Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Vapourer moth caterpillar

I've just added this moth, the Vapourer to the website pages, Lymantriidae. These are commonly known as the tussocks, and looking at this caterpillar it is easy to see why.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The shieldbug Picromerus bidens

This boring looking bug eats poisonous caterpillars and other nasties that the birds can't manage, so I love having it in my garden. It is quite hard to see on twigs, which is where I usually see it. then I move it to my brassicas to eat the cabbage white caterpillars.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Strangalia quadrifasciata

This is beautiful beeltle is Strangalia quadrifasciata. For a couple of weeks in August you could see quite a few of them feeding on cow parsley and ground elder in sunny spots, then they were gone. While they were feeding they were quite docile and very easy to pick up, but quick to fly if your shadow passed over them. I took this one home to photograph for my Cerambycidae page before taking it back in the afternoon

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bombus hortorum worker warming up

I photographed this Bombus hortorum worker warming up on a stone in my rockery a few weeks ago. The rockery is south facing, so catches any sun there is. This year the stones have been covered in bees, hoverflies and butterflies, all trying to get a little warmth in this miserable summer. Today all that are left are some very ragged Bombus pascuorum workers and males, and hoverflies. It has been a very bad year for most bumblebee species in my garden, but a very good year for Bombus hortorum. Perhaps that is because the queens emerged later and missed the early good weather that was followed by deep snow.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Grey Dagger, Acronicta psi caterpillar

Just added this image of a Grey Dagger caterpillar to the Noctuid moth page. I stood on this little caterpillar as I walked across the lawn, luckily I did not kill it, and put it on a blackcurrant where it started to feed. I have no idea what it was doing on the grass as there were none of its foodplants nearby.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Snout

This moth is called the Snout, what a wonderful name. I'd seen it a few times, but had never been able to get a photograph until it landed on some grass, as it usually retreated deep into a bed of nettles.

Bird predation of bumblebees

Just added this image to the predation page. I found this lucorum queen way back in May. She was just lying on the pavement, her whole abdominal contents neatly removed. Since then I've seen a few more like this. It seems that some species of tits have learned to rub the sting off and dig out the contents. It must make fairly tasty eating if she has a full honeystomach.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

2 spot ladybird

I've seen far more ladybirds in the past couple of weeks than I have the whole summer, and I think it was the same last summer. This one was on my tomato plants, but there are no aphids there yet, so I took her off, photographed her and put her on my peppers where there are plenty of aphids, worse luck.

We have a sponsor!

Flowers by post in Jersey have agreed to sponsor the bumblebee web site for a year, perhaps this will lead to a few more suitable sponsorships, as before the the only offers I had were from pest control companies. I could do with a new computer, and I'm trying to have the courage to break away from Microsoft and go for a Linux operating system. However my stepson swears by his Mac, so I am not sure.

Adult stonefly in the Nemouridae family

Added this image to the stonefly page. I was trying to show the "double ladder" down the wings. Not easy when it kept moving. But when it stopped to clean its antennae I managed this.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Bombus pratorum worker warming up

Added this image of a pratorum worker warming up on a bit of bare ground in my rockery. It was a cool day with cloud and some sunshine, but a cold wind from the north, so the south-facing dark ground was considerable warmer than the surroundings. Note how she has flattened her body to the soil.