Monday, June 8, 2009

March 1, 2159 or Pollinators Not

This morning the clock in the train station claimed it was March 1, 2159. Well maybe it meant that is the earliest we can expect warm weather. In any case, it gives me an excuse to follow up the post on pollinators with one on pollinators not, and display a few more Bug Garden visitors.

Not every arthropod ones finds in a flower is searching for nectar or pollen. Lots of them are there for another kind of feed. That can be interesting, especially if you like predatory insects like the Damsel Bug above, or spiders:

Or it can be disconcerting if you are hoping for fruit or seeds. But the toll that predators take on pollinators is unlikely to be of much importance in yield. Much more insidious are those that have nothing but bad intentions.

I remember how pleasantly surprised I was, that first Bug Garden Spring, at the extraordinary diversity of of sawflies that were visiting flowers. Except for diprionids long ago when I was a forest entomologist, I can't say that I ever had much experience with that branch of the Hymenoptera and I was entranced. Well, now I know better and I've come to an accommodation with most. A few leaves here and there are a small price to pay. The ones that defoliate the currant, columbine, and creeping jenny, though, get a population reduction treatment. They are messy buggers to squish between the fingers, but that's life.

And there are a few of these non-pollinating flower-visitors that are just too attractive not to like, like the tephritid fly below. We have planted lots of goldenrod for the late-summer colour and pollinators, but we don't mind hosting a few gall flies too.


  1. I am finding your blog so interesting! I know very little about garden bugs other than lady bug good, everyone else bad or at least of dubious character :)

    If I can absorb some new knowledge by osmosis here I will be thrilled.

  2. Hi Folks

    Great to see your blog and the wonderful photos. You'll be interested to know that it's going to be a "warm" night in Brissy--5C. I don't envy those Alberta winters but would like to be among the ice hockey crowd again.

    All the best.

    Dave R.