Friday, October 11, 2013

Insects In Our Yard

And I am sure that Einstein was/is right. But I would sure like to learn a little of what insects have to teach.

This has been insect month at our home.

It all started with our Gulf Fritillaries. One day, 15 of them emerged from their chrysalids!
emerging Gulf Fritillaries

emerging Gulf Fritillaries from the same day

beautiful emerging Gulf Fritillary with the probiscis clearly seen
dry and ready for life as a butterfly. A newly emerged Gulf Fritillary
nectars on Porterweed. 

Since then, we have been looking for insects in our yard. We have some goldenrod blooming in the back of our yard, so we have gone out every day to investigate the insects on it. And there have been a wide variety of native bees, flies, and wasps. They are really hard to photograph! The goldenrod moves. The insects move. And none of them like having the cameras right in their faces.

But it has been amazing to watch! Such diversity! Such a wonderful feeling of ecosystem!

We decided to paint concrete stepping stones with the 4 stages of a butterfly development.

We also got to see a praying mantis this month. It is the first time we have ever seen one at this house! It was pretty exciting.

Then, in what I think is the coup de gras, we had our first ever pipe vine swallowtail. It stayed for almost an hour nectaring at our Porterweed.
Pipe Vine Swallowtail at the Porterweed

My middle daughter was able to touch it gently without it even moving.

The youngest had to try it, too. Same result. 

Another view of the Pipe Vine Swallowtail
And, as if that wasn't enough, we saw 2 hummingbird moths on the night of the tenth of October. One of them was kind enough to land so we could get a photo. I had read that these moths look like hummingbirds in flight and that they sound like hummingbirds when they buzz by you. Well, they really did. Totally awesome! They are smaller than any hummingbirds we get around here, and they hang around the nectar plants much longer than any of the hummingbirds we have ever seen, too. So these two things, plus the fact that they nectar at dusk and during the night, help us distinguish them from hummingbirds.

hummingbird moth
We also read a great read aloud book that really helped us with Latin order of different insects, why they are classified that way and what the Latin means. It was very simply explained and for the first time I found myself interested in the different orders.

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I am submitting this entry for the Outdoor Hour Challenge with Barb of Handbook of Nature Study.


  1. I am amazed. What a delight to see them emerge! Your stepping stones are just wonderful, too. Attractive AND educational!

    1. It really was a delight to see the butterflies emerge! Thanks.

  2. Thank you for sharing your amazing insect discoveries with the OHC Blog Carnival. I loved seeing every image and your stepping stones are an awesome way to cement their lifecycle into our brains. I so enjoyed your entry!

    1. Thank you, Barb. My son said (at the end of this month, and after this post), "I SO love insect month! It may be my favorite study all year!" We owe a lot to you for all you do to support nature studies!

  3. I love that quote from's so true.

  4. Cristy, I apologize for this comment being totally unrelated to your post, but I wanted to let you know you've won the three book giveaway I hosted on my blog at GoExploreNature. Congratulations! Please send me your contact information so we can get the Travels with Gannon & Wyatt books out to you right away. I'm at tdj2004 at gmail dot com.