Insex In My Garden

Last year the mint was covered with this odd grey-faced fly. But I never saw them mate and this year I have not seen a single one of them.

Grey Faced Fly Nov 24 981

This year we have many, many smelly Shield Bugs. They seem more interested in coming into the house than in actually mating:

Shield Bugs_8362

But last year these two Cabbage White butterflies, and their friends, might have been responsible for the many Whites we see this year. (Mathematically there are 8 orientations for coupling but this one seems to be the most impersonal of all)

Mr n Mrs Cabbage White

This summer we had some steamy heat and the Red bugs had fun.

Pursuit:

2 Red Bugs_6843

Contact:

2 Red Contact_7172

The common yellow Wing Stem attracts others:

2 on Wingstem q 7817

And even the slugs down on the ground were coyly eyeing each other.

IMG_6847

For grace, the slender bright blue Dragonflies are the best. I’m unable to photograph them together in the air but fortunately they sometimes stop. I wonder which is which sex? I guess this might even be coupling position #9?

2 Blue Dragonflies_2474

I’ve no idea what is happening here but the common Milkweed which I grew for the Monarchs (who never arrived this year) seems to be responsible.

Milk Weed Bugs_4088

Last year there were many, many bugs like this (Box Elders?), and this year none.

I don’t have any names for this elegant pair is but I do hope they laid some eggs.

2 Yellow Stripes_6995

There were a few more than the usual number of Japanese Beetles this year, but when they found a seemingly innocuous native plant called New Jersey Tea they went crazy:

2 Japanese Beetles_7240

One on one was not enough:

Many Japanese Beetles_7244

By the time they were finished they’d eaten all the leaves of the plant too.

My all-time favorite is the very elegant small Leaf Hopper that I find only on the native Jewel Weed plant. Yesterday I saw these two having fun. I did not have time to properly focus before they hopped off together.

2 Leaf Hoppers_8393

And then there are the Walking Stick insects.  I saw these live ones were in a small display case in a park in Charlotte, NC.

Stick Insects_8328

But the strangest of all are my bee Drones. Both my bee hives have a normal population of about 10% male drones who live all summer long supposedly doing nothing but eating the nectar and pollen brought in by the female workers.  The Drones do fly to some unknown “Drone Congregation Place” where they supposedly wait for a new virgin queen to arrive from another hive. If the Drones ‘get lucky’, they die in the mating process.  Why my hives should support Drones for the benefit of another hive is beyond me, other than that it is good for the bee species as a whole.  Either way, as cold winter approaches, with no more surplus food, the females kick out the, to them, worthless drones from the hive.  Here are two photos I took this week of smaller females ejecting (by biting?) the larger Drones (note their large, stingless rounded tails. If you ever see one you can pick him up in your fingers with no risk of being stung). The Drones reluctantly accept the situation and leave without offering too much resistance.

2 on one Drone_8377

2 on 2 Drones_8386

 

The video link below shows two female worker bees ejecting male drones almost twice their size.  My vote of approval goes to Wanda who sticks to the drone, even after he gets into the hive entrance for a short moment. She wrestles him out and down the entrance ramp and eventually dumps him under the hive.

And so the various insect species survive the freezing winter, whether as egg or larva, in a compact hive or underground.  It would be good to be able to see and photograph the new generation of each emerging next spring.

4 thoughts on “Insex In My Garden

  1. Looks like the Monarchs didn’t show up at Point Pelee this year. That’s probably not a good sign.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/point-pelee-national-park-cancels-monarch-butterfly-count-1.1868126

    Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch says that “in the Midwest, we’re seeing a tremendous loss of habitat due to the type of agriculture that’s been adopted here, [like] Roundup-ready corn and soybeans, which has taken the milkweeds out of those row crops. We’re seeing overzealous management of roadside marshes, excessive use of herbicides here and there.”

    Monarch Watch and Journey North are trying to promote monarch habitat restoration by planting milkweeds, which is the main food source for monarch larvae.

    “This time of year, flowering plants are needed. I can’t emphasize that enough,” Rupert said.

  2. Only 8? I think your imagination may be a bit limited, Chris! There’s a book by Olivia Judson–“Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation”–which probably goes into all this at some length. I haven’t read it, but you probably should.

    Very nice work with the bug-finding and close focusing.

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