I could go in depth right now about what pollination is and how it helps the world but I honestly will save that for another day. Maybe some cold miserable winter day when things are quiet outside and I have a few second to draw some stick figure drawings for illustrative purposes. Now, it’s the middle of summer and the woods and fields are buzzing with activity. (Pun intended). The last blog I posted some wildflower pictures and promised to get some images of pollinators. I faithfully went out at lunch the other day with that objective and failed.
Two things slowed me down, one was the lawn mowers that have taken out two of the flowers that I had posted about last, the Hawksweed and the Trefoil. The other thing that made getting any pictures was just a lack of activity where I was, I think I needed more sunshine. Finally, I was also in a bit of a hurry so I would approach a plant and zooooom, there went the insects.
Instead I got some pictures of other pollinators just to illustrate the diversity of insects that are attracted to flowers (wild and otherwise). The one I was really trying to get a picture of was of the wasps that sit on the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers. They are what I would call an accidental pollinator. The wasp is really visiting the flower to find a caterpillar or other insect for a snack or to lay eggs in and will accidentally pick up pollen from one flower and bring it to the next.
What you can see from the pictures is that a lot of different insects visit flowers. Some very large and showy butterflies will come to flowers to nectar. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is feeding at a small patch of Knapweed that the lawn mower missed. There is a green bottle fly (Callophoridae) visiting another small purple flower that I haven’t identified yet. This family of fly is the same that visit corpses and lay their eggs on them for the larvae to feed on as the bodies decompose. The bee is a Carpenter Bee, Xylocopinae, who tunnels into wood to lay their eggs. The last image (below) is of a Sphinx moth specifically a hummingbird clearwing moth. This moth is unlike most other moths being diurnal (active during the day) and nectars on flowers in a similar manner to hummingbirds.