Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bees, butterflies, bugs... and saliva.

The Zinnias are fading. They are bug eaten, losing their color and the leaves are dying.

Each morning I cut off the spent flowers and water the pots. They like this attention and keep growing new, much smaller flowers... but the nights are cold and their lives are short.
This morning there were bees and butterflies flying around the flowers and then... a lone Bumblebee arrived. This was part of his journey through the flowers...

It's wings are beautiful. It's fuzzy body so soft.
I love these critters. They are the stuffed animals of the insect world.
There were other insects sharing the last of the Zinnias.
 The small and lovely Gray Hairstreak butterfly.
And this ragged American painted lady, that looked like it had been in a rather bad fight. The left wing was badly chewed up.
Three of them were flying around the Zinnias. This one seemed to be following me.
"Well, I'm posing! Are you going to take my picture or what? I'm waiting. "
( Do you see the two Spotted Cucumber Beetles hiding in the leaves? It's like a high rise apartment for these little beetles. They're everywhere. )
They are very destructive little insects. My mom use to call them Diabrotica, which is the Latin name for them... Diabrotica Undecimpunctata. Say that fast, three times in a row. 
I love this photo because I think this is why these bugs are so attracted to the Zinnias. Look at this. It's like a beautiful candy factory... all glistening, colorful and filled with pollen. Willy Wonka would love this.
Just remember... red and black ladybugs are good. They eat aphid. Green and black Cucumber beetles eat anything they can get their little mandibles on. Between these guys, the grasshoppers and the yellow finches my Zinnias struggled all summer. That's why I buy the seeds by the box. I seed the Zinnias all over the place. That way everyone can enjoy them.
And now... all of a sudden, the honeybees have arrived. Didn't see many all summer.
 Right now, they are everywhere. There's probably a hive of them in a hollow tree somewhere around here. If you've been worried about the lack of honey bees near you, don't worry. Most of them are all here at our place. Did you know that the queen spends her live mating and laying eggs. She will produce a colony of 60 to 80 thousand workers. She is treated like a "queen" and is fed royal jelly, while the larvae get bee bread (a mix of honey and pollen).  The rest of the story is kind of brutal.  It's a bee-licious soap opera out there. You can read about it here.
Want a  really interesting bit of information?... listen to this. By passing food mixed with saliva to one another, members of the hive form a chemical bond with each other. Maybe that's why passionate kissing is so popular with humans. Not sure where that came from. My brain sometimes moves in mysterious directions.
"Well, hello there."
It's so fun to go out there and use my 105mm macro lens to capture these little guys. I can get up close and personal without scaring them away. Plus, I believe that if you don't show your fear of them and move about slowly, they think you are just another, rather big, bug and they go about their business without worry.

My favorites are the Bumblebees. We have a bond... an understanding. Who knows,,, maybe they have been dropping saliva in my coffee cup when I'm outside in the mornings. Kind of a gross thought... but the honeybees do it and they form a bond that way.
 I shall watch my coffee cup very carefully from now on.

"Stop looking for lizards. You'll never catch one. They're too fast... Carl, Are you listening to me?"


  1. yum...now there is a nice thought....saliva in your coffee....err....smiles...you got up close and personal with those bees now didnt you....cool pics...

  2. Wow! That last shot of the honey bee is spectacular! You should send it to National Geographic...seriously! I wonder what his photo of you would look like?
    I am this close to buying a macro lens....it's a whole other world out there...love how your brain works through your photos.

  3. These close-up pictures are fantastic. And I enjoyed all the info as well. What interesting creatures. Love the photo of Carl, too. I've had similar conversations. LOL.

  4. What great photos. You are a great photographer. I enjoyed this post very much. Keep on sharing. Have a blessed evening. Madeline


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