Saturday, April 21, 2012

Best Bugs O' The Week

   This week we have finally started seeing some real quality insect activity. I expect (and hope) any day now I should find the first Monarch eggs on my milkweed plants. Last year I noticed them in the final week of April and since we're about two weeks ahead of schedule it should be soon. Until then, however, here are the highlights of the week...

Diana Fritillary caterpillar, oh how I'd love to see the butterfly! They are very unusual in that they don't lay their eggs on the leaves, but typically on a twig next to the plant. The larva then hatch in the fall and overwinter underground, then emerge to feed on the violet leaves come springtime.

Well, not a picture of an insect, but of insect activity!

Finally we have nesting Mason Bees! They didn't use this bee house last year, and this year we only have three holes filled, but hopefully as our habitat improves, so will the bee population.

Can you see it? It's pretty tiny...

I had to crop this image pretty heavily just to show the detail on this fella, those are grains of pollen around him. A dime would crush him. The praying mantis egg cases are finally starting to hatch, I hope some of them stick around this summer!

Not a bug, of course, but definitely beneficiaries of the increase in insect activity. I can hear the peeps of the baby Bluebirds from our deck every time a parent lands on the nestbox with a snack.

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle, munching on Orange Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). I'm always confused what to do when I see one of these, should I flick it off to save the milkweed for monarchs or leave it be, he has a right to eat the milkweed too.

Unidentified Cranefly sitting on a sunflower leaf. Gotta be the weakest flying thing in the insect world. This image was also enlarged a bit to show detail, until now I had no idea Craneflies look this interesting, kinda like a dragon, maybe.


  1. That's a really great shot of the Milkweed Beetle!

  2. Great pictures, great perspective.

  3. Fingers crossed for the Monarch eggs, that's pretty exciting. Although I'm familiar with what a Monarch looks like its not a butterfly that we see in the UK so the idea of having them in your garden seems just wonderful. Nice photos of the bluebird, Linda