The MGS Forum

Gardening in mediterranean climates => Wildlife in the garden (birds, butterflies, and how to attract them) => Topic started by: David Dickinson on September 23, 2017, 04:45:37 PM

Title: Welcome or not?
Post by: David Dickinson on September 23, 2017, 04:45:37 PM
This bee has set up his territory in my garden and is extremely effective at driving away all other insects from his chosen plants. I say "his" because I have read that male Carpenter bees have this habit. Does anybody recognise this species?

Patrolling a stretch of around 10m, buzzing back and forth non-stop, he dive-bombs any other insect which tries to feed on the plants in his range, Even insects more than triple his size like the black Carpenter bee. Other bees, butterflies, wasps etc. too. Preferred tactic is to scoot back and forth, hover about a foot away from anything he spots and then dive in knocking the other off the flower. The insect is then chased away. He has a very loud buzz, disproportionate to his size. I wonder if I would have more butterflies visiting if he weren't around?

I spent some time this morning filming him in action but don't think I can attach videos to postings. Or can I?
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Fleur Pavlidis on September 23, 2017, 10:46:53 PM
There's no straight forward way to post a video. Ive found instructions for how to add a YouTube video so I'll try it out when I get back to Greece and my PC.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Alisdair on September 24, 2017, 07:51:42 AM
A couple of years ago I did put a short video on YouTube (about a stand at the Chelsea show) and then on this forum posted the link to it, so that people could click through to it.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: JTh on September 24, 2017, 08:42:23 AM
Are you sure it`s  not an ordinary honey bee?  It certainly does not look like any carpenter bee I have seen. If it's a single specimen with behavioural problems, I wouldn'y worry, they don't live that long; working bees have a life span of five to six weeks during the  active season
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: David Dickinson on September 25, 2017, 02:22:03 AM
Hi JTH,

I can see why you might think it is an ordinary honey bee from the last picture I posted. Here are 2 photos that I took today while the bee was taking a well earned rest and having a feed. If it is a honey bee that is a little deranged, that would be good, as once it dies the other insects will be able to come back.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on February 18, 2018, 01:54:08 PM
Perhaps one for the entomologists. Beneficial or not? Do I leave it or squash it?
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Umbrian on February 19, 2018, 09:04:49 AM
Interesting John - can't wait to see what it is ....and hope you don't have to squash it!
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: JTh on February 19, 2018, 03:35:00 PM
I wonder if it is a caterpillar of a cabbage butterfly? They don't spin a cocoon, but some silky 'threads' to attach themselves to the leaves, I think I can see a few strands.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on February 20, 2018, 06:16:14 AM
I think you are right, Jorun, thanks. It is attached by threads on both sides. OK, it can stay.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Alisdair on February 20, 2018, 10:19:15 AM
What is it actually attached to, John?
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on February 20, 2018, 03:28:48 PM
It's tucked into an Aloe arborescens, Alisdair.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Alisdair on February 21, 2018, 08:50:34 AM
Good protection for it
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on March 24, 2018, 08:04:33 PM
A couple of months ago I and a friend, Marianne Merki, had a short discussion about praying mantis after finding one on a plant in a nursery we were visiting. Today she sent me some photos of a cocoon she had found on one of her own plants and had kept an eye on. They show several youngsters emerging and taking their first steps into the unknown.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on April 10, 2018, 06:47:47 AM
When the hunter becomes the hunted. I spotted this lizard with a mantis in its mouth but by the time I had dashed indoors to get my camera it had released it for some reason. The mantis then headed for a bunch of discarded dry flowers waiting to be disposed of, I assume to attempt to hide, while the lizard remained frozen, possibly due to my presence.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: JTh on April 14, 2018, 06:52:37 PM
This is a visitor which is definitely welcome. It always amazes me how quickly the tortoises are moving, I just managed to get a quick snap before it disappeared under a large oregano outside the kitchen door, it's probably still there. I believe it is a Testudo graeca, it was fairly lage but in good shape.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/814/26583548037_9e5c009b5c_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/Gv6CF8)
P4149387-Edit.jpg Visiting tortoise (https://flic.kr/p/Gv6CF8) by Jorun Tharaldsen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/46063510@N03/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Charithea on April 19, 2018, 03:48:49 PM
A photo of a welcome visitor. The photo was taken by our grandson in our garden. He was playing Hide and Seek with his sister but could not resist to show us the chameleon so he gave away his hiding place.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on May 03, 2018, 06:00:36 AM
Spotted on an evening primrose flower outside our kitchen this morning. Welcome or not?
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on May 06, 2018, 06:49:38 AM
Almost missed this one as it blended in quite well.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on June 29, 2018, 07:49:34 AM
Mike, how has your butterfly count been this year? We haven't seen many at all and not a single swallowtail so far, certainly no caterpillars.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: David Dickinson on June 29, 2018, 10:51:15 AM
Butterfly numbers and variety are low in Rome too this year. Although I have had Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails.

Seeing your post has prompted me to ask a question that I have wanted to ask for a while. Is it only my Buddlejas that are not attractive to insects are is this a common occurrence in Mediterranean gardens. Only occasionally do insects settle on mine. When they do, they seem happy and gorge themselves. But I'm used to seeing bushes covered in insects in the UK.  In my garden there are one or two insects at most while the Salvias and Verbenas nearby are literally buzzing with activity.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Charithea on July 01, 2018, 10:28:22 AM
Regarding Buddlejas and Butterflies David, I have kept a watch on our two Buddlejas and have not seen any butterflies visiting them this year.  In fact I have not yet seen any butterflies on our Crithmum maritimum the parsley or the Florence fennel.  The past few years I have sown parsley and fennel specifically to cope with the demands of the Swallowtail caterpillars that used to decimate the Crithmum. I had noticed the number of  caterpillars on the parsley and fennel increase but this year so far nothing.  John and I decided to remove the excess of the parsley to make space for the Peruvian spinach.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on July 06, 2018, 07:05:04 AM
After having posted recently about not seeing any caterpillars I came across these 2 chaps yesterday munching away on our Crithmum. Nowhere near as many as we normally get but at least it's something.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Umbrian on July 07, 2018, 05:42:25 AM
Working in a friend's garden the other day I knocked one of these beautiful caterpillars from a Fennel plant - one of their favourite feeding grounds.  I carefully replaced it and later I saw my first Swallowtail of the year and felt well rewarded!
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on July 29, 2018, 08:15:05 AM
While taking photos of the flower on our Crassula perfoliata today this swallowtail landed on the Crithmum growing next to it so I had to get a couple of quick shots before it flew on.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Umbrian on July 29, 2018, 12:06:45 PM
Love the last 'photo John - showing real 'attitude'!
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: JTh on August 23, 2018, 11:09:38 PM
Hard to say who's the friend here. The wasp was seen flying with a larva much bigger than itself, they conveniently landed on an olive branch so that I could get a quick shot with my phone. The  larva seemed to be paralyzed by the wasp.
(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1885/42417849740_5f2c0978a6_c.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/27CjyUU)
IMG_20180806_093540.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/27CjyUU) by Jorun Tharaldsen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/46063510@N03/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Umbrian on August 24, 2018, 07:27:55 AM
Amazing photo Jorun - best reason for having the phone close at hand at all times.....
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: Alisdair on August 24, 2018, 07:39:06 AM
Wonderful!
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on September 10, 2018, 06:30:18 AM
On going out early this morning to take advantage of the cooler air before the heat of the day builds up I bumped into, almost literally, this character sitting in the middle of its perfect web. I assume it was waiting for breakfast to arrive.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on September 22, 2018, 04:54:38 PM
Found this poor chap this evening as I was doing a bit of watering. I believe it's a Black Whip Snake (Dolichophis jugularis) that can grow to 3m in length. They don't take on the black colour until they are around 5/6 years old. They are not poisonous and are therefore welcome visitors as they take rodents, some insects, and even other snakes. Many years ago, before the land around us was built upon as much as it is today, we used to get very large blacks but I haven't seen a big one for a long time now. The secateurs are for comparison.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on January 05, 2019, 02:05:19 PM
Just spotted this on the wall outside our front door. Don't recall having seen one like it before. Anyone put a name to it?
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: John J on March 09, 2019, 02:04:20 PM
Spring is on the way, the dinosaurs are on the move.
Title: Re: Welcome or not?
Post by: David Dickinson on April 20, 2019, 10:49:19 AM
Ever had the feeling you are being watched and on looking up discover that your instincts are right?