Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) is the chosen food of Monarch butterflies. Eggs are laid on the plant and larva feast on the leaves. Much has been reported on the loss of habitat for Monarchs including this Milkweed, not to be confused with the orange blooming Butterfly Milkweed (asclepias tuberosa). Loss of habitat has led to dramatically reduced populations of these wonderful creatures.
This Common Milkweed plant attracted me with its delicate fluffy seeds that had recently burst out of several pods. They always remind me of one segment of the Disney movie, Fantasia. As I focused on the seeds, I noticed a few brightly colored Milkweed Bugs. Several moments later, I realized the “brown” pod above the seeds was actually a community of Milkweed Bugs on one pod. The Milkweed Butterfly has left this northern area and begun its 3000-mile migration to Mexico, while the Milkweed Bug enjoys the remaining spoils of this host plant.
The second image is a closely cropped copy of the first image.
This unusually warm, 50 degree, afternoon yesterday invited clusters of winged insect hatchings. I was not sure if the camera would even come close to focus on these tiny creatures, but the late day, low angled sun spotlighted their flight.
These are times when I am tempted to spend many minutes and countless megabytes of space working to create the “perfect” image. Time did not allow it yesterday; but my creative juices are now stirred.
Newly hatched winged insects copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Woodland afternoon copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Diabrotica cristata on Big Bluestem Grass copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Stick with me as I focus on the macro world a little longer, the Black Leaf Beetle (Diabrotica cristata) is not partial to Compass Plant flowers. It turns out that the prairie’s Big Bluestem grasses are food for larva; while adults prefer forbs (broadleaf herbaceous plant (ie. not a grass) such as the Compass Plant but also Blazing Star and non-native Queen Anne’s Lace.
What at first may creep out visitors, myself included, who take pride in a bug free home, the prairie Insects are very prolific to ensure their continued survival. This in turn helps to ensure the survival of their avian (primary) predators. I admit that I check myself more than twice before entering my home, so that I don’t introduce prolific breeding uninvited guests to my habitat. It is rare that I have to uninvited a tag-a-long, much to my continued surprise. I suppose they are wiser than I imagine in their choice of contact. Pollen however I do have to regularly remove from this asthmatic allergic body.
Infested Compass Plant copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Queen Anne Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Blazing Star copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
Cransebill copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg
The story changes when the focus changes. Sometimes the bigger story is in the background. Sometimes the story is revealed when the camera focuses differently than the photographer’s intention; this time the camera showed me a more interesting subject than the Cranesbill flower. It caught the hole-makers in the act.
Insect Hosting Cranesbill copyright 2013 Pamela Bretiberg