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Look what you can find under a rock in the desert:

termites

Do you know what they are?

termites2

These are termites.

Most of us probably only think of termites as pests that eat our homes, but in reality termites are part of nature's clean up crew. They are some of the few organisms that, in partnership with mutualistic gut fauna, are able to digest the cellulose component of wood.

These were apparently on the move, because they were gone when I checked the next day.

Have you ever seen termites?

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Do you remember the beautiful, delicate green lacewings from a few weeks ago? Today we have a relative, the brown lacewing. Or at least, that's what I think it is.

We noticed these small brown insects on our hollyhocks.

brown-lacewing1

It is less than half the size of the brown lacewings we usually have in our yard.

brown-lacewing2

Do you see it's long neck and protruding eyes? What do you think the light-colored object is that is sticking out from its head? (see below*)

Brown lacewing larvae feed on aphids, scales and other small insects. Their habits are similar to the green lacewing. They also lay eggs on a hairlike stalk.

* Those are the lacewing's antennae. They were stuck in the plant hairs on the hollyhock leaf, but this one was eventually able to work itself free. Other insects are not always so lucky.

Post on green lacewing life cycle showing photos of all the stages.

I could have chosen a number of insects for bug of the week today. The mother crab spider's eggs hatched, and the babies were ballooning away last night. I finally caught a cixiid in the act of laying eggs. The list goes on.

But this one really caught my imagination.

lacewing

I've shown you the beautiful, delicate green lacewing adult before.

Here's a mystery:  How many lacewings do you see in the photograph below?

lacewing-hide

Edit: There are three lacewings on this carrot flower.
Post on green lacewing life cycle showing photos of all the stages.