a pollination dedication

it’s officially summer and pollination season has begun.  mr. grwhryrpltd has been out in the fields everyday for like a month now pollinating his research plants, leaving me to see what the professional insectivorious pollinators are working on in our garden.  seriously, it’s national pollinator week!  have you thanked your pollinators lately?  if you haven’t you should.  otherwise we wouldn’t have food in our bellies or flowers on the table.

Hypercompe scribonia (great leopard moth) at the DIG
Hypercompe scribonia (great leopard moth) at the DIG
Vanessa virginensis (american lady)

the critter shown below isn’t yet a pollinator, but will become a sphinx or hummingbird moth if it survives…

Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm)

and yes, it probably survived…  you see, i’m a horrible vegetable gardener because i can’t seem to get rid of the insect “pests” in time to prevent major damage to whatever it is i’m trying to grow.  another case in point:

Leptoglossus phyllopus (leaffooted bugS) on the fruit formerly known as tomato

these guys are so bad this year i’ve all but given up on the tomatoes.  and artichokes:

Leptoglossus phyllopus (leaffooted bugS) contemplating artichoke for dinner

which is why i advocate for a good farmers’ market…

here are some more pollinators:

Eumenes fraternus (potter wasp) throwing pots in the wire ball

i’m not actually sure if these gals are into pollination, but i do know that they are beneficial parasatoids.  and damn fine potters if i do say so myself.  female potter wasps throw a perfectly formed pot from mud found nearby, sculpting the sides using only her mandibles and front legs – i know because i watched this one at work.  it was incredible!  she’ll then hunt for caterpillars, paralyze them, and thread them into the opening of the vessel.  once the vessel is full, she’ll lay a single egg and seal the pot with a bit more clay.

Eumenes fraternus (potter wasp)
Eumenes fraternus (potter wasp)

i’m not certain as to the pollination status of this guy either:

Arphia sp. (grasshopper)

you know me and butterflies… my favorite pollinator of all:

P. polyxenes (black swallowtail) caterpillar going to town on Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' (bronze fennel)
P. polyxenes (black swallowtail) caterpillar selecting a spot to make its chrysalis
P. polyxenes (black swallowtail) chrysalis... hanging by a thread
nine days later... hatched!
hello beauty

interestingly enough, i don’t have any images of the most widely known pollinator of all, Apis mellifera (honey bees). i honestly don’t recall seeing (m)any around here… does anyone else think that’s odd? i’ve seen a Bombus (bumble bee) and Polistes carolina (red wasp) here and there, but no honey bees. perhaps they’re declining here as they are in other parts of north america due to colony collapse disorder (CCD) caused by the varroa mite.  competiton from africanized honey bees may also be to blame here in texas. i’m no expert on any of that, so will have to use national pollinator week to learn more. in the meantime, keep an eye out for pollinators in your neck of the woods. watch and document them. refrain from eliminating them from your yard and garden but if you have to, use integrated pest management (IPM). provide them the food and shelter they need to continue bzz bZZZ bzz bZZZing along… they depend on us just as much as we depend on them.


10 thoughts on “a pollination dedication

    • thanks michal! i recently upgraded to a canon G11. it’s not a full on dSLR, but it’s compact and does what i need it to do… so far!

  1. Mum has been taking photos of the butterflies too: painted ladies, swallowtails and I just saw a beautiful orange spotted one (that was not a monarch) that I couldn’t ID.

  2. You have quite the eye for the insects, lady! And you got some great ones there. I don’t think I could bear to kill that big worm, either, knowing it would become such a cool moth. Also because it would be a really gross squish. My mom used to feed the tomato worms to our tortoises. Tortoise delicacies!

  3. Andrea- I found your blog! You are so talented, my goodness. You seem to be a botanist, entomologist, seamstress (love that bag you created), photographer…the list goes on and on. I am so excited to look over previous posts and keep up with this! Thanks for sharing and thanks for letting me take a peek at your garden!

    • hey emily! i’m SO happy to find another talented lady in the neighborhood… just a few doors down! looking forward to talking plants, photography and more with you…!

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