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.

Face Off

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.


pissed off patricia said...

Picking those things off a white fuzzy dog is no fun either. But the flowers do draw all kinds of cool bugs.

Thunder Dave said...

Nice pictures!

Sharon said...

True, bug photo ops are graciously plentiful around here.

Alan said...

This late in the year there's not a lot else blossoming so the Spanish Needles are always heavily worked.


Cathy said...

Oh! That was excellent. You make it look so effortless. I've been trying insect photography lately. It's not. (Effortlessly easy)
I believe that Green Lynx is one of Bug Man's, of What's That Bug web site's - favorites.

Deb said...

I never got into bugs either, although I knew some entomology nerds from my 4-H club. The more gray matter, the better!

Floridacracker said...

and where ever you sit to pick, you plant 'em.
There have been times when I considered just planting my Spanish Needle laden pants.


Encourage their predators :)

Welcome back! True.

Not shown: sweat, briar scratches, mosquito bites.

The are neat biorobots. To each his/her own. Me, I'll take fish.

Joni said...

Great pictures. Insects may not have the grey matter but they are still very interesting and important.

Ava said...

Great posts and great pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

kathy a. said...

they are great photos!

but, betty grable flies? you are planting a pernicious ear-bug in those of us of a certain age. [some songs are best not remembered. that is all.]

Sharon said...

Predators? Ya mean, like spiders? ;)

Hurricane Teen said...

This post reminds me I needed to ask you a question. Have you ever been in the woods and had big flies buzz back and forth around you in unpredictable increments, to the point that it starts to drive you halfway insane? I'm not talking about multiple flies, either...I'm talking about the same fly the follows you around, buzzing back and forth in front of (or behind) you. I've had them do this to me many times before, but I recently had one follow me for I swear over a mile on Sixmile Creek this past weekend...It drove me crazy. What in the world ARE those things??? Nice, spider, by the way. I still hate them, though!

Floridacracker said...

No argument there. Probably the most important group.

Glad you liked it!

Kathy A,
I was thinking of the real Betty Grable with her million dollar legs.
Are you thinking of Betty DAVIS Eyes?

Actually I was thinking of harmless snakes :)

Yes, but I don't know his name either.
A bit maddening tho.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

"How can wings this puny lift a body that is so fat"? Ans: He has had breakfast, and is waiting to get rid of it.

kathy a. said...

oh, heck. even my memory of pernicious pop songs has gone all to dust. LOL but that's probably a good thing.

Floridacracker said...

I see, so it's jet propulsion then ...

Kathy A,
That's okay, I always liked that pop song.

Sharon said...

Yes, I was fairly certain that's where you were headed with that... ;o)