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The spring flowers resembled busy airports this week.

The desert marigolds were abuzz with insects, including this photo-bombing honey bee.

The red and black bug is a charcoal seed bug, Melacoryphus lateralis.

The brittlebush flowers were also teeming with insect life.

 

Many of the flowers harbored false chinch bugs.

Some were hiding underneath.

Along with numerous honey bees, the flies were active. This is the black flower fly, Copestylum mexicana.

Is it a bee or a fly?

This one is another kind of flower fly that mimics a bee.

This plant bug's spring finery matched the flower.

It's an exciting time of year in nature.

I must admit I wasn't optimistic I would find much in our yard on January 3. It has been cold in the morning and insects aren't usually active when it's cold.

Wait. What's that tiny green thing?

It's a little praying mantis.

There's something in the brittlebush flower.

That's a crab spider with some prey.

What is this?

Although they look a bit like honey bees, these are flies. I didn't get a clear look, but probably flower flies in the family Syrphidae.

Not to shabby for a winter day.

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It's that time to reflect on the past year by choosing some of our favorite insect photographs.

Seems like most of our favorite photos told a story. For example, the bee visiting a flower was in danger. Can you see why?

That brown bit in the upper right side is a jumping spider looking for prey. The bee did manage to get away.

Another fun story was a friend sharing some silkworm larvae.

We watched them grow,

spin cocoons,

and emerge as adult moths. The experience inspired another story in the form of a children's book. We'll see what happens to that in 2018.

We loved watching these wood ants tend to their herd of aster hoppers. (See more at Wild About Ants).

Let's not forget this Asian multicolored lady beetle, which reminds us lady beetles eat pollen as well as aphids.

We followed a grasshopper in a sunflower.

Then we discovered an adult queen butterfly next to a monarch butterfly caterpillar.

We wish to thank all our friends and family who took these journeys with us and helped make the stories happen. You're the best!