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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Late spring bugs

A selection of bugs that I've found around the garden since coming back from my holiday. I'd really love to see more butterflies, but with such frequent windy weather and a lack of sunshine, it is not surprising that there aren't many around. But there are bees of all kinds aplenty and the 'Pollinators' Meadow' is buzzing, especially since the Phacelia which overwintered has started flowering. And there are plenty of other interesting little critters, when I start to really look around.

First a look at the Pollinators' Meadow and what has been attracted to that. I was amazed to see three Painted Ladies about a week ago, which is very early for them to arrive. They are migratory and I'd expect to see them from about July/August onwards - some years they are abundant and other years we hardly see any at all.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
with a hoverfly in the background.

Phacelia is attacting bees of all kinds,
and in amongst I often see these little green Crickets.

The Wallflower (Erysimum) is still flowering - a very good value plant.
This is a male Oedemera nobilis, or Thick Legged Flower Beetle.
The other little bugs are flies, not ants!

This Chafer Beetle sitting on my thumb is either
the Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata), or possibly Cetonia cuprea.
I'm not an expert but bugs seem to like me :-)

I was really pleased to find this Chafer Beetle as I'd seen lots of
them in Spain - it's Oxythyrea funesta and they really get
their heads right deep into the flowers!

I've found some caterpillars! There's a huge self seeded Verbascum which appeared
right next to the Pollinators' Meadow so I let it be as I have the space for the plant.
These are the larvae of the Mullein Moth (Cucullia verbasci).

This is a large black Bumblebee with a red botty - I can't begin to ID
bumbles but here it was cleaning pollen off its face and proboscis.

That was a bee above, but this is a Bee Fly (family Bombyliidae)!
These crazy fast flying pollinators are great fun
and whirr and buzz around the flowers at a rate of knots.

And this is a Bee Beetle (Trichius)! Doesn't look too much like a bee to me, but it's fluffy!
This one looked like it was asleep on top of Sweet William flowers.

Elsewhere in the garden....

A pair of Red and Black Froghoppers
(Cercopis vulnerata).
These are quite common in the garden.

I haven't seen one of these before.
It's the nymph of a Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima)
with thanks to Marianne for the ID!

This handsome Shield Bug is Syromastes rhombeus, which likes hot and dry places.
Here it was basking in the warmth (haha) of my white plastic table.

It took a while for me to figure out what this was, but I think it's a Mayfly.
It doesn't help that it has lost a leg, which it is standing on with another leg!

There are always bees about in the garden and here's one hugging a Buttercup (Ranunculus).

Probably the most common butterfly here due to my little woodland,
this is the aptly named Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).

This handsome beast is a Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis).
They are often found on flowers around woodland edges
and prey on other insects.

Probably a Black Clouded Longhorn Beetle (Leiopus nebulosus). He's lost one of his long horns!

Ox-eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are always popular
with pollinators, such as this really tiny Moth.

They're also a great place to just hang out....

I'll finish off with a bit of buggy love, which has been going on rather a lot recently. :-)

.....or use as a nice soft carpet for a bit of hanky panky!
These are the same beetles as above, as yet unidentified.

I've found these tiny blue Weevils on my Blackcurrant leaves several times now.
Bottom right is backing off after the event :-)
Hopefully their lavae are not damaging to Blackcurrant roots as they are cute!

Taken with my macro lens so I can get a bit closer.
Only have one shot and now wonder what that yellow thing in the background is!

Solitary wasps of some kind.
All I can really tell you is that they are making babies amongst the roses.

You can possibly see better in this picture; his antennae were
waggling back and forth like crazy, plus there was rather a lot
of rubbing the important bits from side to side.
Yes, I watched :-)

As you can see, the roses are blooming, the garden is looking very colourful and I'm drowning in strawberries! The cooler cloudier weather is not stopping growth and if anything, the plants seem to be relishing in it. Strawberry jam, anyone? :-)


  1. OMG.....I have insect envy!!! I can hardly believe the variety and the fantastic markings. Amazing!

    My favorites are the Thick legged flower beetle and the Funky cricket which I think might be a Speckled Bush Cricket nymph ( Your photography is excellent, by the way.

    Many of our insects are out of sight during the day because of the heat and the ones I do see are incredibly small. Not a problem for a a good macro lens, of course, but I haven't been taking the time lately. If I had your insects, I would make the time :-)

    Queen Butterflies are regular visitors to my Asclepias subulata these days so I'm seeing plenty of Cats. This morning I witnessed an egg being laid and a miniscule Cat on the next stem over!

    Happy shooting!

    1. OK I'll swap for some of your butterflies, Marianne! Thanks so much for the ID, that's the one! I haven't really looked much at cricket ID but realise now that probably most of the plain tiny green ones I see are nymphs. I saw the adult male Speckled Bush Cricket last year as I recognise the markings!

      Many of these are taken with my compact camera, just because it's handy and I can't really get on with garden jobs lugging a big camera around. The SX50 is OK for some insects too but not the really tiny ones.

      I looked at your pictures - how remarkable to find a solitary egg like that! The only eggs I ever find are from the Whites that lay on my (edible) brassicas, but it's easy to spot eggs on a large flat cabbagey leaf!

      My biggest moth caterpillar featured above is getting huge now - I'm enjoying having a sacrificial plant so I can watch their progress!

      Happy bug and butterfly hunting and shooting right back at ya! :-)

  2. must sacrifice plants to keep butterflies coming back! I just commented on Grant Meyer's blog mentioning the same thing :-)

    1. I agree re. spectacular or rare butterflies but when it's moths decimating my special plants that's another thing. I see the Sedum Ermine Moth caterpillars are back, they are the ones that spin a horrible webby thing around them on the plant. This year they are so early the poor plants haven't even had a chance to flower. More squidging sessions to follow but I don't know if I can save my plants enough to get any floral display this year - and those blooms are really loved by bees and butterflies! :-(