14 July, 2022

July 14, 2022 Thursdy

I gave up on that old camera, but the new one came yesterday! They gave me an entirely new one. I still had light after I went through the settings; and there was enough of a partial charge in the battery to get outside. I finally ran into some bee flies! Unfortunately, my crab spider is gone. I photographed 3 different flies today. One, the Phasia fly is unreported in Vermont at Bugguide. It seems a perfect match to me, and I hope it is correct. I also wish for more information on them but can't find anything. I may have to buy a fly guidebook.

So far today it is cold and wet. We want to get out!

Posted on 14 July, 2022 13:17 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

08 July, 2022

July 8, 2022

Obscure Plant Bug (Plagiognathus obscurus)

No information except they are native to NA and SA and females are more oval than males. So I think my photo has one of each. They are very small. I thought they were tumbling flower beetles. So a new lifer.

A bumble: probably a common eastern bumble.
A house fly.
The crab spider. I now am considering that it may be a male (size) goldenrod crab spider.

I prefer to shoot photos that tell a story. How the spider hides under petals; how it creeps out when there is prey about. Its patience. It requires so many photos and so much sitting and waiting, but I have nothing else to do out there except wait.

Warm this morning but it has been too cold the past couple of mornings to find anything. Right hand swollen from deer fly bites. :-(

Posted on 08 July, 2022 15:03 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

05 July, 2022

July 5, 3033

My lousy temporary camera, which does not have a flash that works, was worthless on this cloudy day. There were no bugs, anyhow. Why??

So I did a bit of bug reading to clarify something about St. John's Wort beetles from http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/info_sjwbeetles.htm

The chemical most often connected with St. John's wort is hypericin, the chemical used as a "marker" for medicinal activity. Recent research has revealed that there are at least 50 chemicals in this plant with varied medicinal properties. Like so many plants that are used as medicines the valuable properties of this herb cannot be attributed to one single chemical.
Research has shown that both the larvae and adults accumulate hypericin that they ingest from the plants. The amount of hypericin in the larvae is enough to make them photosensitive and feeding habits seem to reflect this accumulation.
The elytra (protective wing covers) transmit almost no light and thus the hypericin cannot become "activated". Adults are reluctant to fly from plant to plant. When the elytra are opened during flight, light can penetrate the cuticle, activating the hypericin which becomes toxic to them. Adults move about only when threatened with starvation.

If I were a SJW beetle? Being threatened with starvation would happen in the early afternoon.

Posted on 05 July, 2022 22:21 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 0 comments | Leave a comment

04 July, 2022

July 4, 2022

It was fairly breezy this morning, but that can be an advantage. Insects will disappear if they feel unnatural movement of their perch, but wind does not bother them. When it's breezy, I can gently grasp a stalk and hold it still for photos and the insect simply thinks the wind has stopped.

I dare not identify the crab spider. I will get it wrong. Four anterior eyes but no dimpling of the carapace. The dimpling could be a matter of age. I finally got the eyes today only after it retreated to its hideout in the flower petals and looked out. That was quite a trick getting the timing, focus and light correct enough to count eyes.

Aphids are doing well, of course. But there was drama. A nursery spider captured an ant under a leaf with an aphid colony. Both ant and spider were dangling in this high breeze and I could not figure out how to keep them still for photos.

I saw only one St. John's Wort beetle on oxeye daisy, but it quickly disappeared after Lucy ran through the clump of flowers. I saw none on blackeye susan today and found no aphids there, so I cannot solve the mystery of the objects in the photo with the beetle a couple of days ago.

The bees are swarming the rugosa. There are several species but I cannot reach the blossoms.

Posted on 04 July, 2022 17:02 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

03 July, 2022

July 3, 2022

It was a beetle day. Another pesky one and a favorite. The red milkweed beetles are a favorite because they give great shots that are funny (to me). The imported willow leaf beetle was a surprise: I thought it was an alder flea beetle. All these are in the superfamily Superfamily Chrysomeloidea. That includes the St. John's Wort beetle, also. It must be that time of year. Aphids are thriving. St. John's Wort beetles are happily munching. It was a good morning. I really want to take a course on taxonomy nomenclature. I don't know where yet, but I'll find something.

Posted on 03 July, 2022 17:28 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

02 July, 2022

July 2, 2022

Still no syrphids! Did the new colony of tree swallows eat them all up? Eat everything up? Bugs are very difficult to find this season.

But I did find 5 this morning. Perfect weather after rain at dawn. Two spiders, two native bees, and that St. Johnswort beetle. Those beetles, of which I found several today on one Rudbeckia plant had their noses into the stem. Whether they were piercing the stem, I could not tell. But there was one who seemed to have another insect with it, as if it was eating it. A bee? Even close examination on the computer failed to solve the mystery. I don't even know yet if they are omnivorous. I did get one to crawl about on my hand.

A masked bee! One of my favorites, if only because of the name and the eyes. A beautiful green bee, also.

The camera is ready to go out for repairs. This is going to be the biennial Rudbeckia year. Poor Lucy was bloodied by deer flies. And I have a tiny little tomato growing on my one and only plant.

Update: I have been reading about Chrysolina hyperici. Information is difficult to find. It isn't in any of my beetle guide books. But Canada and UK sites have some. They are not omnivorous but apparently they don't stick to St. John's Wort, either. I found them on Leucanthemum vulgare and Rudbeckia hirta. What looked like a bee (at least to me with poor eyes) seems to be aphids! That requires further investigation tomorrow. Are C. hyperici attracted to honey dew also? They were imported from Australia in 1943. Australia got them from Europe. They are used to eradicate St. John's Wort, which is a pesky invasive in the west of the US.

Posted on 02 July, 2022 15:00 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

01 July, 2022

July 1, 2022

By 10:30 this morning, the temperature was already 74°, so the beautiful syrphid flies were gone. I seem to have found a St. Johnswort beetle today: Chrysolina hyperici. My first one. I thought I had photographed the head, but was mistaken.

The aphids are flourishing. I could find no change from yesterday to today except for a population increase. Do the aphids congregate naturally or do ants herd them together? But I'm wrong, there is a change: the ants are different. There are a mix of sizes, smaller with larger now now. Usually they are all large and now there are many small ones.

The flash on the SX50 won't shoot, so now I am even more limited in shots. I have to get the SX70 off for repairs.

Posted on 01 July, 2022 15:28 by andreerenosanborn andreerenosanborn | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment