September 29, 2014
Summer is about done. Still there are a few faithful flowers still blooming: mainly asters and goldenrod. Both are buzzing with bees and a few other guests: white cabbage butterflies and still more hoverflies and wasps, and of course a few spiders. The wasps seem quite partial to the goldenrod. I've seen several kinds I've never seen before. This lovely one with a yellow face, reddish wings and a big red spot on either side of the abdomen is called the northern paper wasp. Here he or she is trying to look ashamed or fierce but I'm sure he/she is only trying to get as much nourishment from the goldenrod.
Click on any picture to enlarge it. Click again to REALLY enlarge it.
The second one, the Potter wasp, Ancistrocerus campestrisis, is quite different but still beautiful. There are also a few that look similar to #2 but are much smaller. In fact there are four or five size steps on the same goldenrod. Both of these pictures were taken in the last light - I love the greenish cast to the whole scene.
My quirky litte Northern crab spiders are everywhere and seem to be doing quite well at keeping themselves fat. Here is one trying to sneak off the deck railing. A few seconds later she was on a fine thread. It seemed as if she was producing silk as fast as she liked. At one point I touched the thread and it broke, carrying her up and up with the breeze.
These spiders can fit into an aster flower easily. But they start out even tinier. The second picture above is an infant tucked into the cone of a cone flower.
You can tell the season is near an end. This little prairie yellow jacket (Vespula atropilosa) just clung to this passe trumpetvine flower. He looks soooooo tired. However, if you bring your lunch out and sit by the pond, one of them will still have the energy to buzz-bomb you.
Here is a lucky break: a spotted greenish cucumber beetle and a smaller potato beetle with three longitudinal stripes in one picture. People curse both of them as they do damage the veggies - but against the pink aster i think they are stunning.
Ending on a more earthy note, that last picture was of some of the debris from the grass spider's nest. I'm betting that one of those little green sweat bees was part of this meal!
Bugguide.net is a wonderful resource. If you find a picture of something unknown to you, I'd love to see it , but also try your hand at identifying it at
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2014