Sunday, July 29, 2012

A (seldom seen) Male Leafcutter Bee

Here's a very handsome little fellow! The rarely seen male Leafcutter Bee (genus Megachile). I hardly ever see males of this bee.
Watching him, near the Sweet Pea flowers in the backyard. He would make a short flight, always landing on the exact same spot on the fence; grooming himself. He paused for additional pics (after being released), before flying off...

...Minor enhancements applied.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cute Bee - Eucerini, Most likely Melissodes bimaculata

Eucerini, Most likely Melissodes bimaculata Found nectaring on Sweet Pea flowers. ID'd for me by…KL James Hung at

The bee was released unharmed right after the photo was taken.

Known As A Grass-Carrying Wasp

Isodontia elegans, a species of (Sphex) grass-carrying wasp. ID'd for me by… Hartmut Wisch, of

A very informative link on this species - Isodontia_elegans

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spider Hunting Wasp Makes A Surprise Appearance (June 2012)

I was lucky enough to actually have been visited twice, by the same Hunting Wasp. Below is one video I took. I apologize for the "shakiness". The video clip will be a temporary post, it's really just up here for a Buddy of mine to see. I'll be replacing it, in the near future; with some macro still photos of the wasp.
I haven't seen her around since those two visits. I'm still trying to positively ID it. Some kind of Pompilidae, of course!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

European Wool Carder Bee

I recently discovered that this Solitary Bee (the European Wool Carder Bee) likes to visit the Foxglove flowers. Really cool looking bee.
The pics below, are of a female. Whenever possible, I try to photograph interesting insects while they are going about their business. But, She was going about her pollen/nectar collecting very quickly. There was no way to get any picture, without capturing her (temporarily).
I offered her some refreshment, just before releasing her (as is "the custom" with some Entomologists) in this case, a drop of strawberry jelly. But, she wasn't interested (again, she was kind of "hyper").

The Foxglove is not the ordinary type. It has much thicker stems, and much larger leaves than typical Foxglove.

Yep, three pics...You can tell I like this one!

Leafcutter Bees

Just some pics of the Leafcutter Bees (genus Megachile) visiting the Sweet Pea flowers (in my backyard). It's fun to watch them squeezing their way into the flowers; to collect pollen and nectar.

Baby Katydid Pics - Part II - Growing Larger...

I just happened across another baby Katydid in the garden the other day. This time, on the Mondara flowers...
They are finally displaying some (minor) growth now - See pic below:

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Bee Wolves Are Out

Another recent visitor, to the backyard. They seem to like "hunting" on and around the Butterfly Bush's leaves. This is Philanthus gibbosus, common name: Beewolf. They prey on Halictidae commonly called Sweat Bees.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Of The First Social Wasps Of This Summer

I've got a bunch of new insect photos, from this late Spring/Summer. Unfortunately, I haven't got around to posting them up here until now. So, here are some of the first Yellow Jackets of 2012: Not a Yellow Jacket, as I originally thought; but a European Paper Wasp.
The simple fact, that most Folks would immediately think this was a Yellow Jacket - And it's not - Is rather fascinating to me. This interesting wasp, was ID'd for me, by an Expert (goes by the name HornetBoy).

Info from Wikipedia: "Polistes dominula, sometimes referred to as the European paper wasp, is one of the more common and well-known species of social wasps in Europe. It is considered an invasive species in Canada and the United States. Wikipedia

More pics, of other bugs to follow...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baby Katydids In The Backyard

I love Katydids to begin with. I've been running into them lately...
These little guys are starting to grow a little now; and their colors are changing. They look cute & interesting...
I guess that's why I let them continue eating my beloved Aster plant... I will have to "kick them off" (gently relocate them) soon, though.

Zoom in a bit, for a closer look!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

First Mourning Cloak Of The Season

Just saw the first Mourning Cloak butterfly of the year.
I'm pretty sure it is the first...Normally, I see one or two much earlier in the year than May...I'd have to check my nature journal/notes to be sure.
Anyway, it was cool to watch! It was across the street, fluttering about between the large Rose bushes and what look like Fennel plants. It did spend some time on the "Fennel" plant. But, I was not close enough to see if it may have been ovipositing or what.
And finally, it flew right to me - fluttered in front of me for a second, and headed for our backyard. Very cool.

First Fireflies Of 2012 : )

Well, I just came in from outside. And, I saw the first Firefly of this Summer, across the street; flying near a large Pine. There were probably more out, earlier in the evening; but I happened to be sleeping.
There are also increasing numbers of insects flying under the streetlamps these days...

If weather permits - I'll probably put my Bug Napper out early tomorrow night. We'll see what shows up...

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Rental Home With Well-Balanced Backyard Fauna

...Ahhh...For someone who is fond of insects (and other wildlife). It's so nice to have access to a (rental) home that has a well-balanced selection of backyard critters!
In some ways, I feel like I'm 10 years old again : )

Well, it is the private house rented by my Sister-in-law & Mother-in-law. Conveniently located around the corner from my house. And, so far I've been lucky enough to discover some great picture-taking opportunities.

The funny thing is: I don't even go looking for things - I just notice them, or stumble across them by accident.
I saw this common Jumping Spider, in the corner of my eye. It was just sitting on the concrete wall outside (blending in very nicely, I might add); enjoying the Midge he just caught - Good for him!

I'm afraid the pic isn't very good - And, let's not forget how well he's camouflaged! The coloration & markings on it's abdomen match the house wall perfectly.

I've seen lots of Jumping Spiders recently, in this month of May 2012.

Found The First Solitary Bee Of The Year

I came across the first Solitary Bee of this year. It was near a flower pot (that had only potting soil in it). On the back porch (at my Sister-in-law's house). Well, I went ahead with my usual routine: Capturing it (temporarily) for it's photo shoot : )

It is a Halictus, commonly called a "Sweat Bee"

When it comes to my latest obsession (Bees & Wasps) - I have already amassed a modest library. And this little guy is a fairly common species. Here are just a couple of macro shots I took, while releasing it.

Cute little thing!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Awesome Book On Bees & Wasps

Just an FYI - This is the next book that I'll be ordering, from NHBS (who happen to have the lowest price)

I'll also be ordering the supplement of Revised Flight Tables for this book:

Even though these books were written, and published in the UK (and I live in the US), they are still excellent reference materials. I believe that even the Flight Tables will be of use, to those of us living in the Northeastern US.

I've enjoyed my copy of 'A Lepidopterist's Handbook' by
for many years now. 
I've had my eye on The Hymenopterist's Handbook for quite a while, and I'm just glad that I've finally gotten around to ordering it! Both were published by The Amateur Entomologists' Society
In fact, many of my favorite books on insects, have been published by them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Commercial" Stuff - "Commercializing"

A short post, to cover the topic of "Commercial" Stuff - "Commercializing", etc.

Basically, I never intended to have any Ads at all on any of my blogs. But - An unexpected situation (and opportunity) has presented itself - Something rather unique.
Two of my favorite online shops: Alana Ecology and NHBS, have merged. And, NHBS now offers Bloggers and owners of Websites, the option of adding Links and Ads on their pages - Which allow Bloggers to receive (a small percentage) of any orders placed via their pages.

I've started to place small link buttons in my posts, if I happen to be mentioning a book or product that NHBS has available. So, if you are considering buying something that NHBS carries - Then I would appreciate it, if you would order the item by using the links on my pages. I use the "points earned" to discount my orders with them.

This will be the beginning (and the end) of my involvement with anything "Commercial" or advertising-related. The only reason that I have opted to include Ads on my blogs, is because I am honestly very fond of NHBS, and the unique products that they offer. I believe that they are a very valuable online resource.

Well, I do hope that I've explained it all clearly enough!

(Both naturalist supply houses are now accessible from one Link. In other words, the Alana Ecology site no longer exists; since it's merge with NHBS).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Identifying Orthopetra (various singing insects)

In addition to detecting bats: I occasionally do enjoy detecting, and attempting to identify Orthopetra (various singing insects). I'm going to try to keep this post as brief as possible. I simply want to share the results of tests I've done; using a few different bat detectors, etc.
For those who are also interested in singing insects, there are two books that I can highly recommend:
The first is 'Guide To Night-Singing Insects Of The Northeast' by John Himmelman.
The second, is called 'The Songs Of Insects' by Lang Elliot and Wil Hershberger. They both cover the Orthoptera of the Northeastern United States.
In the US, they may be found just about anywhere books are sold.

For Readers in the UK & Europe who are interested, they may be purchased from NHBS, by clicking on the links below:

Happy bat (and bug) detecting!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Alert: Butterfly Explosion In Progress!

There is a Butterfly explosion going on right now in our neighborhood! (Bronx) and, probably in your backyard too! It's incredible! Not only Red Admirals, but Commas, Swallowtails, etc. - Take a peek in your backyards! My videos aren't that good, but here's my best one. Was using my Wife's old camera, so quality is crappy. My camera's battery is dead. Well, check out the Red Admirals, all over the place! It's crazy : )

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Honey Bees From August 2011

Just a couple of Honey Bees - In the backyard...

August 2011

Awesome ID Chart: Cuckoo Bees

Awesome ID Charts: Cuckoo Bees

I've just noticed that NHBS offers quite a few ID charts for Hymenoptera, printed by Peregrine Productions . This is just one example:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Studying Insects up close x10

I plan to begin posting some more digital pics of (various) Hymenoptera, that were present in my backyard last summer - August 2011 to be exact.
It's now 2012, and Spring is here - So, the first Wasps & Bees of the season have already started to appear. Also, some Lepidoptera...And, in the "spirit" of entomology - I'd like to share the link below. It is a new, high-quality loupe that I've "got my eye on" 

I just learned that two of my favorite retailers have merged: Alana Ecology and NHBS. This is pretty neat!

Below, is the link to a new best-selling book on Bats

NHBS - Bats - John D Altringham

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NHBS - Bats - John D Altringham

Bats: From Evolution to Conservation

I just learned that two of my favorite retailers have merged: Alana Ecology and NHBS. This is pretty neat!
Below, is the link to a new best-selling book on Bats:

NHBS - Bats - John D Altringham

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Going to try and plant some "Lemon" Sunflowers this year... I was hoping these would look different from the "typical Sunflower". We'll see... In any case, Bees are supposed to love 'em.

Scientific Info On Sunflower

Monday, January 23, 2012