Saturday, May 26, 2012

Little Buggers

Normal "honey bees" are easy to spot doing recon in the garden and yard. But there's a whole population of "bees" that almost qualify as no-see-ums. They act the same as honey bees—gathering and spreading pollen—but can almost be missed because of their size. I haven't taken time to look up their identity and determine their correct name, so I'll call them "bees." They are tiny buggers—about 1/4" to 3/8" in length. But definitely beautiful up close. I took these as they collected pollen off the Swiss chard plants that have gone to seed, the seed-buds of which are producing tiny flowers with pollen.

Here are the chard seed-flowers the bees visit (not the sharpest image):


And here's what the bees are collecting—yellow pollen:


From the underside:


In these next three photos, note the different markings on the backs of all three of these bees—all distinctly different patterns. Male/female? Different species? (I won't even mention the obvious beauty of those translucent wings.)




And the ubiquitous lizards are there, silent but deadly. I saw this one waiting patiently for a bee or other no-see-um to fly by. I saw him lunge a couple of times, but he didn't connect. But given his healthy look, he must get his fair share:


This big guy (girl?) is definitely a see-um size. I've started seeing him in my back yard early in the mornings of late. Since I don't use weed-control chemicals on the yard, I have a healthy buffet of great variety that he seems to enjoy. He lives in a large thicket behind my house. Here he seems to have selected a dandelion leaf: "Excellent choice, sir!"



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