Insects of our Virginia Garden

Some are friends, some are not, but all are truly beautiful. Nature never ceases to amaze me, with it’s diversity of designs and patterns, logic and engineering. Each creature with it’s own line in this single song we call uni-verse. This gallery is only a brief collection of all that we witnessed over the summer season. Many, I am sure, evaded our eyes altogether.

Honeybee on Borage
Borage is one of my favorite garden herbs, simply because it's a magnet for honeybees. This worker bee is busy collecting nectar and pollen to return to the colony. Honeybees use pollen for protein and nectar for carbohydrates. I do hope our collection of Borage and other blooms resulted in a waggle dance back at the colony.
Black bee feasting from a cucumber flower
I'm in the process of trying to identify this bee. It's not one I've seen before. In person it looked as black as a polished shoe and was about the size of a honeybee. Here, she is feasting on the offerings of a cucumber bloom.
Jewel Wasp
This Jewel Wasp is gathering pollen from a Black Brandywine Tomato bloom. Some Jewel Wasp species are parasitoids - meaning they choose a host insect to kill in order to complete their life cycle.
Brown grasshopper in Sage leaves
Grasshoppers are generally frowned upon in gardening as they're quick to destroy an entire crop. Fortunately we didn't see such behavior this year and never saw any damage to the sage where the grasshoppers were always living their best lives.
Green grasshopper resting on a sage leaf.
Another grasshopper minding its business in the sage. I never saw them anywhere besides the sage bush and even it was left unbothered.
Hornworm with Wasp Pupa
This hornworm has been attacked by a bracanoid wasp. The wasp lays eggs inside of the worm where they feed and emerge into the pupa stage. This event results in death of the Hornworm. Wasps are a garden ally, as these worms can cause enormous damage to a tomato crop.
Cabbage looper eating cabbage leaf
Cabbage loopers are quick to destroy your cole crops. At this size the damage is minimal, but they grow quickly and the larger they become the more damage they create. Wasps are helpful, but picking them off of your plants early will help manage their destruction.
Squash bug eggs laid on the edge of a Patty Pan leaf.
Squash bug eggs are easy to spot, usually found in 10-15 tiny brown or red-hued clusters on either side of squash plant leaves. If your plant's leaves are turning yellow and dying these bugs could be the culprit.
Orange colored bug with black and white legs
I am still working to identify this crazy looking creature. It was quick on its feet and is not one I've seen very many times this season. I love the pattern on its legs - very dramatic indeed!
Swallowtail caterpillar on Dill
This Swallowtail caterpillar nearly doubled in size daily for the week we watched it. It and many others were quite content to devour the Dill in order to thrive. Fortunately I planted more than enough to share. I look forward to more Swallowtails visiting our garden.
Swallowtail butterfly on marigolds
Yellow swallowtails are great pollinators of the garden. The females are slightly larger than the males, though their patterns are similar. Their only diet is flower nectar, making Marigolds like these and other flowering plants an important element of the garden.
Paper Wasp explores the garden
This Paper Wasp is another ally of the garden. Earlier in the season I witnessed one feeding on the remains of a cabbage looper that was destroying our brassicas.