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Posts Tagged: Tithonia

A Bright Face in the Garden: Banded Argiope

A banded garden spider, Argiope trifasciata, stretches out near its wrapped bee in a Vacaville, Calif. pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

We have bright faces in our Vacaville, Calif., pollinator garden. The bright faces are usually that of assorted bees and butterflies nectaring on members of the sunflower family: Mexican sunflower (Tithonia) and blanketflowers (Gaillardia). But we did not expect to see this bright face: a...

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 5:01 PM

How Do Insects, Spiders React to a Partial Solar Eclipse?

A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The sky darkens. The temperature drops several degrees. A breeze rustles the leaves of the African blue basil. Dogs bark. And off in the distance, a hawk shrills. A partial solar eclipse is about to happen in Vacaville, Calif. I am watching the insects: the honey bees nectaring on the African...

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 2:05 PM
Tags: eclipse (1), Eric Mussen (2), honey bee (5), milkweed (2), orbweaver (1), praying mantis (8), predator (1), prey (1), spider (1), Tithonia (39)

A Tiger by the Tail

A longhorn bee, probably Melissodes agilis, has this

One of Buck Owens' signature songs that never failed to please his fan base was "I Got a Tiger by the Tail." The Country-Hall-of-Fame singer, who died in 2006 at age 76, said the lyrics came to him after he noticed a gas station sign advertising "Put a tiger in your tank." (Source:...

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 4:22 PM

Not a Good Way to Welcome an Admiral

A territorial male long-horned bee, probably Melissodes agilis, targets a Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It was not a good way to welcome an admiral. The Red Admiral butterfly, that is. The Vanessa atalanta fluttered into our pollinator garden on Sunday, July 16 in Vacaville, Calif., and touched down on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia). The warmth of the sun, the rich nectar, a soft breeze, and...

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 5:35 PM

Do You Know Me?

A drone fly, Eristalis tenax, sips nectar from a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The drone fly is an identity thief. It's often mistaken for a honey bee. Hey, isn't every floral visitor a bee? No, not by a long shot. One's a fly and one's a bee. That came to mind last weekend when we saw a large  number of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and drone flies (Eristalis tenax)...

Posted on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 5:00 PM

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