Bugfest 2010

Some big dark bugs have been hanging around our garden lately. They furtively hover across the tops of plants, legs dangling underneath, but never landing... until one got into our house. I trapped it in a jar. While it was plinking around in there I got a good enough look to identify it as a great black wasp.
DID YOU KNOW? The great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) digs a multi-chambered burrow for its nest. Into each chamber it lays one egg, and deposits a large insect such as a cicada or katydid, which serves as food for the hatched young. HARD CORE.
We had a friendly visitor too. One night just before bedtime we found the walking stick pictured above. Natalie spotted it on the outside of our bedroom's French doors. She was pointing, but I looked right through it at first, assuming she was talking about something in the yard. We watched for a while but it never moved. I've never seen one before so that was a lot of fun.

Just yesterday I spotted a tiny, fluffy bug. At first I thought it was a bit of down or a seed pod floating down, then I thought it was a bug that got some of that stuff stuck on it. Looks like it was actually a wooly aphid (check that photo, it's really weird-looking). On a hike we saw a butterfly weed swarming with bees, hornets, and (I think) milkweed bugs. And there was an empty cicada shell still clinging to the wall of my unfinished chicken coop. I love living in the country!

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