Posts Tagged 'insects'


Paper can be strong stuff, but it’s all relative. The exterior coating of wood-pulp paper made by Dolichovespula maculata hornets, who scrape dead trees (or fence posts!) with their mighty jaws, has been stripped off by the weather. Horizontal layers of comb are revealed within. And still-capped larvae probably all killed by the freeze.

The Bald-faced Hornet does not over-winter in the nest and won’t re-use it again next year. Instead, the sole survivor of the colony, a fertilized queen, takes her genetic treasures into hiding, under bark, in attics, holes in trees, etc., to await the spring.

With the fall of the leaves, these large nests clumping in trees mark the presence of creatures that were around us all summer long. Yet  I, for one, don’t often see the actual wasps themselves.

Yesterday, there were half a dozen mantids in the asters on Pier 6. It was short-sleeve weather, but Honeybees were the only obvious prey. There were, however, a pair of Monarch wings tucked away in the folds of the flower stems, suggesting someone snagged a butterfly. (Sighted about ten living Monarchs yesterday fluttering and gliding in what increasingly seems like a Sisyphean task.)

Last night a cold front plowed through, dropping down 25 degrees from yesterday’s high. I wonder what the mantids did? The Monarchs?

I submitted this image to iNaturalist, which has an automatic ID function. For this very picture, the machine gave me one option: American asters. Um, ok, but…

By the time the robots are as good as us, there won’t be any more bugs.

Small Kites on the Loose

Surely the last butterflies of the year, these pics from last week? No, I saw two Monarchs heading south yesterday. This is so weird, the weird that is the new normal in the global disruptions of radical climate change. All the Monarchs we’ve seen so late into this fall? Probably not a good thing: they should be in Mexico by now; they’re trapped up here by the weather.

Pitza Bee

Last Saturday was ridiculously warm. We spotted a dragonfly flying over the Halloweeened dogs and children of Fort Green, and when we ate outdoors, a honeybee kept visiting. The weather was fine, but there’s damn little nectar and pollen to be had this late in the year.The pickle on Cathy’s plate was also calling to this bee.

N.B.: a “pitza” is made with pita bread.

Et in Arcadia Ego

Still sparrow, moving fly.A White-throated Sparrow, no doubt recently arrived from the north.

In NYC, dead birds can be reported to NYC Audubon. This database is intended to track window- and building-strikes. This bird was found in the middle of McGolrick Park, but I noted it anyway.

It’s All Hallows, the Day of the Dead, a reminder that the old enemy, death, is a part of life.

Check out Dark and Stormy Night: The Gothic in Contemporary Art at Lehman College’s Art Gallery. Our friend Zane York is part of the mix.

Memento Mori

Found in the shadowy gully between window and screen of someone else’s fourteenth story apartment, a veritable mausoleum of desiccated Diptera and at least one Hymenoptera.

I’m just finishing up my costume for tonight: I’m going as a landfill full of Halloween garbage.

Just Wow

Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia.


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