Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Friday, 27 June 2014

NATIONAL INSECT WEEK

It's National Insect Week (23rd - 29th June 2014) - which is why all insects have gone away. On holiday, I suppose. Celebrating their smallness, their essentialness, their general interestingness. It's annoying though because I'd hoped to write you an interesting post - show some brilliant pictures - that kind of thing.

It was certainly sunny enough when I went looking. And when I went looking again. And a third time. Maybe they didn't like the cheerful breeze. Or, maybe, as I said, they'd gone on holiday. Having a special week having gone to their heads.

But I did find some.

There were masses of Swollen Thighed Beetles on white flowers. A bit small, I thought. Or maybe I remembered them wrong. Beauty expands in memory.

Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera (Oedemera) nobilis) June 25th 2014 on convolvulus flower
Swollen-thighed Beetle
(Oedemera (Oedemera) nobilis)
June 25th 2014

It's hard to catch their colours. Sometimes they seem blue; a bright, iridescent blue. And at others -they look green.

Broad Centurion Fly (Chloromyia formosa) June 25th 2014 on leaf
Broad Centurion Fly
(Chloromyia formosa)
June 25th 2014

The Broad Centurion Fly really is green. Or, rather, it has a green body. Its wings are brown.

Ants farming a great, squashed-together group of black aphids June 25th 2014
Aphids and ants
June 25th 2014

Ants farming these blackfly on a broken elderberry twig are brown too. These I found specially interesting for I associate aphids with gardens, not with hedgerows. Hedgerows usually seem to hold themselves in a better, healthy balance. I'd hazard a guess this balance is disturbed when bushes and trees are trimmed back. It's only a guess though. I hope you can bear to look.

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) June 25th 2014 on convolvulus leaf
Large Skipper
(Ochlodes sylvanus)
June 25th 2014

This Large Skipper is another matter. A beautiful orange and a pick-me-up for those of you who need to recover after being confronted with aphids! The puzzle here is why it's called a 'Large' Skipper for it's only about half an inch across.

Riband Wave Moth (Idaea aversata) June 25th 2014 caught in spider's thread
Riband Wave Moth
(Idaea aversata)
June 25th 2014

This Riband Wave Moth may have been just as beautiful when it was alive - but it's been caught in a spider's thread. (I wish spiders counted as insects because I found some interesting ones. Another time.)

There were bumble bees bent on being busy behind bramble twigs and leaves. I lurked for them a bit; then gave up. I'd already been chasing Ringlet butterflies up and down and was beginning to feel a little self-conscious. There may have been few insects but there were masses of walkers - mostly older women. Maybe National Insect Week coincides with a festival for feminine fitness for the post-sixty-fives. Some were walking in regimented hoards. No time to stop. Others were more on an amble - and a chat. It's hard to chase a butterfly and be polite.

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) June 25th 2014 on bramble flower - with blackberry forming
Honey Bee
(Apis mellifera)
June 25th 2014

This honey bee was a bit easier to snap. It kept moving from blackberry flower to blackberry flower and not staying still even then but at least it stayed on the same bush long enough to show it was there. Imagine being able to fly on such thin wings!

Little black insect on bindweed flower
I don't know what this is.
There are masses of them in the convolvulus flowers.
Maybe there are more elsewhere - but they show up well against the white.
They are 3mm long at the most.
June 25th 2014

And there are always these little insects on bindweed. What are they? I don't know. Just little black insects who like to live in convolvulus trumpets. Cheerful creatures. (I think.)

The slogan for National Insect Week is 'Little Things that Run the World'. Maybe this little black dot is supreme ruler of us all. I nodded respectfully. Took its portrait - and moved on.

Have you spotted any insects recently?

* * *
I've found a new site that may be of interest to readers in the British Isles (and fun to browse for others). As well as other information about butterflies and great help in identifying them, it has charts of which to look for each month. Here's a link to butterflies which fly in July.

* * *
Here's the link to a previous National Insect Week post on Loose and Leafy. 'Followed Trees and Incidental Insects' (July 3rd 2012). There you can find a
Swollen-thighed Beetle -(Oedemera (Oedemera) nobilis)
Honey Bee - (Apis mellifera)
Garden Bumble Bee - (Bombus Hortorum)
Common Carder Bee - (Bombus (Thoracombus) pascuorum
Shield Bugs Mating - Palomina prasina
Darkling Beetle (Lagria hirta - I think)

* * *
With thanks, as ever, to iSpot for help with IDs.

14 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

A lovely, cheerful post Lucy. I didn't know it was Insect Week. We have lots of these small folk here at present. I've been flutter surveying and they all seem to be doing well (especially Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns- 300 MWs at a local site last week!). Large Skippers are a conundrum- too tiny to justify the 'large' tag really! :-)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Countryside Tales. I haven't seen either of these here. The largest group locally is Ringlets at present but hardly any butterflies are willing to stay still. Later on in the year there will be masses of Red Admirals . . . and I like to see Commas too. A little bit back I came across masses of large, yellow butterflies on the edge of woodland - and despite chasing them up and down (my reputation must be of someone very odd round here - when I'm not chasing butterflies I'm looking for plants in kerbs and drains!) - I was never able to photo one and don't know what they were.

National Insect Week lasts till the 29th so there's still time to write a post if you wish to too. If you do - let me know and I'll add a link to it at the end of this post.)

Duxbury Ramblers said...

I had a good chuckle when I read your blog today, it brought back many memories of me being self conscious at a young age with my old film camera, now at post 65 I am still lurking and chasing probably think I've escaped from the old folks home nearby - only joking as most people know me and expect me to be on my knees taking photos of flowers or chasing the odd insect, Love the blog

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hi, Duxbury Ramblers. Sometimes people rush up if I'm crouching down, assuming I'm unwell and need assistance. (Which is reassuring in a way because it shows there will always be help at hand if I were really to be ill.) On the other hand, I've had some hostility when looking down drains in the street. If people think I've dropped something down there, they offer to help retrieve it - but when I explain I'm looking at the plants, they get cross. All I can think is that there's a popular person in the neighbourhood who's meant to be cleaning the drains but who isn't doing anything about it and his/her friends are thinking I'll report them for their lack of effort.

ADRIAN said...

Superb shots and the IDs are impressive.
The tiny black beetles are probably the ones that are attracted to yellow. Oil Seed Rape they swarm on but they also seem to like my yellow cagoule. I've forgotten what they are called unfortunately.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Adrian. It's extraordinary how well little flies like yellow. They are a right pain when I hang yellow sheets out to dry.

ADRIAN said...

Lucy I looked them up I'm almost sure this is what the wee black beetle is.
Cabbage stem flea beetle
Psylliodes chrysocephala
Adult beetles, 3–4.5 mm long, blue-black.
Some are dark brown.
Have fun it beats looking down into sewers.

Mark Willis said...

Insect of the week for Insect Week is the Harlequin Ladybird larva, of which I have seen a few in my garden.

Countryside Tales said...

Re Yellow Flutters- male Brimstones or Clouded Yellows. I can't think of any other yellow UK flutters. Unless someone had released something?

amanda peters said...

Great post and intresting to read, it can take some time getting things ID, but like you iSpot has become my new best friend, they are very good on there and quick. My insects this week have been moths in the garden. The weather has turned a little bad this week, if it picks up I hope to do a urban post.
Amanda xx

flightplot said...

A most enjoyable, and interesting, post. I always look out for insects on the plot then hopefully try to identify them when I get home. I see plenty of Swollen-thighed beetles, which always catch my eye with their iridescent colour.
Thanks also for the links. Flighty xx

Damo said...

Great post I must admit I've enjoyed watching the ladybirds get stuck into the black fly on my broad beans and the bees have been all over the mallow flowers in the garden. It's good to see so many of them working hard in the garden.

Hollis said...

Well! That explains it -- that wonderful leafcutter bee finally showed up in my yard again because it's NATIONAL INSECT WEEK! thanks, Lucy :-)
http://plantsandrocks.blogspot.com/2014/06/welcome-to-my-yard-leafcutter-bee.html

Donna said...

Lucy maybe that is why they have been absent here too...it was pollinator's week here too.