Monday, April 30, 2007

Relocating a swarm of bees

My post last week about the swarm of bees that landed in a tree in my front yard brought about the question of whether a beekeeper could be called to come and capture it. I wasn't sure, so I did just a bit of googling and found this bee removal website.

I also found a local (to So. Cal.) bee removal company.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bee Story on Public Radio today

Why Aren't the Honeybees Coming Home?

This was a kind of long radio report/interview, lasting about half an hour. I only had a chance to listen to parts of it. I hope to play it again later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The swarm has landed

In our tree, right in the front yard!!

It's about the size of a flabby, deflated basketball, if you can picture that. We noticed it this afternoon, coincidentally just after we had trees trimmed in the back yard. As interesting as it is, I hope the swarm moves on by tomorrow.

Another submission to UPDATED

While walking in the park, I found a bunch of strange, almost ladybug-looking larvae. I have submitted several photos of them to And tomorrow, I'll go back and collect some, and see what they turn into.

UPDATE: I collected several larvae, which have now pupated. They are in a container in Mrs. W's class, waiting to see what comes of them. But in the meantime, I think they are Chilocorus orbus, the twice-stabbed lady beetle.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mantis Monday for 4-23-07

Note: I really did try to get this posted yesterday, but I was having trouble getting the link to work! It still doesn't, really, at least not for me. Must have something to do with the browser settings, which I really don't know how to manage.

There's a place for the really hard core mantid hobbyists:

I have taken a peek at this board a time or two. Message boards are great sources of information and pictures, etc. I've never registered and posted, though.
I'm just a small time bug hobbyist compared to these folks.
If the link above doesn't work, try highlighting the address that shows on your browser and hit the enter key. It worked for me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


From the arboretum, recently.

We love pollen

Justa buncha bee pictures.
Some have pollen on their faces, like this one.

Some are packin' pollen to go.

This one has blue pollen!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mantis Monday for 4-16-07

Death Valley Mantids
(or at least evidence thereof)

I actually took these pictures last Monday, but despite the claim of wireless internet Panamint Springs, I was unable to connect online. By the time I got home last Wednesday, I figured I would just wait till the following Monday (today)

At the little gas station store/gift shop, I was amazed to see not one, but two baskets of praying mantis toys. It seemed strange. I had never realized there were mantids in Death Valley other than those obscure little ground mantids I found 10 years ago. Certainly not enough to warrant selling them by the basket-load. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a mantis egg case under the eaves outside our hotel room.

This, of course, led me to look for and find many egg cases all over the hotel area. All of them were old, maybe accumulated over several years, so I'm guessing that their number is not necessarily huge. But they're there. I asked the young man who worked in the little store if he'd seen any mantids. He said he usually saw them on the windows at night, perhaps hunting for insects that were attracted to the lights.

I will not be able to return to Death Valley until this fall at the earliest. I hope someone (Kit?)will find, photograph and post a picture of a DV mantis for me. (And any cool, big moth they might see, that might be from this caterpillar.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Death Valley critters!

Hemileuca burnsi
Look! I put this caterpillar on!

I've been back for several days already. I saw lots of bugs, took lots of pictures, and spent lots of time sorting through them and otherwise procrastinating getting them on the blog. I did get them on Flickr. So you can see them here. And a few DV herps here.

My favorite finds were probably the caterpillar above, and the desert tortoise, below.

This was my first time seeing a desert tortoise in the wild. He was just inches from the pavement. He was very shy, hissing and pulling himself as far into his shell as he could. This was as far out as he would come, and he flinched if I made even the slightest movement. I carried him carefully about 10 feet farther away from the road. I hope he stays safe, and has no more unpleasant encounters with any pesky humans.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mantis Monday for 4-02-07

Photo by ap.
Is this not the most dynamic, visually striking mantis photo you have seen in a long time??? The bright colors and the great composition give this an almost surreal quality. And the talented photographer has lots more great bug shots on Flickr.
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