A few weeks ago, the wolfberry was in bloom and covered with insect visitors.
Today the Texas sage is blanketed with flowers.
We had a lot of rain this month, and Texas sage plants bloom in response to humidity and rain.
The insects respond, too.
The thumb-sized carpenter bees caught my eye, but they were too fast for a close up.
Does this look like a honey bee?
Surprise! It is a syrphid fly. It was more cooperative and sat still for its photograph.
Here’s another smaller syrphid fly (sometimes called a flower fly.) It also posed.
The honey bees looked strange. Instead of the usual golden brown, most were covered with white pollen.
Would you believe the thorax of this sweat bee is bright green?
It looks like it is covered with snow.
All these insects are pollinators, which means they carry pollen from plant to plant and help many types of plants produce viable seeds. Some recent reports have shown that pollinators may need extra assistance in order to survive and thrive. Check out a recent article which suggests being messy in the garden is a good way to provide places for pollinators to shelter over winter.
When I visited the yard this morning to take photographs for this post, first I checked to see what was flowering. Flowers are great places to find insects.
The little leaf cordia (Cordiaparviflolia) attracted my eye. It was covered with clusters of white blossoms.
The flowers were beautiful, but nothing was visiting them. In contrast, the plant next to it was humming and buzzing.
That’s the wolfberry, Lycium species. It isn’t much to look at from a human perspective.
From an insect’s perspective, however, it was an open grocery store.
The honey bees and digger bees were lining up to sip nectar.
Smaller bees were wrapped around the anthers harvesting pollen.
When it was done, the underside of this one’s abdomen was white with pollen.
Snout butterflies visited the flowers, too. They are drab when sitting like this.
Numerous flower flies and a few wasps flitted around. This flower or hover fly has a really big head compared to the rest of its body.
From the street (top photograph) the wolfberry bush looks like a small cluster of brownish branches on the left between the bright green Texas sage on the bottom left and the little leaf cordia. If you didn’t know the wolfberry was there, you wouldn’t even see it. Just the same, it provides food for hundreds of insects which in turn pollinate our gardens and serve as food for wildlife.
I hope I can continue to convince our homeowner’s association that it deserves to stay.