H is for Honeybee

Protecting bees, both colonies and solitary bees, is very much in the news these days. If you can’t host a honeybee hive, perhaps you can put up a bee house for naive bees?

Or help all bees within a 2  mile radius of you by planting nectar and pollen flowers. Don’t know how to start? We found this great article on rethinking your lawn and garden to become a bee oasis from the Honeybee Conservancy Website.

And for our Motionless Monday post, bees are making it big in the wildlife statue realm…


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We spotted this bedraggled creature near a storm drain.

Any idea what it is?

I’ll check back later for your guesses!


No guesses today? This is a little tough. We gave you just a hint with the corner of an eyespot showing… Not so limp from the rain, and…

…here are the wings spread.

And…it’s a Polyphemus moth, which, because of those eyespots, was named for a Greek giant with one eye in the center of his forehead–a cyclops. It’s one of the largest silk moths with a wingspread of 4 to 6 inches, and found almost all over North America, from Canada down into Mexico.

It skips Arizona and Nevada, which we squirrels first thought was because it’s dry,or maybe because its caterpillar food plants don’t live there.

But they feed on many tree species–maples, oaks, birch, hickory, willow and many fruit trees like pear and plum, so that can’t be the reason and the human scientists don’t really say. It is because it’s dry? If any of our readers know, give us a shout!

Thirsty Thursday

Folks, it’s been dry this fall. But this old squirrel, with his comfortable suburban life knowing which houses have a birdbath or backyard pond the humans keep filled, had no idea the local natural waterways were faring this poorly.

Yikes, that is low for our local pond.

We haven’t had a freeze–ha, far from it!–so the place was still abuzz with insects, like this male Autumn Meadowhawk.

Despite finding the pond in less than its best state, I’m happy I took the outing while our weather is balmy.

Leaf hider

While Hickory and I were looking at the Devil’s Walkingstick last week, we found this fellow hanging out on a nearby sumac.

We were so surprised we circled around the tree. The praying mantis followed us, waving its spiky arms!

Even going under the leaf to get a better view of us with its pin-point little eyes.

“We aren’t prey!” Hickory chittered.

Uh, for a praying mantis at least.

Competition for the flowers

Hickory and I were doing some butterfly watching on a lazy afternoon this week.

We noticed these insects take every opportunity they can to feed, and we assume this Pearl Crescent butterfly was happy to find one Butterfly Weed in bloom when the rest are just buds. But then we noticed another insect coming in on the left.

See him, the green fellow?

That’s a Cuckoo Wasp–a wasp for the love of acorns! We backed away. But did the Pearl Crescent leave?


Hickory flicked his tail from a safe distance. “Guess that milkweed nectar is better than most.”

On a leaf

The Common Milkweed plants are mature, and the Monarchs are finding them. But have you noticed that these native wildflowers attract tons of bugs? A few years ago we showed many of them, and here are three from our recent visit.

A Carolina Mantis on milkweed leaf–an immature one, his wings are just forming.

Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Pearl Crescent

And here’s that Milkweed Community post in case you’d like to see more!

Cabbage Whites

Those little white butterflies that we see flying about don’t attract too much attention. Until they do this…

Pretty cool, huh? They are gathered on this spot of wet mud–not too hard to find around here these days!–because they are sipping fluids, but also minerals, salts and other nutrients from the soil. It’s called mud-puddling.

By the way, these are cabbage white butterflies. They aren’t moths as some humans mistakenly believe.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Any idea why this looks like a centipede fossil in this piece of not-fossilized wood?

I’ll be back later to check your guesses!


The simple answer is bugs.

The long answer is that the long bumpy center–or body of the centipede–is where a beetle laid eggs back when this branch was alive and had bark. Each of the eggs hatched into a larvae, and each little bug began chewing its way into the softer cambium layer under the wood, and we suppose a little into the wood, making the ‘legs’ of the centipede.

Did you notice that those legs grow larger as the bug chewed along? It was growing bigger! Eventually they matured enough that the larvae chewed a hole to the outside of the bark, metamorphosed into a beetle and left!

So this is like a natural apartment house!