Busy in the Poppies


My mom planted a patch of poppies in her garden this year, and overnight we had a ton of them open.  The bees were going bonkers on them this morning.  I counted 4 species of bees and 5 species of hover flies.  You could hear the bumbles buzz pollinating too!  They sounded almost like piping queens.

The most interesting hover fly was this one though.  When it flew in I thought, "Why does that bumble bee sound so weird?"  But it wasn't a bumble bee, it was a king of Batesian mimicry!  Look at how closely this fly resembles our Eastern bumble bees and carpenter bees!  It even has a little spot on its back and hair on its legs that look like pollen baskets.  But bees don't sit around on flowers and wash their hands!  :wink:  I'm pretty sure the species is Mallota posticata.

When I was researching them, I found out that they lay their eggs in standing water in holes in trees, and their larvae have little tubes that they stick above the water to breathe like a scuba diver! 

Also, this wasn't on the poppies, but since I had the camera out I took a picture of one of my straw cans that I have up for native bees to nest in.  The masons don't seem to like this can, but there is a little potter wasp who has taken up residence.  You can just see her face back in the straw I have circled.  She sits with her head out a lot of the time, but every time I held the camera up she would scoot back. 


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