Insects and News from the South

Saturday, December 26th 2015

No, no insects today!  During the summer our flowers are essential for insects, including bees and hoverflies.  Hardheads flower in the mid to late summer providing bees with plenty of food.

Bee on Hardheads

Volunteers and thistles go together well!  The flowers are rich in nectar and pollen so many insects feed from them and of course pollinate the flowers, which will set seed by the end of the summer.   Volunteers aim to pull them up just before the seeds are released.

bee on thistle

There are several different species of Dandelion on the Species List, but it does take specialists to separate them so when seen they are recorded as Dandelions.  This bee is covered in pollen.

Dandelion with insect

Ragwort is poisonous to some animals but not to the Cinnabar moth caterpillar which feeds on the leaves, transferring the toxins to themselves, which helps to protect them from predators.  Many insects including bees enjoy the rich food source.

Insect on Ragwort Flower

Meadowsweet has a delicate scent and our hive bees are attracted to it, even as far away as the wetland.

Meadowsweet with hive bee

Grass of Parnassus is one of the later flowers to appear.  We often wonder if it is going to flower as there is nothing to see, then a tiny white bud appears and shortly after the flower opens.  Hoverflies live up to their name and hover around them before landing to feed.

Grass of Parnassus

A few days ago the Winter Solstice was mentioned, days are now getting longer! 

We received an email from Stacey  'Yes, it's Midsummer over here already! Time for the nights to start drawing back in again. The penguins are behaving and the Adelie chicks getting notably bigger every time I visit them. I cannot believe how fast they grow.

She also sent her Christmas Greetings.

Christmas greetings from Stacey

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