“We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.” – Richard Vaughan
This weekend it was difficult to be outside in the garden without breathing in winged insects or scratching at limbs tickled by the tiny feet of said winged insects. The place was humming, buzzing and vibrating with life. Smallest and most numerous (and annoying) were the thunderbugs and pollen beetles. (I can’t grow rocket without the telltale holes appearing in the leaves and this year I’ve discovered that they are as ruthless with Pak Choi and Mizuna.) The local paper says that these are the second generation this year and that we are stuck with them until the weather cools in the autumn.
Enjoying this airborne bounty were the large dragonflies. Somewhat unusually, this female Emperor dragonfly bothered to land briefly to eat a bee that it had caught. Emperor dragonflies are Britain’s bulkiest dragonflies and are vividly coloured. They have a bright, apple-green thorax and green or blue eyes.
Banded demoiselle are so beautiful and terribly hard to approach when stationary, as they are very skittish. Luckily this one seems to have taken to patrolling our pond, so I can watch from the pergola to pick my moment. They are easy to identify due to the large black spots on their wings.
The Southern Hawker is another large dragonfly (~7cm). They are known to be inquisitive and will deliberately fly close to check out nosey photographers! I thought that this chap was newly emerged because its hind wings weren’t fully inflated. However, the response from the Open University website (ISPOT) was that whilst the dragonfly is immature, the damage looks permanent and probably occurred as a result of emerging in thick vegetation.
The meadow patch at the back of the garden has been very successful in terms of drawing common grassland butterflies. I am in awe of the ease with which these relatively large winged butterflies slip through the maze of grass blades, hardly bothering to fly in the open space above at all. There have been lots of Meadow browns, Gatekeepers, Large Skippers and Ringlets:
With the opening of the flowers on the Buddleia our cheerful, colourful butterflies are out in force. So yesterday there were plenty of Small Tortoiseshells, some Peacocks, one or two Blues and the first Red Admiral I’ve seen this year (admittedly none photographed on the Buddleia):
Happily the ladybirds are now all grown up and beginning to eat the blackfly in large amounts. Here is a 7-Spotted and the (dreaded) Harlequin.
And finally, I love the name of this shiny, green bug:
Let me introduce you to the Fat or Swollen-thighed beetle. No judging, please!