September 25, 2016


Martha O'Kennon






Fall continues the way Fall does. From shirtsleeves to sweatshirt all in the course of a couple of days! Today the rain which started yesterday just before we were supposed to be going door-to-door registering voters continues. Many aster plants have pitched over with their faces in the ground. Even the days which were dry were too cool for some of my favorite insect companions. But there were some surprises anyway.

I would try clicking on the image. If the little "+" sign appears, it means you can enlarge again. While it is in "+" mode, click on something you want to see more clearly and it will zoom to that section. Then the info is displayed in the address line above. If the image has been cropped so that clicking on it doesn't result in a larger picture, you can always hit control-plus to increase the size of the image.

The bees were plentiful, mostly honeybees, but that's great for the people around here who raise bees. So many places with flowers also spray against bugs and that stuff isn't good for larvae and other living things. (You have to be old enough to remember )



This (Common Eastern?) bumblebee enjoys the Autumn Joy sedum, which is in full flower right now. The little bumbler is on goldenrod but the little Halictus bee is back on the sedum.



But by far the most popular source of nectar and pollen this week is the New England Asters. Here you see a honeybee on a purplish-pink aster flower, a honeybee and a mason bee on the same plant (a pink aster) (Reminder: the Mason Bee is the one with pollen-collecting barbs on its tummy, not its legs). Still the best small green sweat bee this week was on the Autumn Joy sedum.



The Locust Borer [beetle] still visits its beloved goldenrod. This good-sized mystery beetle was on the shop siding. And this rove beetle was giving out no hints as to its name but it clung to the house siding without introducing itself.



I hadn't been looking at what the Spotted Cucumber Beetle was doing to the aster flowers. Finally this morning I realize what a toll it had been taking. See the little black remnants of damage. So I had to (gasp) start to control them today. Sigh. They really look so beautiful on the goldenrod. Here is the redbud bruchid on the shop siding.



I thought I had seen the last of the ambush bugs. But on the 21st I saw this one on the goldenrod. Here's the ambush bug's relative, the assassin bug nymph. Remember how the new batch of them have been growing apace. Suddenly I had a willing model for an adult, not the usual adult of Zelus luridus but a pale freckled model



The little candy-striped leafhopper has been a faithful friend all summer. I can't think of a more ubiquitous and omnipresent creature in this yard, except maybe myself. This next thing is so un-photogenic - I never know how to aim at it as it seems to be dressed in torn garments, maybe like Robin Hood. It is here a lot but I usually despair of presenting it in any consistent way. Maybe it is a quantum bug. But these little seed bugs are back.



Remember how we found a pair of spittlebugs mating on the hosta last week? Well, either that pair or another pair was at it this week (one day) on the shop siding, and I managed to take enough pictures of it for their wedding remembrance book. Oops, no dragonflies or damselflies, so next up is Mrs. American Bug, the European earwig. Moving along the alphabet, we come to Fish. This strange picture shows a big fish swimming through a tree, even making ripples as it plies the waters in the reflection of the big maple tree above the pond. In the meantime, one afternoon I believe I spotted four little ones with red and other colors in them, TWO tortoiseshells, one larger than the other, and three small brown/black and one larger one, for a grand total of 10 baby fishies. We'll see how they manage to survive. Oh! Did I tell you Randy the Oranda has been shredded, probably by that lovely raccoon?



I hope nobody objects to going into fly territory. This week we are finally starting to get my favorite flies, the hoverflies. First up is the dark fly with the black thorax and sharp "nose", Rhingia nasica. Then comes that Sphaerophoria species, that common black and gold hoverfly.



And then from the hoverflies to the fruit flies, with that little blue and gold Minettia. Aedes is a genus of mosquito that is prone to infection by viruses, including Zika, and is also a frequent player in this blog. But this next nondescript one is actually the one that chases us around and lands hard when it finds a nice hot vein.



Here is a fly which may be a Tachinid. If you remember this next one, you are better than I. I think i was thinking of a kind of gnat. Anyway, here is its mug shot. And here also is a robber fly.


Here may be one of those flesh-eating flies. What a stickly butt! Then one I don't have a clue as to its name but it is SO tiny (maybe 1.5 mm, close to the limit of visibility by me), nor to this last one. (I called it fly-wasp but its eyes look like fly eyes to me!)



I keep seeing this kind of harvestman - a nice rosy body. Sorry, no moths this week. But one of those jumping bush crickets, after an attack by something. And a similarly indisposed Camel Cricket, my first ever.





I've been overlooking those little pill bugs (or sowbugs or roly-polies) for just ever, not realizing how many distinct species there are. And here's another of those pretty snails.



Finally - a good rich picture of the Common House Spider. It's so round it almost looks like a Cobweb Spider. Here's a more usually colored individual. And here's one in the process of wrapping up a wasp or some such.



This next spider is a cobweb - you can tell by the nice spherical abdomen. And the next two are different species of crab spider - those tiny little spiders you often see in the center of a flower, waiting for a nectar-hungry insect to come to visit. The first looks like the Northern Crab Spider, while the tiny yellow one seems to be a Goldenrod crab spider. They are both marvels - so small and yet so efficient in getting rid of other pesky critters.



Our man in Florida, Jim, found this amazing creature - it's a spiky spider Gasteracantha cancriformis. They don't make 'em like this up here. The other day I found on the shop wall this very large spider. Its coloration looks like that of a grass spider, but I don't associate grass spiders with anything fat. Well, the next day, right in that spot, there was a thin grass spider and a huge silken egg nest. Can you imagine being loaded like that with eggs? Maybe the mothers in this group will tell you that it seems familiar. I can relate!



This thing looked to me like a spider emptied out. But now it seems it might have been a spider's supper. Nice work, spidey! And this last one seems to be a different kind of spider from any I've ever seen.



The wasps are thinning out now that there is no trumpetvine and little fresh blooming goldenrod. It looks like what I've been calling Ancistrocerus adiabatis. The second picture shows the happy face on the thorax. The next one resembles the one I was calling Ectemnius maculosus last week. Its bands are broken around the abdomen.



That's about it for the little creatures in the yard. But it turns out that a friendship has developed between the white and orange cat Tripper and the rabbit Big Bunny. Big Bunny has been rather lonesome since her comrade in ears died a couple or three years back. A couple of months ago, Tripper discovered that she could get into BB's cage by just pushing the door inward. Trouble was, she couldn't get out that way. Finally I decided that since BB never comes out of her cage that I would just pin the door up on the top of the cage. Now Tripper can go in whenever she likes and cuddle up to a warm bunny.



It has been a long day but I think this blog is about ready to go out. So tomorrow I'll proof it again and it will be sailing at the speed of light to you. Hang in there, cronies!
Love, Martha

Back to September 18


On to October 2


Back to 2016 menu


Back to main menu




copyright Martha O'Kennon 2016