Who can resist a young praying mantis?

insect praying mantis

I love watching praying mantises grow from tiny replicas of their parents to the biggest insect I see by season’s end. It’s hard to imagine how they start out about the width of my little fingernail. Depending on the size of your screen, the photo may be enlarged. This insect is actually about 1.25 inches long.  They seem to be very patient hunters. I wonder what they think as they wait.

Eastern eyed click beetle

insect eastern eyed click beetle

Huge eastern eyed click beetles have arrived! Eye pattern on thorax is very impressive. As scary as they look, they are harmless. Check out their cool antennae! Next time I see one I’ll pick it up and listen for the click sound! I often pick up small click beetles that get into the kitchen because it is amazing to hear their click sound in my hand as I carry them outdoors.

“Saddlebags” of milkweed pollen! Busy bee!

insect bee and milkweed

It was exciting for me and the busy bee to find some milkweed blossoms the deer haven’t eaten yet! The milkweed pollen our bee is collecting looks like butter! I wonder what it tastes like. We ate young green milkweed pods once over 40 years ago. As I recall, you need to boil them twice, changing the water. Warning: Please Google before you try them. They tasted like string beans.

Why is this called the pink-striped oakworm moth?! Oh. Duh.

Insect Moth pink striped oak

Don’t you think “Sunset Moth” would be more appropriate than “Pink-striped Oakworm Moth”? Maybe not. Now that I look at it again there is a prominent pink stripe. It was on my kitchen screen door this morning offering a photo opportunity. It is a species of silk moth of the family Saturniidae and is considered a pest of forests because it defoliates trees. Primarily a pest of the urban forest, it is fairly common but not often abundant. Maybe that’s why I don’t recall seeing it before today. Adults do not feed. Males and females both have the white spot on wings. When I Googled it, I discovered lots of people take pictures of this colorful moth. One article said they don’t have antennae but I found a photo with lovely feather-like orange antennae.


Wasp Sandwich!

A pile of Polistes wasps. Left photo is top view. See all 3 heads lined up like beads. Right photo is side view. That’s where you can see more clearly what is really happening. Crazy! Bottom wasp is smaller female. The pile moved around, climbing and flying. All the climbing and flying was done by the female with the males remaining on top of her. When I Googled it, someone said they’d seen a pile of 4 wasps. These photos are dedicated to my friend Tom Cullen to wish him a happy birthday!

Mayflies in June!

Insect mayfly good

Yesterday this lovely mayfly selected our kitchen door for a special event…

insect mayfly molted

A perfect molting location! This morning the mayfly was gone! Just like a soft shell crab, it had left it’s outgrown shell behind!  …unless some locals from around Lake Victoria found it before it flew away and made  it part of a favorite protein-rich patty called ‘Kungu’… I love soft shell crabs so maybe…?