For interesting information on flowers, trees and plants please click on this link:

For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.
Videos: YouTube

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inside a wasp nest

On the prowl for an interesting subject, I managed to come across this paper wasp. She had built her nest high up on a black painted roof so I was not able to get a very good picture of her but after taking down the nest, got some fairyly good shots of what she was guarding.

Paper wasps feed abundantly on corn earworms, armyworms, tobacco hornworms, etc.
Paper-like nests, shaped like tiny umbrellas, are suspended by a short stem attached to eaves, window frames, porch ceilings, attic rafters, etc. Each nest consists of a horizontal layer or "tier" of circular comb of hexagonal (six-sided) cells not enclosed by a paper-like envelope. The ends of the cells are open with the heads of the larvae exposed to view.

Paper wasps and hornets are social insects, living in colonies containing workers, queens and males.
Fertilized queens occur in protected places such as houses and other structures, hollow logs, in stumps, under bark, in leaf litter, in soil cavities, etc. Queens emerge during the warm days of late April or early May, select a nest site and build a small paper nest in which eggs are laid. One egg is laid in each cell. As she adds more cells around the edge, eggs are deposited. Larvae in the center are older with the younger larvae further out. It is the cells at the rim of the nest which contain eggs. After eggs hatch, the queen feeds the young larvae. When larvae are ready to pupate, cells are covered with silk, forming little domes over the individual openings. Larvae pupate, emerging later as small, infertile females called "workers."
Adult food consists of nectar or other sugary solutions such as honeydew and the juices of ripe fruits.
After being stung, immediately apply a poultice of meat tenderizer to the wound. If the sting is not deep, this will break down the components of the sting fluid, reducing the pain.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hanging around - Giant Jewel Beetle

This has a body length of about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in length. Everytime I saw him he seemed to be hanging onto something. LOL!! They are clumsy fliers and the female lays her very large eggs in the ground. (Sternocera orissa)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Common Milkweed Locust

(Phymateus morbillosus) These are large bodied with mostly red wings when they open them. Females lay eggs in late summer and they hatch in early spring.
When alarmed, they raise and rustle their wings and produce an evil smelling foam from the thoracic joints.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A hive of activity

As it is getting warmer, the garden is becoming a hive of activity. Right outside my window, there is an Albizia tree which get these little balls of flowers, each one being up to just over 1/2 inch in diameter. The insects really love this tree.
This extremely tiny bug seemed as if he was rolling around on it. Unfortunately, this is the only shot I could get of him before he flew off.
Then there are butterflies...

....and lots and lots of bees.....