Last week in the garden: July 17-24

This post covers an 8-day ‘week’. Between the horrid hot, humid weather and preparing for a garden tour, I didn’t take many photos until the end of the week. The highlight was finding several Monarch caterpillars, and other insects, on milkweed plants while I was looking for more ‘cats’.

Facebook memory from last year: Monarch laying eggs (July 22, 2021)

The next day, the female Monarch was laying lots of eggs in between nectar drink breaks.

ID clue: Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s red underwing (July 16, 2022)

We thought the Rose-breasted Grosbeak that visits our stream was a female. However, I spotted red under the bird’s wings when it was bathing in the stream and preening. Males have red underwings, while females have yellow under their wings. I guess this bird is an immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak that doesn’t yet have its red, black and white feathers.

Newly-emerged Cicada (July 23, 2022)

My husband is making me a 2-bin composter. He spotted this newly-emerged Cicada on a piece of cedar. It’s former exoskeleton was attached to the hardware cloth on one of the composter’s side panels.

Edited: Flower Longhorn Beetle, not a Blister Beetle (July 23, 2022)

The New Jersey Tea plants are reblooming. Today, I noticed this striking beetle drinking nectar from the flowers. I had trouble identifying it. First, I thought it was a Blister Beetle, but now I believe it is a Longhorn Flower Beetle. Although their colour and spots are similar, the Blister Beetles have short antennae, but the Longhorn Beetle has long antennae. Interestingly, I created a Facebook post almost the same date last year of this type of beetle on a Purple Coneflower.

Tiny Clearwing moth (July 24, 2022)

This moth was resting on a Swamp Milkweed leaf. I’m not sure what kind of Clearwing moth it is, but it sure was tiny.

Edited: A reader informed me that this is in the Carmenta family of moths, perhaps Carmenta bassiformis (Eupatorium Borer Moth). A moth who’s host plants are the roots of Ironweed and Joe-Pye Weed. I grow Ironweed, Joe-Pye Weed, and Sweet Joe-Pye in my gardens.

Spider on Swamp Milkweed (July 24, 2022)

This pretty little spider was hiding out in a cluster of Swamp Milkweed leaves at the end of a stem. It had made a little webbed shelter. I assume it has been eating Monarch caterpillars.

Big Monarch caterpillars (July 24, 2022)

It’s been horribly hot and humid this week, so I haven’t been sitting outside much or taking many photos.

At one point, I thought my camera or lens was broken because it wouldn’t focus. Here the lens was fogging up when I took the camera outside after being in the air conditioned house.

This morning, I was surprised to see 3 big Monarch caterpillars on Swamp Milkweed plants in the garden and in the greenhouse. I guess they’ve been eating and growing while I’ve been cooped up inside.

After finding the spider on a milkweed plant, and watching a wasp hunting near one of the caterpillars, I decided to move them to mesh butterfly shelters.

Drinking nectar (July 24, 2022)

You’ve probably heard the news that Monarchs are now on the endangered species list. If you have an area of unused lawn, why don’t you turn it into a pollinator patch that includes milkweed and nectar plants to help them out.

Bees on Swamp Milkweed (July 16, 2022)

I’ve noticed lots of bees visiting the Swamp Milkweed flowers this year.

Bees on Butterfly Milkweed flowers (July 16, 2022)

I’ve never seen a Monarch caterpillar on Butterfly Milkweed, but I do see bees visiting the flowers. Here’s a Honeybee and a Leafcutter bee in the front pollinator garden. In the 2nd closeup photo, you can see the waxy pollen chains stuck on the Honeybee’s feet.

Red Milkweed Beetle (July 24, 2022)

A few Red Milkweed Beetles were munching on Common Milkweed leaves in the front garden. Like Monarchs, these specialist insects can only eat milkweed.

Big wasp at Spotted Beebalm flowers (July 24, 2022)

The Spotted Beebalm is in full bloom in the front pollinator garden. It is only about 2 feet tall, is drought-tolerant, mildew-resistant, and strangely tropical-looking. Besides attracting bumblebees, it also attracts large solitary (and harmless) wasps.

This wasp has a spot of white pollen on its back. When it dips into the flower to drink nectar, its back brushes against the pollen on the top part of the flower.

Prairie Onions (July 16 and 22, 2022)

Lots of bumblebees and leafcutter bees have been visiting the Prairie Onion flowers. Prairie Onions are about a foot tall, while Nodding Onions are about about a 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall. The Nodding Onions are just starting to bloom.

Facebook memory from last year: Yellow-banded Bumblebee (June 25, 2021)

For the past 3 years, we’ve had a few Yellow-banded Bumblebees show up when the Culver’s Root and Joe Pye Weed begins to bloom. Here’s a Yellow-banded Bumblebee on Joe Pye weed flowers in our back garden. I’m delighted to see them again.

This is a rare and declining species, closely related to Rusty-patch Bumblebees that no longer exist in Ontario. They’re describes as having short necks, so they look particularly stocky, round, and cute. One of their distinguishing features is yellow hairs on their bums, so I included a shot from behind.

2 thoughts on “Last week in the garden: July 17-24

  1. Hi – Just FYI, I did see one rusty patched & one yellow banded bee this past week.  So, not extinct but maybe declining. Helen HM – iPad 


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