Reports from the Field

Bug o’the Week – Two Odd Little Flies

Greetings, BugFans,

The BugLady loves finding species she’s never spotted before – there are many thousands of insects she has yet to photograph, but that’s a matter of “right time; wrong habitat; more road trips.” This year’s new bugs were mostly wasps, flies, and katydids – stay tuned. And, as vintage BugFans know, the combination of the BugLady’s hyperopia (farsightedness) and her camera lenses (first a 50mm macro lens, then a 70, and now a 100mm) lure her into the world of little stuff.

They are in different families, but (besides size), what today’s two flies have in common is a very limited on-line presence.

11.22.23

Bug o’the Week – Lined Orbweaver Spider

Howdy, BugFans,

When the BugLady spotted this small spider on its horizontal web (while she was officially censusing butterflies and dragonflies), she thought it might be one of the sheet-web spiders. Fortunately, she has a Spider Guy, and he set her straight (thanks as always, BugFan Mike).

Turns out that it’s a small orbweaver called the Lined orbweaver (much has been written in BOTW about some of the larger species in the orbweaver family Araneidae).

11.15.23

Bug o’the Week – Southern Corn Billbug

Greetings, BugFans,

As Seasoned BugFans know, the BugLady is a fan of weevils – she loves the cut of their tiny jibs (for “jibs” read “snouts”) (for “snouts” read “rostrums”). Snouts tipped with chewing mouthparts and adorned with clubbed and elbowed antennae, snouts long and slender, and snouts short and stout. So she was excited to find a Southern corn billbug while she was in a park on the Milwaukee River – an odd spot, but you’re never far from a corn field in Wisconsin.

11.08.23

Bug o’the Week – Sculptured Resin Bee

Howdy, BugFans,

BugFan Freda found and photographed this awesome bee in her pollinator garden in August.  It’s a distinctive bee, and it has an interesting story.

The Sculptured resin bee is sometimes called the Giant Asian resin bee, but there are resin bees that are larger, and it’s not just in Asia anymore.  It’s in the family Megachilidae – the Leafcutter, Mason, Resin, Mortar, Sharptail, and Woolcarder bees. 

11.01.23

Bug o’the Week – Wildflower Watch – Swamp Milkweed

Howdy, BugFans,

The BugLady is already fantasizing about warm, sunny days in a wetland, photographing Swamp milkweed (and dragonflies), because she loves its color, and she loves being in wetlands, and because it’s a very busy plant, indeed!

10.25.23

Bug o’the Week – And Now for Something a Little Different XVI – Turkey Vulture

Howdy BugFans,

The BugLady hangs out on a tower by Lake Michigan from the beginning of September until the end of November, logging migrating raptors as they navigate south along the shoreline (up until this week, she was still seeing a few Monarchs and Common Green Darners, too). She already misses the comforting presence of Turkey Vultures – 99.9% of this fall’s migrating Vultures have made their way past the hawk tower – she loves looking way out over the fields and seeing them rocking back and forth over the woods, taking care of business.

10.19.23

Bug o’the Week – Monochromatic Stink Bug-Hunting Wasp

Howdy, BugFans,

Another wasp with a dynamite name!

When the BugLady found this wasp, she was struck by its curious appearance – fly-like eyes, waspy antennae, “broad-shouldered,” but with a very short abdomen (“It’s compact,” says bugguide.net).

10.11.23

Bug o’the Week – Drumming Katydid

Howdy, BugFans,

Sometimes you go looking for insects, and sometimes the insects find you. The BugLady came back to her car from the Post Office one sunny afternoon in August and discovered this stunning katydid sitting above the driver’s door of her car. Keeping one eye on traffic, she managed to get a few shots of it before moving it to a nearby hydrangea.

10.04.23

Bug o’the Week -German Yellowjacket Redux

Howdy, BugFans,

German Yellowjackets (GYJs), family Vespidae, are European wasps that arrived in the northeastern US in the early 1970’s and in Wisconsin a few years later.  These world travelers are now found on four continents and several oceanic islands.  Although the whole bee/wasp/hornet group is often labeled casually as “bees” (and GYJs have earned the nickname “garbage bee”), it’s easy to tell a honeybee from a wasp.  Honeybees are hairy, black and tan insects about ½” long; the similarly-sized, GYJs are less hairy and are clearly marked by nature’s warning colors, yellow and black.  Both species may nest in walls, but honeybees, which use their hives for years, do not nest underground. 

09.28.23

Bug o’the Week – Bugs at the End of Summer

Howdy, BugFans,

The Autumnal Equinox is fast upon us, alas, and even though it was a very hot one, the BugLady would like to push that Restart button and go back to the beginning of August. Failing that, here are some of the bugs that crossed her trail in the second half of summer.

09.20.23

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