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 BugGuide.net. 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.
We think it's a fly (Diptera) and not a wasp. Another view below.
of something common? My best guess is one of the darners. Thoughts?
UPDATED: Identified as Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis.
Coming up, beetles and whatnots.