Other than bumblebees and honeybees, I'm not very knowledgeable about identifying the different bee species. But I think this might just be a hoverfly (click to enlarge). My friends Cheryl and Gail are sure to know if this shiny body that happened to show up when I downloaded this photo of a daylily is actually a hoverfly.
There is a constant hum of activity in my garden, and I've learned to appreciate the work of all these pollinators. I don't spray my garden with chemicals, and in return they help to pollinate the plants.
They've certainly been a benefit to the vegetable garden this year . . . together with the regular rainfall we have had, I've had a prolific bounty of green Beans. The photo above shows what happens when you forget to check the beans for two days--many of these were 8-9 inches long! A little too big for my taste, but we'll eat them nevertheless.
B is also for Bugs. I don't know what these are in the hollyhock blossom--they almost look like lightning bugs/fireflies. While certain insects are beneficial in the garden, there are a host of them that can be very destructive. One of the worst has to be . . .
. . . the Japanese Beetle. While their numbers seem to be fewer this year than in the past, they seem to be expanding their palate. Once content with devouring roses and hollyhocks, this year I have found them on so many plants from my purple coneflowers to the green beans. I caught them on this quince shrub one morning, sleeping off yet another day of drunken feasting and revelry. Good thing the quince is pretty indestructible.
I wish I could replace all those nasty beetles with Butterflies. Along with many other bloggers in the Midwest, I have been lamenting the lack of butterflies this summer. The cabbage white above and the yellow sulphur have been around for a few weeks. But the more colorful varieties that usually visit each summer have been scarce--I've seen a few flit through the trees and over the yard, but they never seem to land and stay for a visit.
I spotted this Monarch last week while visiting the Prairie area at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, Illinois. I hope this is a sign that the butterflies are off schedule this year and will soon be visiting here at my own little Prairie Garden.