Backyard Entomology

Posted by mrssmythe on August 21, 2018 in Critters, Garden |

It’s been a good week for spotting insects. With so much in bloom, the yard is alive with flying and crawling things. I’m often at a loss to name the insects I see, but I have a Peterson First Guide to Butterflies and Moths and, with that in hand, I’m trying to become more familiar with my guests…

guests like this Cabbage Butterfly – very common, but elegant, don’t you think?

Or this Red-Spotted Purple – a bit ragged, but still lovely. (I rarely see these, so spotting this one was a treat.)

And I won’t even try to identify this butterfly – there are too many tawny-colored butterflies in my guide to even start. But, I do think it’s a jaunty little thing.

This moth is another unidentified visitor. I spotted it one morning while sitting on the front porch. I couldn’t find anything like it in my guide, and CPT A  didn’t have any more luck than I did looking through internet sources. Please enlighten us if you know its name.

You’re likely already familiar with Tiger Swallowtails. This one looks to be a western version, though, which seems strange to me. We’re supposed to get the eastern sort.

And, we have quite a few Monarchs this year. Even more exciting are all of the Monarch caterpillars I’ve seen in the yard.

They cluster in the Milkweed. You can see there are actually two of them on the blossom below – one on either side of the stem (look for the tell-tale stripes).

The Milkweed, unfortunately, is riddled with aphids. Thankfully, the ladybugs have moved in.

One website I visited said that ladybugs can eat up to 50 aphids a day. That sounds wonderful. I wish them happy feasting.

And, one final garden visitor – this Katydid:

Isn’t he dapper? It was so obliging of him to hold still for a photo.

From the dining room table, hoping you’re finding similar things to amuse yourself in your own backyard,

Mrs. Smythe

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