When you coax a wide variety of flowers and herbs into your garden you also attract a wide variety of insects. Although not all these inhabitants are a welcome sight, most are not only beneficial but also remarkably beautiful.
For instance, there’s this cute little caterpillar with the unwieldy name Eupithecia miserulata. Not only does it stand out sharply against the burgundy and gold of a rudbeckia blossom, but it grows up to be a striking gray-brown moth.
Eupithecia. (click photos for larger images)
Then there are the mud dauber wasps. Two different types have been visiting our fennel flowers recently.
Black mud dauber wasp
Black and yellow mud dauber wasp
Though they look fierce they seldom sting people. But the mud dauber wasps do prey on spiders, which are more than abundant in our lakeshore location, so we are very happy to have them.
A more common but no less striking visitor has also been attracted to the herb garden – musca domestica, aka housefly.
Musca domestica on fennel flower
Musca domestica on coriander flower
The red soldier beetle was introduced from Europe and is relatively new to Ontario. Its British common name, Hogweed Bonking Beetle, sounds simultaneously ominous and comical, and in fact it is a pollinator of the toxic plants cow parsnip and giant hogweed. However it also preys on aphids, slugs and snails.
Red soldier beetle on grass
Red soldier beetles on Hydrangea paniculata
Damselflies are a wetland insect, but our garden is just across the road from a marsh and so these glittery creatures have been alighting on the leaves of beans, tomatoes and dogwood.
Eastern forktail damselfly, female
Eastern forktail damselfly, male
Finally, we are fortunate to see many honey bees locally, including this one visiting a purple/blue borage flower.
Honey bee on borage