Humans tend to see human qualities everywhere: in images, behavior, even the night sky. Anthropomorphization is one of those things that defines humanity.
We keep a patch of giant goldenrod growing at the front of the house to provide a way station for visiting monarch butterflies, but other insects make themselves at home there, including all manner of bees, wasps and wheelbugs. Wheelbugs, named for the cogged half wheel atop their armor, lay in wait in the yellow flowers, stalking their prey. The wheelbug in the top shot had caught a bumble bee and dragged it at least 5-6 feet before I stopped following it. The one in the second photo snagged a wasp.
The insects insert their beak into the prey, injecting a fluid that paralyzes and dissolves the victim’s insides, which accounts for why there seemed to be no fight left in either the bee or wasp.
Unrelated note — this is our 700th post!
Anyone who has a hummingbird feeder is familiar with the rigidly enforced pecking order of the birds who feed, or try to feed, there. This morning it was somewhat was amusing (OK, satisfying) to see the boss bird being chased and herded away from the sweet nectar by a red wasp and another tiny black flying insect.
On a sad note, there was a recent changing of the guard at our feeder following the death of Napoleon (We found a little hummingbird body back in July that we believe to be his.)
These tree tribbles are actually oak galls caused by a parasitic wasp. Galls can be fuzzy or hard-shelled, but they all shelter developing larvae. Unlike the ravenous and fast reproducing fuzzies in Star Trek’s “Trouble with Tribbles,” these fuzzles really don’t hurt anyone.
With morning temperatures in the 50s and some overcast, it was a great time to be out and about. Leaves are beginning to turn and summer’s flowers are enjoying one last hurrah.
They look cute with their big dark eyes and their wee tiny feet, but make no mistake, hummingbirds are ruthless when it comes to protecting “their” feeder. Normally, it’s Napoleon or some other dominant hummingbird who chases the others away, but this morning, a big red wasp had succeeded in turning the pecking order on its head. The wasp aggressively chased off every feathered rival, including Napoleon, at both feeding stations. The wasp met its match in the form of a flyswatter. It managed one comeback, but hasn’t been seen after a second strike.
It’s amazing how they can cling to an apparently smooth surface.
Amazing what you find once you download the photos. These were meant to be flower-only shots, but each came with additional decoration.
Napoleon, the ruby-throated hummingbird, rules the deck. Except for a lady hummingbird, the occasional wasp, and a dark-eyed junco who took his place on the shepherd’s crook from which the feeders hung*, no one can get close to the nectar.
*High winds in recent storms swung the feeders so violently, they slung nectar all over the deck, front windows, sidewalk and walls. The feeders are now sitting safely on the deck. It took the birds less than 10 minutes to figure out the new location was OK.