I spent my weekend in upstate New York with Daisy visiting my folks and we had a good old time eating far too much food, having far too much fun, and, somewhat unfortunately, considering some of them were of the biting variety, seeing far too many bugs. The wet summer that has been the bane of many birding outings has also led to impressive swarms (flocks?) of mosquitoes, mosquitoes that managed to cut our expedition to pick apples in a local orchard short (don’t worry, we still managed to come away with thirty plus pounds of Empires and Galas and enjoyed some of my mother’s delicious apple crisp, which made up, to some degree, for the numerous itchy welts we suffered). And while I didn’t see the number nor variety of butterflies Charlie managed to track down this weekend (and even fewer moths) I did see some cool bugs, or at least regular bugs doing kind of cool things.
Like what? Well, here is an Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis), what most people refer to as a ladybug. What makes this widespread insect interesting? Well, I found it under one the ash tree’s leaves laying eggs, or, at least I thought it was laying eggs until I discovered that ladybug eggs are oval and yellow. So maybe it was eating something else’s eggs? Or maybe the presence of the ladybug on a leaf with eggs was a coincidence? I have no idea but maybe one of you nice readers do…
The next creature is another mystery, at least to me. It is a small spider that decided to take one of the ash tree’s leaves as its home, a smart decision if the amount of flies I saw on the leaves during my last visit wasn’t an anomaly. I have no idea what species of spider it is, only that it hung upside-down on its web awaiting prey that never arrived so long as I was watching. A brief survey of the other trees led to the discovery of another of these spiders, but led me no closer to figuring out what, exactly, it is. Anyone want to help on this one?
And my final fun bug for the weekend also involved a spider’s web, but did not, happily for the hapless Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) involve a spider. On a walk to the Saugerties Lighthouse on the Hudson River, the Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens biflora) was attracting a host of bees and other bugs, to say nothing of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris). Near the jewelweed was a spider’s web, and trapped in the web was a honeybee. I watched and photographed the bee for at least a minute, only getting one even halfway-decent picture, and eventually the bee managed to free itself from the sticky web. Though I was not happy with my photographs I was happy for the bee!
Bonus picture of a honeybee drinking a dew drop below. Honeybee tongue!