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Last week I spotted some lacewing eggs on a rush milkweed plant.

Lacewings are easy to identify because they lay their eggs on the tips of a threads of stiff silk.

The eggs looked really cool because they were backlit, but there was a strong breeze and it was impossible to focus properly.

So, I went out again a few days later.

It was much easier to focus.

But wait. What are those pinkish fuzzy things on the eggs?

The pink fluffs are lacewing larvae. In a stroke of what was entirely luck, I happened to catch the larvae hatching out of the eggs!!

The eggs that are white have hatched. The ones that are pinkish haven't hatched yet.

It's amazing what you can observe if you take a minute.

What did you see this week?

 

The dragonflies are swarming my neighborhood this week.

Dragonflies are fun to watch because they often return to the same perch over and over, giving you the opportunity to observe them closely.

Watch the abdomen on this one.

It has tipped its abdomen up into what is called the "obelisk posture."

It is possible that it saw my camera as a threat and this was a defensive move. On the other hand, it was a hot day and scientists have suggested the obelisk posture is a way dragonflies adjust their exposure to sunlight and keep from overheating.

Cool!

Insect swarms have been in the news this summer.

This week it was pallid-winged grasshoppers in Las Vegas (see for example, this story in LiveScience) or check out this AP video

The grasshoppers aren't the only ones.  Last week there was an article about flying ants in Britain being picked up by weather satellites (Guardian article) and in June it was supposedly ladybugs in Southern California (LA Times article) spotted on weather radar, although later reports say no one could verify which insects were actually detected.

Although these swarms can be alarming or exciting depending on your perspective, they are completely natural. Because insects may reproduce rapidly when food supplies are high and enemies are sparse, many species have the potential to build up to high numbers.

In fact, it is probably not amazing that insect blizzards happen, but that that don't happen even more often.

In a matter of days the insects either migrate away, are eaten, or come to the end of their life cycles. As quickly as they appear, they are gone again.

So for now, grasshoppers are simply having their 15 minutes of fame (or is it infamy?)