Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The small stuff

I visited my friend, Seon, yesterday. Her Chrysanthemums have lots of little bugs on them.

Especially, lots of little grasshoppers.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Small mystery beetle

I found this little guy in the park this morning. I couldn't figure out quite what it is, so I posted it on Bugguide. It almost looks like a firefly. We don't have those here, do we? I wish now I would have brought it home.

Mantis Monday for 5-27-07

There's a guy named Steve who likes to build with Legos, and he likes mantids too. So he built one out of Legos.
Of course, nowadays, Legos come in a mind-boggling variety of specialized shapes, the better to make bugs with, my dear. When I was a kid, they were all pretty much bricks. They came in different sizes and thicknesses, but they were all block shaped, except for such novelties as wheels and windows.
You can see more views of Steves Legomantis here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I was lucky enough to catch one coming out of the cocoon this morning.

As hideous as the fully grown silkworms looked, (see them in this post), they have redeemed themselves in their adult form. A delicate and decidedly furry creamy white, they remind me of baby harp seals with their big, dark eyes.

At first only males emerged. There were 4 of them, and for a couple of days, they waited, motionless, for a female.

At last! A single female emerged, and was immediately claimed.

The other males flapped their wings and vibrated with anticipation.

As the second female was mating, another male tried to take over.

I had given some silkworms to Kathi, and she realized that she had no idea what to feed the adult moths. I told her that the moths have no mouths and do not eat at all. Their lives, which as caterpillars consisted entirely of eating, now focus only on reproduction.

Kathi's dragonfly

My friend, Kathi likes to call me whenever she has a bug-related question. Last week, she had 2 for me, the first being an ID request for this thing!

Turns out, she had never before seen a dragonfly at rest, up close. Not even in pictures. So this was a spectacular find, right on her front porch.

She was even able to get it into a jar, to really get a close up look at it, and to save it to show to her little girl when she got home from school.

Her second bug-related question will be addressed in a later post.

Dented but undaunted

I noticed this beetle ambling along the ground the other day, apparently fully functional despite the damage to its shell.

Fly sex

Random leftover bugs

Here are some photos that have been sitting in my Ready for Blog Upload file for too long. So I'm finally posting them, so I can clear them out of the folder.

Eggs of Harlequin bugs.

Harlequin bugs, adult and young.

Some kind of bloated scale insects.

A cactus fly, on a cactus.

OK, now remember those mystery bugs I found last month? Here they are, all grown up.

Fresh from the pupa case.

Here's a fairly fresh beetle with still-curing shell.

The final product.

Also on these same trees, there were lots of Asian ladybug larvae, and some of them were apparently eating the pupae of their own kind, as well as the black ones.

There were also these tiny lace bugs. This is the first time I have ever seen lace bugs. I knew they were small, but I didn't realize they were tiny!

A herd of lacebug nymphs.

A pair of lacy adults. I think that both the Asian and black ladybugs were eating these lacebugs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vicarious beetle souvenir

Jerry is in Colorado for a training class, but he visited his old buddy, Larry for a couple days, too. He took these beetle pictures for me, presumably on Larry's property.

I have never seen this kind of beetle before, but after a little searching, I have narrowed it down to either this or this. Either way, I think it's a fungus beetle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More catchup

I have a bunch of stuff to post. Most of it is already kind of old.

Here's my deroplatys, all grown up:

A close up of her dead-leafy wings.

We did silkworms in Mrs. W's class.

The closer you look, the uglier they get. Ewww.
Now they look like this.

I tried my darnedest to take a picture of a male carpenter bee. He tried his best to cooperate. (..or did he??) The results are less than wonderful.

I have more to post, but honestly, I think the world's glaciers are melting faster than Blogger can upload photos. I'll post more soon.

Update on baby birds

Discouraging development for one of the baby finches I "rescued".

Even though I can see the parents continuing to care for them, and the babies are vigorous and noisy, I was still concerned because of their injuries from the sparrow. I took a peek in the nest this afternoon.

Three of them appear to be OK, but one little birdie has lost the tip of his beak. I don't know how he will be able to feed himself. I have emailed the songbird rescue people for advice.

Sad update, 5-16-07: Vicki from Songbird Rescue called me back after viewing the photos above. She says this birdie will never be able to feed itself, and while his parents are currently continuing to put food into his open mouth, once he leaves the nest and has to fend for himself, he will starve. The kindest thing would be to euthanize him before that happens.

On Friday, I have a pre-existing appointment to take my lab, Boomie, to the vet for his shot and dental work. I called their office, and they said I could bring in the birdie and they would put him down for me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Baby bird rescue and relocation

I have been enabling house finches to make a nest in my patio cover ever since we had it built a few years ago. It’s almost ideal for them, except that the nest “floor” is just flat with no means of holding the nesting material in place. So a few years ago, I stuck a basket up there, and the birds went for it right away.

It worked like a charm, but Jerry didn’t like that they pooped a whole bunch, and it got all messy and gross. So the following year, I stuck a juice carton up there, with a “backsplash” of another juice carton, cut up. It worked like a champ.

This year I used a juice carton again, and the birds made their nest. (Are they the same birds? How could I ever know?) They were already on their second clutch, the babies having hatched several days ago. This morning I found one of the babies on the patio floor, alive but weak. I also noticed a male house sparrow hanging around the nest. I had heard that sparrows can be cruel killers and take over other nests, but I had never seen it first hand.

I put the little birdie in a Kleenex-lined cup, and watched to see what was happening in the nest. I saw the parent birds go to the nest, but there was silence, and no feeding. Worried, I climbed the stepladder and carefully brought the nest box down. Inside were the other 3 birdies, all pecked and bloody! I ran and collected some supplies in the house: saline spray, neosporine ointment, q-tips. I rinsed their little bloody heads with drops of saline and dabbed a bit of the neo on them. Miraculously, they were all still alive.

Off to the information highway I went, and found this songbird rescue site. I called Vicki and explained the situation. I told her my wish was to be able to return the babies to their parents, but how to keep that evil sparrow away? After a bit of brainstorming, we came up with the idea of cutting away some of the juice carton to make the nest box less appealing to the sparrow, and moving it a little bit. She said the parents would still be able to find it, and hopefully the sparrow would not.

So I trimmed the box and replaced it a few feet away from its original location. I left the babies safely in the house while I waited and watched to see what would happen. It took almost an hour, but the parents came to investigate the nest in its new location. Now, I could put the babies back in. The parents came back! They have been feeding the babies all day, and the babies are stretching out their necks and tweeting and opening up their mouths. What a relief. And so far, the sparrow has stayed away too.

In the heat of the moment, I didn't think to take pictures of the little birds until I had already relocated them. The photo above is from this afternoon, back in the care of Mom and Dad.

I think maybe next year I won’t put up a nest box on my patio cover. Let the birdies find a better place, away from my meddling.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The bugs are here

... and so am I.

I've been preoccupied, distracted, and otherwise bothered by life in general. But I do have pictures to post, and I will get to it soon, I hope.
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