Friday, August 31, 2012

Opus 1601 is for the pollinators

kw: natural history, insects, pollinators

Today I took a day off to do yardwork, leaving more of the Labor Day weekend free. It was easy to notice that the small flowers had plenty of pollinators. I have been watching the news about honey bees and colony collapse disorder, so I am alert to the level of "alternative pollinators". This collage shows that there are plenty of them.

I took pictures of quite a variety of insects that were coming to these flowers, but only these six were in good focus. The first four (the top row and the lower left) were all on the chives. The small, dark bee at lower left was the smallest variety I was able to get a picture of. There was a multitude of smaller bees, but they are too quick to photograph without better equipment. The wasp at upper left apparently has a sweet tooth. A close look showed it was lapping nectar. Other varieties of wasp visit the flowers to capture small bees; they paralyze them and bury them for their larvae to eat. I was happy to see very few of such wasps today. The skippers at bottom center are shown just over life size. They are on a blue, finely-divided composite flower I haven't identified. The fritillary butterfly at lower right is on a pink flower, another one that grows in fine clusters. This is also close to life size. These pink flowers were mainly visited by skippers, and there were also some small, dark bees flitting about. A robber fly would occasionally make a pass at a skipper, but I never saw it catch one. It was also too quick to get a picture of.

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