Bugs from warmer days past

When winter starts getting to me, there are a few things I can do. 1) I can go to my growing table in the basement and get a fix of green. This often reminds me of work I need to do though, as some of the plants on the table need some attention. 2) I can browse my gardening books and seed catalogs, dreaming, planning, and counting the days until the last frost date. 3) I can go through my old garden photos, reminding myself what the yard will look like again in just a few months, when it warms. (It's surprising how quickly I forget each year!)

That's what I did tonight -- looked back over old photos. Instead of focusing on the lush greenery of what was growing though, for some reason insect photos caught my eye. Summer means insects, right? I'm pretty sure I haven't shown these before, and wanted to before I forget about them again. So here they are.


First up are these "families" of insects on my Rose of Sharon bush (aka althaea, or Hibiscus syriacus). I don't know what they are and haven't yet tried too hard to find out, but bugguide.net should give me some idea if not an exact ID.

I think this is another group of the same insects, but just hatched so it's hard to be sure:

I found and photographed them in September 2009. You'd think I would have found the time to research them by now.

Next up is a gruesome but fascinating scene from August 2009: a large caterpillar being scavanged by ants:

I didn't see if the ants killed the caterpillar of if they just happened upon the carcass, but I'd like to think that they did not do the killing. The placement of this scene in the middle of my flagstone walkway is suspect though.

I would have liked to see the ants cooperatively hoist the body and carry it off, but that didn't happen.

I'll follow that grisly scene with a photo from July 2009 that makes me sad whenever I look at it:

It's a "daddy long-legs" (aka "harvestman") which is heavily infested with parasitic mites. Daddy long-legs are not spiders, but they are arachnids, and this photo makes me sad because the creature's eyes seem to be appealing to me to do something about the mites.

Maybe it's just me.

Finally a couple of photos of dubious quality. I wish I would have checked the photos on the camera to make sure they were in focus, but back in July 2008 I didn't have as much experience with garden photos as I do now.

This leaf came from one of my 'Home Run' roses, and it was interesting because the group of pests that had nibbled the holes in the leaf were still around.

Even more interesting though was the underside of the leaf:

Eggs, empty egg cases, and an immature "whatever it is" too! I love finding scenes like this! I think the little guy is pretty cute too -- it's definitely cool seeing him along with his older kin.

Again, I've had plenty of time to look these up on bugguide.net, but for some reason I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe somebody will be able to help me out and point me to an identification for these (as well as the ones at the top of the post)? Hint, hint!

Anyway, that's my atypical contribution to the fight against the winter blahs for today.

(I apologize if this post has replaced your winter blahs with "the creeps".)

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 28, 2011 at 2:11 PM)  

You certainly do have a fascination with critters. Great macro shots!

anne  – (January 28, 2011 at 4:47 PM)  

You have very cool bugs in MO and I tried but couldn't find what they are - can you post it when you send in your photos to be identified? Surprisingly enough, I am still the enjoying the very high mounds and feet of snow we have here in MA. I read way more in the winter than in the gardening months so it has its advantages.

Steffanie  – (January 28, 2011 at 9:31 PM)  

Hi Alan! Just came across your site through your post on Ree Drummand's web site. I need to explore your blog further, but it looks fun!
I'm new-ish to the blogging thing (becoming rather addicted), and have started my own blog, Gypsy Bandana. I don't have much gardening in there yet...kinda cold still up here in Utah...Hope to be inspired by what I've seen of your yard so far!

Alan  – (January 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM)  

Hi Steffanie! Click the "discovery" button for some of the most interesting things (in my opinion of course). Utah is a beautiful state, but not the first state that comes to mind when I think "gardening". Not that I've seen more than a handful of the 50. =)

Alan  – (January 28, 2011 at 10:11 PM)  

Anne -- I bet you have plenty of cool insects there too, as they're all over the place (I say as an ant crawls across my desk - seriously! Must be from my growing table across the basement.)

I only really started seeing all of these cool bugs when I took closer looks at everything. Oh, and no pesticides -- that probably helps.

Alan  – (September 30, 2012 at 5:10 PM)  

I just did Jane, thanks to your comment. :-) They're Scentless Plant Bug Nymphs - Niesthrea louisianica. Here's their link on bugguide.net: http://bugguide.net/node/view/227698

Alan  – (September 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM)  

Jane: Sorry, I just accidentally deleted your comment! You said that your four year old son was fascinated by these same bugs that you found on your own rose of sharon bush, and asked if I had ID'd it yet.

Sorry again about deleting your comment! *blush*

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