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Sunday
Aug102014

The Good, the Bad, and the Very Clean Bug

Sometimes it is odd the things that stick in one's memory. Every year when I was a child my family would drive down to the Gulf Coast for summer vacation. I remember traveling through clouds of little yellow butterflies and the horror I felt when inevitably some of them would end up smashed on the front of our car's windshield. I loved seeing the butterflies, but I dreaded the carnage. 

Butterflies are definitely the Good Guys in my garden, and yesterday I was delighted to see a Cloudless Sulfur butterfly flitting about the patio like a small ambassador of joy. It was especially interested in my red petunias:

Best wishes to you, little yellow butterfly, and may your journey be safe!

I also saw a Horsefly (Tabanid), lounging at the edge of my window. This biting, sucking creature can carry disease, and I would call it a Bad Guy. I have no good wishes for him.This horsefly was outside the corner of my kitchen window. Correction: This is a Robber Fly. See addendum below.

I rotated this photo to get another perspective. Notice his proboscis, visible on the far side of his front leg.The butterfly and the horsefly both caught my attention, but the bug that won my heart was a young Praying Mantis. He flew over my shoulder and landed on my leg. He seemed very curious about me.

Hello there!

After sitting on my leg for a while, he jumped up on my camera and looked at me eyeball to eyeball. This was a little too close for me so I gently lifted him off the camera and put him on the nearby table. He began to explore a crumpled paper sack that was on the table.

Are you still watching me?

OK, the paper sack was boring. What's down here?Then he hopped off the sack and began to give himself a bath!

That sack was dirty! See, I have to hold my foot so I can wash it.

Now I have to get this next foot.Got an itch!

Bath is over. It was nice visiting with you. See you later!

I hope you enjoyed a look at the good, the bad, and the very clean bug. Have a great week!  Deb

Addendum: Thank you Eve, who posted the following comment. It was a case of mistaken identity, and it seems I was wrong about my bad bug!

I dislike horseflys as much as the next guy. But I'm pretty sure this little feller is my favorite of all bugs. I believe it is one of the many kinds of Robber Flies. We here on the hill call them Dobby Flies since they remind us of Dobby on Harry Potter. They are actually very good bugs that eat very bad bugs and they are sweet and will sit with you if you let them. No biting will you endure. Look into these sweeties, they come in many colors and sizes and they are all, in my book...cute as a button!! Hahaha! You learn something new everyday! So here you have The Good, the Better, and the Very Clean Bug!!

 

 

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Reader Comments (22)

I watched a praying mantis lie in wait for a hummingbird. They're not as innocent as they pretend.

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Your photos of nature are amazing. I especially like those of butterflies !
Have a nice Sunday :)

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEla

Lovely photos, it is always a pleasure when local wildlife visits in the garden!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

How fun to have a praying mantis land on your leg! He did seem as fascinated with you as you were with him. ;-) I've been delighted to see so many butterflies (and many other kinds of pollinators) in my garden this summer. Maybe they like this milder summer.

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

What a nice story and I really enjoyed your pictures, they're very good!
Have a great week, Martine

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartine

Very entertaining post Debs! Amazing you captured them all in great detail. Horsefly....ugh!!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Deb,
I dislike horseflys as much as the next guy. But I'm pretty sure this little feller is my favorite of all bugs. I believe it is one of the many kinds of Robber Flies. We here on the hill call them Dobby Flies since they remind us of Dobby on Harry Potter. They are actually very good bugs that eat very bad bugs and they are sweet and will sit with you if you let them. No biting will you endure. Look into these sweeties, they come in many colors and sizes and they are all, in my book...cute as a button!! Hahaha! You learn something new everyday! So here you have The Good, the Better, and the Very Clean Bug!!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Thank you, Eve! It was a case of mistaken identity, and I have added an addendum to my post that includes your comment. Deb

August 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Awwe! Thanks Deb for sharing my thoughts! I have to say I was so excited to tell you about the Robber Fly I forgot to mention the Mantis! How sweet!!! Did you know Morgan and Daisy once fed a little piece of marshmallow to a Mantis!!! Haha!
Great post! Looking forward to more of your garden adventures!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Lots of horse flies around here, ugh! There were a lot of lovely Sulphurs fluttering about here earlier this year. They should pick up again in the fall -- it's almost like being in a Disney movie!

Lots of lovely portraits of these insects! They are lucky to be on your blog!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

It is great to see many good bugs and especially the young curious praying mantis...how fun was he!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

I always look forward to reading your posts, the photos were absolutely stunning...I do fancy a good butterfly picture and I thought yours were superb. The detail in your shots was really amazing.

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie@Seattle Trekker

The praying mantis does indeed look as though he's like to engage in a tete-a-tete. Great photos as always!

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

I haven't seen as many butterflies this year as last but it could be that I haven't been spending a much time in the yard because of the heat.

August 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

I did Deb, cute post. Lovely photos of the insects too. I can do without horseflies. I really wish they would stick to horses only.

August 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I always have many praying mantis around my garden, and they do fascinate me so. There are even baby ones too, trying to look all tough when all they look is cute. I must admit, I was not thrilled when one of them chomped down a monarch butterfly!

August 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Great photos!

August 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

Great photos, Deb!

It's wonderful to see the myriad forms of life your garden can support.

I've seen some praying mantises here in the garden, but only at night when I used to sit in a front room with the light on and draw moths to the winter. It was easy picking for the mantises to get the disoriented moths. Now I don't sit in that room at night and haven't seen the mantises in quite some time. But I'll keep my eyes open for them!

August 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

While I have heard that there may be praying mantis here, I've yet to run into one, and am thankful for that...

There was a gorgeous and cold dragonfly on my screen the other morning, it sat there for hours...I wanted to close the window so I took the screen out, and moved it into the sunshine. It warmed up, and left, I got some photos...we were both happy.

Jen

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

striking colours of butterfly against petunia!

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Amazing that you were able to get close enough to take photos! The mantid was quite the social butterfly. Maybe it's a case of mistaken identity for the mantid. :)

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Well, it might have turned out to be a good bug, but that one still gave me the shivers! Love your photos of the praying mantis, it's great to see them up close like that.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaula@SpoonsnSpades

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