin legs that are usually about twice as long as their bodies.
Crane fly larvae eat decaying plants, dead leaves, fungi, or roots of plants. Adult crane flies do not eat and have short lives (sometimes only days). So what do they do? Mate and lay eggs.They have many predators. Adults are eaten by birds and bats.
They lose their legs easily, and often escape a bird by losing a leg or two.There was a gathering of honey bees (or honeybees) in the oregano, which bolted early and is now flowering. More has been written about honeybees than any other species of insect. Don’t get a female honey bee mad because she’s the one that can sting. Male honey bees (drones) have no stinger and only live about eight weeks.
Their sole function is to perform their bee-ly duty and mate with a new queen, if one is produced in a given year. A drone's eyes are very large which helps them to spot the queens when they are on their nuptial flight (really). Any drones left at the end of the season have outlived their usefulness and are driven from the hive and left to die – they are used and abused.This oregano reseeds itself and is in its third or fourth year. Last week, I picked some and it’s hanging in the barn drying. More on that in another post.
Bumble bees (or bumblebee) are large, hairy social insects with a lazy buzz and clumsy, bumbling flight. Many are black and yellow, and with ladybirds and butterflies they are a popular insect. Queen and worker bumblebees can sting because they are all female.
Bumble bees usually nest in the ground in a deserted mouse nest or bird nest. Occasionally they nest in cavities within a wall or even in the clothes drier vent – good reason to check it in summer months. Certain plants are better pollinated by bumble bees because of their long tongues.
Bumble bees were in the wildflower gardens on cornflowers . . .And coneflowers . . .
And especially on coreopsis . . .
This lynx spider was also in the oregano. These hunting spiders spend their lives on plants, flowers and shrubs and are among the major predators of insects in low shrubs and grasses. Lynx spiders are nimble jumpers, relying on keen eyesight to stalk, chase or ambush prey.
Six of their eight eyes are arranged in a hexagon-like pattern, a characteristic that identifies them as members of the family Oxyopidae. Lynx Spiders have a very distinct eye arrangement: four on the "face", two looking sideways, and two on top of the head; they also have and have spiny legs.
But, their usefulness in the control of insect pests is counteracted by their habit of preying also on beneficial insects, like honey bees.
This immature grasshopper found a home on a coneflower. Grasshoppers are insects that can hop, walk, and fly. Many male grasshoppers make noise by rubbing their back legs together. There are about 10,000 different species of grasshoppers. Grasshoppers eat plants. Their predators include birds, beetles, rodents, reptiles, and spiders, so they are adept at camouflage.
This is an unknown bug also hanging in the oregano. Anyone know its name?The skipper or skipper butterfly is named because of its quick, darting flight habits. There are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers worldwide. Unlike butterflies, skippers have antennae clubs hooked backward like a crochet hook; true butterflies' antennae are clubbed together with bulbous ends. Skippers have feathered antennae similar to moths. Skippers have thicker hairy bodies and larger compound eyes unlike true butterflies.When at rest, skippers keep their wings angled upwards or spread out, and rarely fold them up completely.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail s a species of swallowtail butterfly native to North America. It is one of the most familiar butterflies in the eastern U.S. Adults feed on the nectar of many species of flowers. This butterfly has many bird predators.