Marmalade beauties

insect

Final approach

One of the most common hover flies in my garden is episyrphus balteatus. I am fairly confident about my identification in four of these shots. Less so in the one below.

insect macro

Legs!

I believe episyrphus balteatus is one of the flies also known by the common name, marmalade fly. Obviously, this is because of its colour and not because it has a penchant for preserves!.

insect in flight

Making a bee, err … hoverfly, line

I think hover flies are a delightful addition to the garden. The adults feed entirely on nectar but the larvae are voracious predators of aphids, which makes them jolly useful! Episyrphus balteatus is also one of the best hover fly hoverers, making it a relatively easy target for the photographer.

insect macro

Hovering over candles?

Hover flies disguise themselves as bees or wasps as a defensive mechanism. Unfortunately, they are so good at this that many people assume they are bees or wasps and, if they think the latter, they tend to swat them. What a shame. Hover flies have no sting and no downside for humans. They aren’t even interested in our food.

insect macro

Shimmer

Bee fly returns

insect

I love this time for year for many things, including the crab apple blossom that attracts a rather nice little seasonal character, bombylius major, the bee-fly.  I am perhaps slightly ridiculously fond of this little furry fly.  I did a post about it this time last year and you can see more images of it there.  These are three new ones, snapped in my garden this afternoon.

bombylius major

There’s just something about its little round, furry body, and the way it hovers… well, I am a ‘bug lady’ after all.

bombylius major

Come on admit it, it is cute.

Incredible flying bees

Carder bee on geranium
Despite the drop in temperatures over the last couple of days, the hardy carder bees have still been out and about, seemingly tougher than the honey bees who have almost disappeared. Believe it or not, this geranium is called ‘Jolly Bee’!
Agastache 'Blackadder'
They are still happily visiting carder bee heaven. I can now be more specific than my earlier identification of it as a member of the mint family; it is Agastache ‘Blackadder’.
bee on purple flowers
This one isn’t flying, but I liked the light so included it anyway.
bumble bee in flight
There were a few bumble bees about this morning. This is the first time I have seen them feeding on the solanum jasminoides flowers. Perhaps they are less fussy at this time of year when other flowers are fading. Look at that pollen sac! Amazing that it can fly at all.

Carder bee heaven

Garden colour and bee

It has been several days since a buggy post!  Most unlike me.  But never fear, the carder bees are here!  They have been very happy this weekend, enjoying the lovely warm weather among the late summer flowers in my garden.

bee on purple flowers

I have forgotten the name of this purple flower but no matter; it shall henceforth be known as carder bee heaven.

a carder bee in flight approaching purple flower

Making a bee line

It was rather special, sitting in the border surrounded by gorgeous late summer colour and hordes of very happy bees.

carder bee and purple flowers

Nearly there!

These small bumble bees are very cute.  Or is that just me?

a carder bee on purple flower

My favourite

This last shot isn’t quite as sharp as I would normally like but I just couldn’t help include it: geronimo!

a carder bee takes off from a purple flower

Heavy lifter

If you want to know my technique for shooting flying bugs, see my earlier post, In-flight entertainment where I reveal all my secrets!