Looking for summertime bugs

Learning to see nature in all its complexity and detail opens our eyes to the world around us.

Developing an eye for nature, like all skills, takes time. I knew a gifted entomologist who could spot, from metres away, the tiny egg of a swallowtail butterfly where it nestled on the underside of a leaf.

Learning to see nature in all its complexity and detail opens our eyes to the world around us. An awareness of nature often leads to an interest in its conservation, and now, more than ever, the natural world needs champions.

Paying attention to nature brings rewards, like the iridescent green and red beetle stalking through our garden. Checking in “Bugs of British Columbia,” a useful guide by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, I learned it was a golden jewel beetle, one of the “finest wood-borers in B.C.”

These beetles love summer heat and live around conifers, matching the conditions in which I found it.

Knowing tAnne Murrayhe habitat and behaviour of a species helps to locate it. Tiny ants thrive on our hot, dry patio, where they meticulously remove sand from one crack and pile it elsewhere.

Native bees frequent blue and purple flowers. Buddleia attracts Lorquin’s admiral and western tiger swallowtail butterflies, yet the anise swallowtail favours cow parsnip beside the Boundary Bay dyke.

The dyke is also home to band-winged grasshoppers. They are inconspicuous on the ground, but whir noisily as they fly, flashing colour in their hind wings.

Dragonflies seem to appear all of a sudden in the summer months. Big blue-eyed darners begin patrolling the yard, and eight-spotted skimmers stretch their wings among the lettuces. Damselflies shine like turquoise jewels in freshwater wetlands.

The decline of honey bees and monarch butterflies is making headlines globally. I suspect local insects have also declined in number and diversity. Despite having grown an organic garden for over two decades with bee and butterfly-friendly plants, the buzz is not what it used to be.  We complain of swarms of mosquitoes, ants and yellowjackets interfering with picnics and spiders surprising us in the house, but natural habitats are better for most native insects, which thrive where biodiversity is at its richest. With loss of habitat, pesticide poisoning, and competition from introduced species, rarer species disappear. As insect numbers decline, birds and bats that prey on them are put at risk.

You can see pictures of some local insects on my latest blog post at www.natureguidesbc.wordpress.com. Hopefully, by becoming more interested in and aware of the native bugs around us, we can do more to ensure their survival.

Anne Murray is a local naturalist and writer. Her books on Delta’s natural and ecological history, A Nature Guide to Boundary Bay and Tracing Our Past, a Heritage Guide to Boundary Bay, are available in local stores or from www.natureguidesbc.com

 

 

 

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read