Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Want Bugs? Bidens.
"Betty Grable Fly"
Friday evening I took the slow way home through Devil's Hammock Wildlife Management Area. It was hot, even at 5:30 pm. Hot and steamy. I didn't expect to see anything moving in the oppressive, syrupy heat, but I was eager to get out with my camera after a week of other obligations.
It was so hot and late, with a thunderstorm threatening, that I decided to turn the JEEP around after only a few miles and go home. When I did, I noticed a patch of Spanish Needles (Bidens pilosa) growing alongside the dirt road. Their white blossoms were fairly humming with insect activity, so I slipped out of the JEEP and waded in to the tall weeds.
Where there's Bidens, there's bugs.
Disclaimer: The insect clan with their rote, instinctive behaviors are not my favorite branch of the animal kingdom, so don't ask me to identify these critters. Some of their hijinks are interesting and certainly their infinitely variable architecture is fascinating, but I really prefer animals with more grey matter. Insects are easy to photograph however as there's always some around here in the subtropics.
If YOU love bugs, and Bidens grows where you live, you should plant some. If you plant it, they will come.
If you plant it, you will also find out WHY it's called Spanish Needles. The seeds (which I failed to photograph) are slender black devices with tiny points on one end to help disperse them in fur and clothing. Nothing painfull like sandspurs, just a hassle to pick from your clothes.
How can wings that puny lift a bee this fat?
This bee looks like a cartoon dragon with huge body and tiny wings. Come to think of it, I never did see it fly.
I didn't hang around to see how this turned out as that thunderstorm was moving in pretty quick.
Green Lynx Lunching
It's not all peaceful pollen picking and nectar sipping in the Bidens patch of course. You have to be careful or you are the one who gets sipped.