Monday, October 22, 2018
Insects September 2018
This season was a brilliant one for the ivy bee, Colletes hederae and I think it is now the most abundant bee in our garden. Strange for a relatively new arrival in this country with a rather specialised habitat - it visits almost entirely ivy flowers.
Plants of the great mullein often pop up in the garden. This year one has been heavily colonised by the larvae of the leaf mining fly (Agromyzidae) Amauromyza verbasci. The mines show as pale patches.
As usual a dark bush cricket, Pholidoptera griseoaptera, decided it would be better to live indoors now the colder weather was arriving. These crickets wander about in the garden and sometimes one or two come indoors where they prowl around the siting room for a few weeks before disappearing into the silent warmth of death. That in the picture below is our female visitor with her sword-like ovipositor at the rea
Other insects enjoying the last warmth of the year included several dragonfly species, such as the one below. It is a common darter, Sympetrum striolatum, very well camouflaged as it perches on dead bracken fronds, using them both as a lookout post and a basking opportunity in the late sun.
There have been late butterflies too. Mostly red admirals on the Michaelmas daisies but also the occasional speckled wood and, in a neighbour's garden a small copper on a stunted knapweed. Whether by mowing or grazing, the flowering of knapweeds and other plants can be extended over a longer season than if they are in a meadow cut for hay.