Sunday 30 October 2011

Queens, harlequins and admirals

The last mild, sunny days of autumn are bringing out scores of insects. Standing under a large flowering ivy today the sound of buzzing bees, bluebottles, droneflies and wasps was extraordinary, especially given that November is only a couple of days away. Yesterday, six red admirals sunnied and gorged themselves on the ivy blossom. They are charging batteries before their migration to South Europe and North Africa.
Red Admiral and passing droneflies on ivy
 A green shieldbug, Palomena prasina, climbing a tree.
 Today, a queen Bombus hypnorum fed on lavender flowers. 
 A female Araneus diadematus spider sat proudly on her silky egg cocoon. 
Honeybees on ivy flowers
Dozens of harlequins and 7 spot ladybirds flew about landing on a sunny wall and leaving again.


RayHolden said...

This unseasonal warm has produced many surprises!

I've seen few bees on my ivy flowers - but hundreds of communal wasps - who see off any butterfly that get close. Only the tachnid flies are allowed to share.

Here in S. Yorks. Harlequin Lbs are everywhere - and in all life-cycle stages - I was still seeing eggs two weeks ago. I've also come across Orange, 10-Spot, Pine and Kidney-Spots in the last week, along with a fair number of 7-Spots.

Your Green Shieldbug is just beginning to show his brown autumnal colours, but he still has some way to go.


Africa Gomez said...

I have seen 4 (possibly 5) bumblebee species in the last couple of weeks. It seems quite extraordinary for early November.
I have read that Harlequins have usually 2 generations but they might try and squeeze 3 in a year, which could explain the eggs you saw.
Thank you as always for your comment Ray.