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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Learning about Nature in our own yard

There are some fascinating things I have learned this summer by observing insects in our yard.

When our soffit was removed and replaced with new soffit many paper wasps nests were found. Some were inhabited, others had eggs in them, and some had been abandoned. At least 100 must have been collected during that work.

Then one afternoon I was outside sitting on the porch and I saw what looked like wasps (about 100 of them circling low in the yard.) Of course it alarmed me because the kids and dog usually play out in the yard. So when Dh got home I told him to check it out. I looked on line and searched for low circling insects and June Bugs and wasps both came up. Well after a closer look dh determined they were Green June Bugs. They were circling for small insects and also make mounds in the soil, where they lay eggs.

I saw the dog slapping at one the other day that was burrowing into the ground. Now the eggs, when they hatch become grubs that eat your lawn. But they can also provide some benefit to the lawn because as they dig holes they will aerate the lawn. (So do we kill them or leave them be?)

Now the June Bugs have brought many birds into the yard, Because they are a feast for certain birds.

Bluebirds – Robins -- Cardinals
Song sparrow - - Catbirds – Starling
Chipping sparrows – Woodpeckers – Phoebes
Wrens -- Purple finches and of course our friendly bats that hang around are also great for ridding us of these insects and also mosquitoes.

And of course our neighborly bat.


And just yesterday dh came across this huge hornet nest (About the size of a basketball) It is hanging very low in a tree, maybe 4 feet off the ground. These hornets also eat other insects like June bugs. They supposedly abandon the hive in the fall. So perhaps if I can wait them out, I will have a great treasure to keep!)