This is Not a Bumblebee

Tuesday, July 7, 2020,

This is not a bumblebee. To the uneducated eye – mine – it certainly looks like one. Just look at it. A chubby bee – at least I got that part right – with black and yellow markings. That’s a bumblebee, right? Well, no. Not in this case.

I had sent these photos to my friend Sue Avery. She’s the lady that allows me to sound intelligent when I describe flowers. I’ve mentioned her here before. Not only is she my go to source for flower identification, but she has her own blog, which is beautifully written. I am always in awe of her prose. Sue was able to ID this pretty flower as Bugleweed. It is not a native plant and can be an aggressive spreader. If I sound informed, it is only because I am quoting Sue. Without her help, this post may have been titled, “A Bee on Purple Flowers.” 

But wait, there’s more. Our story doesn’t end there. Three weeks ago, I had posted a pair of photos of a Yellow Jacket. I had posted them on Facebook as well as here. One of the commentators there was able to inform me of the exact species of Yellow Jacket I had managed to photograph. I was duly impressed, so much so that I sent her these photos to see if she could identify what kind of bee I had here. As it turns out, Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann is a professional entomologist and more than knows her stuff. She was able to explain to me that this was no bumblebee. Instead it is a male Carpenter Bee. Its white face is the main field mark that identifies this as a male. The female Carpenter Bees do not wear white makeup.

If I sound the least bit informed, it is only because I have folks like Jody and Sue helping me out. Honest. JK.


Yellow Jacket, Fore and Aft

Monday, June 22, 2020,

This is a Yellow Jacket. I was photographing Bumblebees in Kings Park when I noticed this scary looking critter on an old piece of lumber. It seemed to be eating something on the wood, or maybe even the wood itself. I was somewhat hesitant to examine its actions closer. Call me a wuss. I can take it. 🙂

This colorful wasp would spend a few minutes “nibbling” at the wood and then it would fly off, only to return to the same spot after ten minutes or so. This went on for about an hour. When I got home, I did some research and found out that Yellow Jackets will chew wood and mix it with their saliva in order to create a quick-drying pulp with which they use to assemble their nests. Pretty cool, right?  JK



A Cabbage White in Mattituck

Monday, September 9, 2019,

This is a Cabbage White Butterfly. Go ahead, click on the photo for a better view. This one is worth it. It’s not often that one gets the chance to appreciate just how pretty these ubiquitous butterflies actually are. You can find these guys almost everywhere but I found this one in Mattituck. I had just left a Sunflower field and was heading home when I happened across  this tiny park after missing a turn. What a lucky miss. These lovely violet flowers bordering a small pond after all that yellow were a very welcome change. Please don’t misunderstand me, the sunflowers were terrific, but this little park was like a wonderful dessert that follows a sumptuous dinner. Sometimes, you just enjoy the dessert better.  

The flowers in these photos are called Purple Loosestrife. As beautiful as they are, they are considered an invasive. I sound pretty informed, don’t I? It’s all smoke and mirrors. In fact, I had thought that these might be Lavender. I was, of course, wrong, as is usually the case when it comes to anything plant related. Luckily, I am aware of my faults. Even luckier still, I have an ace in the hole, or rather, a friend in the garden. Whenever I think I might blog about a flower or a plant of any kind, I send my friend Sue Avery an email and she sets me straight. I can guarantee you that nearly every time I mention a plant of any kind, Sue has helped me with the identification. Sue has her own blog and I invite you to check it out. It’s called The Tangled Wood and it is beautifully written. Sue truly has a way with words. Her prose is as poetic as it is informative. I really think you’ll enjoy her style. I know I do. JK.