Friday, April 24, 2009

Nothing to see here

My first time getting stung on a bug safari tour, and by a carpenter bee, no less. It wasn't bad, really. I'd heard that it's not as painful as a honeybee, and in this case, that was true. The stinger did not remain embedded in my finger (with a small chunk of the bee's abdomen) pumping venom into me, as it would have with the honeybee.

It did smart, and my finger was swelling a little bit, but as luck would have it, there was a vendor in a booth at our plant sale who had aloe vera products. He was happy to give me a little squirt of lotion from one of his sample bottles. Within minutes, the pain was subsiding. On the way back to the children's garden, I bummed an ice cube from the Shave Ice people. By the time it had melted away, the pain and swelling was basically gone.


Some eggs

At the arboretum, on this plant...

These eggs. True bugs of some kind?

Then there were these on a dandelion bud. I took it home to see what hatches.

Moments before it emerged

This was my experimental monarch, just before it emerged from the Chrysalis. This was last weekend during our big Green Scene at the arboretum. I missed the emergence by moments. Why it didn't occur to me to take more pictures, I have no idea. Well, yes I do. I was busy with a bunch of kids. Anyway, it was a boy, and we let it fly away later that day.

Tiny beetles on a flower

Mormon crickets in the news.

They're not actually crickets, but katydids. And they're getting ready to march through the deserts of Nevada. I heard the tail end of a radio story about them, and later sought more information online. Here's the story.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The same and more of the same

Yet another in my seemingly endless series of porch moths.

It sort of looks like some of the other moths I've seen and photographed, but I'm pretty sure it's a little different.

And some crane flies on a date. I actually made a video of a female crane fly digging in the ground to lay her eggs, and I tried but for some technological reason, it wouldn't upload. You can see it here on Flickr. While you're at it, why not look at my sphinx caterpillar video too.

My experimental caterpillar grew up just fine. It is now in a chrysalis, in a small enclosure at the arboretum, hopefully to eclose during our big plant show and sale this weekend.

Other "experiments" have not fared as well. A pair of tiny ground mantid nymphs that I brought home from the desert died after they failed to eat any of the tiny insects I provided for them. I tried aphids, ants, and "grass plankton", a mix of minute critters I netted up from our lawn. I wonder what they would be eating in the desert.

Also, the lovely green caterpillar I found last month died while we were on vacation. It had burrowed under the soil, but then it just shriveled up.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

PBS show about frogs in peril

I watched this show tonight on PBS. It was interesting and pretty scary, the thought of frogs going extinct. And not just because frogs are cute. They are a vital part of the food chain. Without frogs, lots and lots of insects will go uneaten. Without tadpoles, the water quality of streams change because there is overgrowth of algae. Birds, snakes, and other predators are declining in areas where frogs have disappeared. Habitat loss and a fungal disease are responsible for much of the problems. Some people and scientists are trying to help the frogs, but we're running out of time.

Check your local TV listings to see when this show plays in your area. Or click on the photo above to go to the PBS/Nature website where you can view the program online.

Because they're everywhere

I've been meaning to update my blog header photo for a long, long time! I decided that since the crane fly population seems to have reached a critical mass, I would put up a picture of one. These things are everywhere, all over the yard, and every time we open the door, a crane fly comes in. So now they're all over the house, too.
Happy crane fly season!

Friday, April 03, 2009

This year's spring break bugs.

We went to Joshua Tree again this week. I promised myself I would get some pictures posted tonight before I go to bed.

Good night!
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