Friday, July 31, 2009

Japanese Beetles and Silver Linings

Whenever our daughter is within earshot we really watch our Ps and Qs. So when we discovered Japanese Beetles covering every surface of every plant in our yard I refrained from doing what I wanted to do, which was to let loose a string of profanity not heard since Al Pacino ripped it up in Scarface while taking a flame thrower to the yard.

Rather than curse our darkness of the infestationpalooza I lit a candle of discovery. The part of my brain that creates "teachable moments" (a term I don't want to hear again after this past week's "beer summit" thing) came up with a game of collecting as many Japanese Beetles as we could, and watching for other, less prolific, organisms. We'd rid ourselves of at least one wave of invaders while learning about ecology - you can see the first showcase, the butterfly and moth edition, here.

While patrolling the yard we discussed how everything has its place in the grand scheme of nature, why these insects were "bad" while others were "good," and how arbitrary it is when assigning those categories. Along with the JBs we found several insects and spent some time watching them, trying to figure out what they were doing and why.

Unfortunately, many went unidentified in spite of my attempts to navigate through I used my old point-n-shoot's macro setting to snap some up-close, and in some cases personal, shots. Here is a sampling of insects from our yard, of the bee, wasp, fly, and/or dragonfly variety. If you can identify any, or know a good resource to assist, please let us know!

Click on images for larger versions.

Maybe a worker Honeybee, Apis mellifera?

Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens?

No idea, but these are common in our garden, you can see why.
We think it's a fly (Diptera) and not a wasp. Another view below.

I'm frustrated I haven't figured this one out, maybe the female
of something common? My best guess is one of the darners. Thoughts?
UPDATED: Identified as Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis.

Coming up, beetles and whatnots.



Nate said...

When in doubt, I always call dragonflies Darners. But I don't know a whole lot about dragonflies so...

noflickster said...

Nate - ditto to your latter statement. As to the former, when it doubt (which is "usually") I always call them "odes." I tend to get fewer, "Really, Sherlock? Really?" type responses when sounding vaguely scientific.

Thankfully I have colleagues who set me straight, the "ode"in question is a Blue Dasher - new to me, and therefore to our yard.

dAwN said...

Hee hee..great that you held your tongue and took another approach!
Nice photos..LOL on the prolific fly type bug..
cant help out with IDs..still learning myself.

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