So, what do you bring with you to pick blueberries?
Of course you need your hat and buckets.
But you also might want your camera.
You might need to take a few photographs of the blueberries to remember the day.
You also might want to take a photograph of some newly-hatched shield bug nymphs.
Take a close look at the one on the bottom. It still has the circular lid of its egg stuck to it.
The nymphs look like they are too big to fit in those egg shells, don't they?
What insects have you found in a blueberry patch?
Thank you to Justin for holding the leaf upside down so I could take the photograph.
Have you ever wondered about where insects go in the winter?
It turns out that different kinds of insects have different strategies for avoiding the stresses of winter.
I found two examples of one strategy this morning. The tactic is for the female insects to lay eggs in the fall. Eggs are often more resistant to cold and drying out than other life stages and can be hidden in protected places. In the spring, the eggs hatch and start the cycle again.
This cluster of eggs is on a grapefruit leaf. It will be interesting to find out what kind of insect they hatch into.
Here is the second example. It is an egg case of the Mediterranean mantis, Iris oratoria. The female mantis has added a layer of hard foam around her eggs to further protect them.
Have you found any overwintering insects lately? What was their strategy to protect themselves from the cold?
Insect eggs can be quite mysterious and amazing.
Unfortunately these photos don't show well, but the eggs are covered with ridges and grooves, and sparkle with minature rainbows.
We found them attached to an acacia leaf. The next day they hatched into tiny caterpillars.
Have you ever found insect eggs? Try looking at some under a magnifying lens or microscope.
Edit: If you want to see what these eggs hatched into, check here.