Bees, Leaf-footed Bugs, Luna Moths and More

Top Photo: Eastern tiger swallowtail nectars on coreopsis.

Though they’re more obvious during spring when the white-faced males emerge to patrol areas around suitable nest sites for females, carpenter bees are active all season long. Spring, though, is when you’re most likely to run into one and perhaps be buzzed by the harmless males.

Later in the summer they’re much less noticeable, but still around. You’ll probably see more females at this time of year and they’ll be more passive than the patrolling males. But, unlike the males, the females have stingers, so it’s probably not a good idea to poke at one of them. They’re not, though, aggressive and won’t zero in on you if you accidentally intrude on their space.

Female carpenter bee makes final approach at sage.

Leaf-footed bugs comprise a family of insects which include about eighty species in North America. They vary in shape and size but they all have a small head and broad “shoulders.” Many species have flared tibia on their hind legs which may appear to some as though they’re wearing bell-bottoms. To others these flared leg parts appear leaf-like.

Leaf-footed bugs have long thin piercing mouthparts that they inject into leaves, fruit or plant stems to suck out the plant’s juices.

Large leaf-footed, or squash, bug.

I’m not sure of the species pictured here, but it’s a large leaf-footed bug. It expertly flew off seconds after I photographed it. Some leaf-footed bugs are referred to as squash bugs.

I’ve been seeing far more luna moth parts over the last few weeks than I have live luna moths. They tend to get caught out in the open more than other large moth species. I saw one fly across the path a few weeks ago, but wings seem to be much more common a sight along the path or on the pavement than intact individuals.

The forewing of a luna moth.

There are two flights of luna moth in the piedmont, one peaking in early May the other early August. The insects are flying now.

Hummingbirds are very active in the Butterfly House Garden. Stop by and see for yourself.

You don’t often see pickerel frogs very far from water or moist woodlands. The one below was at the top of the stairs leading to the Butterfly House. I’d be anthropomorphizing if I said the frog had assumed a proud stance, but judge for yourself.

Pickerel frog at the top of stairs of Butterfly House.

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