Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ruby tiger moth

I found the caterpillar below ambling down a path in the field last month, and just managed to stop my dog stepping on it.  It looked like the Garden tiger, but was the wrong time of year, so I took it home to try to identify it and photograph it.  Well it is the Ruby tiger, and was on its way to build its cocoon.  It started to do this as I was putting my camera away, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The cocoon should be built at the base of the foodplant, but it is now on the side of a plastic dish.  But I have put it is a safe place, and will leave it alone to see what happens.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Knot grass moth caterpillar

I found this caterpillar last year crawling on a bit of bare ground in the garden.  It was a day of high winds, just like we've had the past two days, so I presumed it had got blown off its foodplant.  I took it in with a few leaves off the surrounding plants to try to identify it, but it wouldn't eat any of them, and I couldn't identify it, so after I photographed it I put it back where I'd found it.

It was only a few days ago while reading a book on woodland insects that I came across it's picture, and so was able to identify it at last, and add it to one of the Noctuid pages.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Queen Lucia by E F Benson

I just finished Queen Lucia last night.  What a hoot!  Isn't life wonderful.  I've been reading all my life, and have shelves of books, boxes of books, and lists of books I want to buy.  Yet I can still find authors that I didn't know of who write so well as to make me giggle so much in bed that complaints are made by the other occupants.

On a different note I recently finished Keith Richard's Life, and that was very enjoyable too.  I didn't know much about him before, apart from the music, but he seems a really nice guy.  He's been lucky, and he knows it. It made me look out my Little Walter tracks - oh boy, how good they are.  They are now safe on my ipod to be listened to when I'm stuck in the kitchen cooking or ironing.  I wonder just what other music I have that I haven't heard in ages?  Is this one of the few pleasures of growing old?  Brian Jones came out of the book a thoroughly obnoxious character.

Now off to the garden.  The bumblebees are on my tuberous comfrey - I know it is regarded as a weed, but they like it, and so do I in small amounts.  So far it has been a very good year for bumblebees up here.  Let's hope it continues.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Woodlice vision

This question was posted in the bumblebee section below.

Hi there! Sorry for asking this here. But do you know why woodlice 'prefer' red light to blue light?

I had never heard of this before. I just thought that woodlice prefer low light levels. So does anyone else out there know about this?

I imagine it would be easy to set up an experiment using LED light which is high in the blue end of the spectrum, and an incandescent lightbulb which is high in the red end. But my money goes on the woodlice scuttling under and cover they can find.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bombus hypnorum travels north

Bombus hypnorum (tree bumblebee) has reached the north side of the Humber! It won't be long before it reaches Scotland - if it hasn't already. The pic above was sent in to my by the people at Bees in Art.

Bird boxes are popular nest sites for this bee - if fact I get more emails from people with bumblebees in their tit boxes than I do from those with bumblebees in bumblebee boxes.