Wild Honey Bee Comb

Wild Honey Bee Comb Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Honey Bee Comb
  • Order Name: Hymenoptera
  • Family Name: Apidae

This Order of insects include sawflies, horntails, wood wasps, ensign wasps, Ichneumonids, fairyflies, fig wasps, chalcids, gall wasps, cuckoo wasps, yellow-faced bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, honey bees, bumble bees, orchid bees, velvet ants, spider wasps, paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, mud-dauber wasps and ants.

Wild bee honeycombs are constructed from hanging galleries of hexagonal wax cells. The outer drapes are most often used for honey storage whereas the internal hangings are more often used to rear the young bees. This beautiful natural wax comb was hand-harvested in Indonesia at the price of a few defensive stings. Honey is formulated from worker bee saliva and plant nectar which used as food storage for the hive. Humans have an exceptionally long history of harvesting honey and later in developing hive systems to ease in the cultivation of this highly treasured substance.

White Weevil

White Weevil Photo, Picture
  • Common Name:White Weevil
  • Order Name: Coleoptera
  • Family Name: Curculionidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beetles represent the largest Order of insects, containing over 250,000 described species. Beetle groups include tiger beetles, ground beetles, water beetles, whirligig beetles, fungus beetles, rove beetles, stag beetles, scarab beetles, wood-boring beetles, click beetles, fireflies, dermestids, ladybird beetles, darkling beetles, longhorn beetles, blister beetles, leaf beetles, weevils and many others.

This striking white weevil posed for us at the side of a trail leading to a remote village in Sulawesi. Weevils are also called snout beetles; characterized by their elongated region in front of their eyes. Larvae of these beetles are usually shaped like the letter “C” and are pale to white in color and lack legs. Maybe you have heard the expression, “weevils wobble but they don’t fall down. In 1915, cotton crops in Enterprise, Alabama were devastated by seed infected by the Boll Weevil which forced them to diversify. In honor of this ultimately fortuitous change in planting, the town erected a “statue of liberty” type lady with a large Boll Weevil perched on her head.

Western White Butterfly

Western White Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Western White
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Pieridae

The butterfly members of this Order of insects include the popular and usually colorful species. Butterfly groups include monarchs, satyrs, dagerwings, leaf-wings, owls, buckeyes, admirals, checkerspots, crecents, fritillaries, heliconids, riodinids, blues, hairstreaks, coppers, whites, orange-tips, sulphurs and swallowtails.

Very similar to the checkered white, western whites are found in the north west rather than the southern states. Wing markings vary throughout the year and between male and females. In fact, these butterflies use the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum to distinguish between males and females. Males wing scales absorb UV light whereas female wings reflect UV. Although males patrol for females, female are known to approach males. This specimen was sipping a nectar breakfast in an alpine meadow in Northern California.

Western Steep Fritillary Butterfly

Western Steep Fritillary Butterfly Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Western Steep Fritillary
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Nymphalidae

The butterfly members of this Order of insects include the popular and usually colorful species. Butterfly groups include monarchs, satyrs, dagerwings, leaf-wings, owls, buckeyes, admirals, checkerspots, crecents, fritillaries, heliconids, riodinids, blues, hairstreaks, coppers, whites, orange-tips, sulphurs and swallowtails.

An early morning trek to a specific meadow in the Owens Valley of California provided a glimpse at this indigenous subspecies population of Western Steep Fritillary. The cool early morning mountain air slow down these beautiful fritillary butterflies as they sip nectar from thistles. These butterflies exhibit sexual dimorphism meaning the male and female butterflies look different. This orange form is the male and was abundant in comparison to the black and yellow-green females. Caterpillars feed on blue violet and over winter shortly after hatching. Adults have a single brood each year and fly from June to September.

Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly

Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Western Pygmy Blue
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Lycaenidae

The butterfly members of this Order of insects include the popular and usually colorful species. Butterfly groups include monarchs, satyrs, dagerwings, leaf-wings, owls, buckeyes, admirals, checkerspots, crecents, fritillaries, heliconids, riodinids, blues, hairstreaks, coppers, whites, orange-tips, sulphurs and swallowtails.

Sometimes no bigger that 3/8″ the Western Pygmy Blue is the smallest butterfly in the western United States. Although fairly common, many people probably walk right by these delicate blues because of their tiny size and dainty, low to the ground flight. This specimen was found in the salt march area of San Francisco. Adults work their way north during the Summer months. Blue-green eggs hatch into light green caterpillars that feed on pickleweed, saltbush and pigweed. The inner portions of the top wing surfaces are metallic blue. This low-altitude butterfly was introduced to Hawaii around 1979.

Western Box-elder Bug

Western Box-elder Bug Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Western Box-elder Bug
  • Order Name: Hemiptera
  • Family Name: Rhopalidae

Many Hemiptera suck plant juices although some have evolved to suck blood and body fluids. Hemiptera groups include water scorpions, water boatman, backswimmers, water striders, plant bugs, bed bugs, assassin bugs, flat bugs, seed bugs, red bugs and stink bugs.

Widespread across the US, the Box-elder Bug belongs to the family of scentless plant bugs. This nymph was found in the San Francisco area where it appears in great numbers during the first warm days of spring after emerging from their winter hibernation. Their bright red coloration sometimes causes concern in the autumn when they find their way into houses looking for a suitable place to over winter. They feed on box-elder, maple and ash trees although sometimes the adults eat fruit. Notice the long beak for piercing plants and sucking sap.

Weevil

Weevil Photo, Picture
  • Common Name:Weevil
  • Order Name: Coleoptera
  • Family Name: Curculionidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weevils are a large and diverse group of plant burrowing beetles often found infesting seeds and many species target crops and stored foods making some of them important pest species that cause considerable damage. They have small but effective mandibles concealed at the end of their snouts which enable them to be effective borers in and out of their food plant. Weevil infested plants are usually riddled with little bore holes and a little excavation reveals the busy beetles.

Weaver Ants, Oecophylla spp.

Weaver Ants, Oecophylla spp. Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Weaver Ants
  • Order Name: Hymenoptera
  • Family Name: Formicidae

This Order of insects include sawflies, horntails, wood wasps, ensign wasps, Ichneumonids, fairyflies, fig wasps, chalcids, gall wasps, cuckoo wasps, yellow-faced bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, honey bees, bumble bees, orchid bees, velvet ants, spider wasps, paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, mud-dauber wasps and ants.

This image illustrates how important it is to have the right chemical scent. Members of an individual colony possess the same “nest odor.” Even members of the same species found stumbling into a neighboring colony will not possess the correct genetic and environmentally determined odor and will generally be attacked as an intruder. These Weaver Ants exhibit refined societal coordination and create advanced camouflaged structure. They build nests by pulling together leaves and gluing them together with silk excreted from accommodating larval ants.

Wasp-Mimic Moth

Wasp-Mimic Moth Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Wasp-Mimic Moth
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Sesiidae

The moth members of this Order of insects include a large number of diverse families. Moth groups include micro moths, leaf miners, clothes moths, plume moths, ermine moths, burnets, geometrids, silk moths, sphinx moths, tiger moths, wasp moths, noctuids, underwings and many others.

The waxy and transparent scales of this Sesiid moth simulate the membranous wings of the wasps they mimic. Special interlocking spines link the hind and forewings together, allowing for behaviorally stylized flight characteristics that simulate a wasp in flight. Lepidoptera means “scale-wing.” The amazing variety of designs on the wings of butterflies and moths are achieved through various pigments, structures and shapes of the tiny scales that cover their wing surfaces. These scales easily dislodge upon touch and their “dust” has been the source of folklore. The Yaqui Indians in Carlos Casteneda’s books believe moths to be the heralds and guardians of eternity, with knowledge coming like specs of gold “dust.”

Wasp Mimic Moth

Wasp Mimic Moth Photo, Picture
  • Common Name: Wasp Mimic Moth
  • Order Name: Lepidoptera
  • Family Name: Sesiidae

The moth members of this Order of insects include a large number of diverse families. Moth groups include micro moths, leaf miners, clothes moths, plume moths, ermine moths, burnets, geometrids, silk moths, sphinx moths, tiger moths, wasp moths, noctuids, underwings and many others.

The Sesiidae family of moths are notorious for their ability to mimic wasps. Through physical and behavior mimicry, they gain protection by an association with a more formidable insect. This moth looked like, flew like and even sounded like a wasp until the lure of the minerals in a roadside puddle, tempted a landing and its muted moth characteristics became more apparent. Mimicry is common in the insect world where you find mantids looking like lichen and moths who pass for tarantulas.