Insects


Honey bees1

Honey bees2

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“Another bug for the blog?”

That’s what Don asked me yesterday morning as he happened upon me having a conversation with this very handsome dragonfly.

From 21facts.com: 

One of the most distinguishing features of dragonflies are their eyes. They have large, compound eyes with many facets or sides. Because of their large, multifaceted eyes, the adult dragonfly can see nearly 360 degrees around it at all times.

The front wings of the dragonfly are slightly longer than the rear wings. This helps with both speed and maneuverability.

As far as insects go, dragonflies are among the fastest. Some of the faster species can fly upward of 30 miles per hour. Their four wings also allow them to move sideways, backward, to hover in place, etc. And they can do all of these movements quickly and accurately, which makes them well suited to eat other insects right out of the air.

Isn’t nature amazing?

I once read that the leaf bug’s camouflage is occasionally a detriment. Because of their remarkable disguise, they’ve been known to now and then mistake each other for real leaves and have been seen nibbling on one another.

Apparently there are quite a few species of leaf bugs. In some species, the edge of the leaf insect’s body even has the appearance of bite marks. And, to further confuse predators, when some leaf insects walk, they rock back and forth to mimic a real leaf being blown by the wind.

Now, really… how cool is that? ♥

Up until last week when it was cut, the alfalfa field behind us was vibrant and alive with beautiful blue flowers.

And what seemed like tens of thousands of small, yellow butterflies.

Turns out, they’re sulphur butterflies. Caterpillars of these butterflies feed on plants in the legume family. This includes beans, alfalfa, sweet clover and red clover. Because their caterpillars are readily found on alfalfa, the butterfly is sometimes called “alfalfa butterfly.” 

From what I’ve read, the butterflies pose little to no threat and aren’t likely to be a serious pest of agricultural crops.

That made us all too happy to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

What’s with all the moths lately? We found a white-lined sphinx hummingbird moth enjoying the bee balm in our garden yesterday.

I think they’re gorgeous.

See the curled proboscis in this picture?

From butterfliesandmoths.org:

Caterpillar hosts: A great diversity of plants including willow weed (Epilobium), four o’clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), and Fuschia.

Adult food: Nectar from a variety of flowers including columbines, larkspurs, petunia, honeysuckle, moonvine, bouncing bet, lilac, clovers, thistles, and Jimpson weed.

Habitat: A wide variety of open habitats including deserts, suburbs, and gardens.

Range: Central America north through Mexico and the West Indies to most of the United States and southern Canada. Also occurs in Eurasia and Africa.

Management needs: Occasional outbreaks of caterpillars have damaged tomatoes, grapes, and garden crops in Utah. (And at Morning Bray Farm.)

Leave it to something like Mothra to push Don over the edge and officially into the blogosphere.

We were hanging out with my dad and the boys on Sunday afternoon when Don went rushing past me and into the house to get the other camera. He came back out and rushed straight back into the barn. I walked in to find this:

Me: What’cha lookin’ at?

Don: Look at the size of this thing!

Me: Wow, honey. That's awesome.

Here’s my perspective of what Don was looking at: 

And here’s Don’s perspective:

Don: This sucker is huge! This is going to be a perfect blog post!

Me: Ok, hun.

I was sure Don had entered the blogosphere when he insisted I climb up on the hay bales with him to take this shot: