May 31, 2013

Lilac Love

Insects love lilacs. When I went out to pick some flowers for the house a few days ago, I saw the air around the shrub alive with movement, heard a loud buzzing and humming. The beautiful, fragrant flowers were attracting all kinds of insects, including the most beautiful, the Swallowtail butterfly.

Not only grand beauties sip at the flowers; there is also a small dark butterfly with fringed wings.

And then there are bees of all sorts, including the big bumblebee.

And other creatures that I think are bees....

....but because of their shapes I'm not sure. I love the big red eyes on this one.

And this, I believe, is a honeybee. I didn't see them for years, but last year they began reappearing, which is very welcome.

There were many of these little, dark insects, most just sitting on the leaves.

And here, my favorite of all: a fuzzy insect with a long proboscis with which it sipped from deep inside the lilac floret. Us humans appreciate the lilac flowers aesthetically, but for these insects they are sustenance and life.

*I suggest clicking on the images to enlarge them (on the blog to see a slide show) to get a better look at these insects.


  1. My lilac hosts a tiny beautiful humingbird who darts and swirls as she sips.

    1. I've seen hummingbirds, but not at the lilac: this morning one sipped at the geranium on the front porch. I did catch a glimpse of a hummingbird moth, though it zoomed away before I could photograph it.

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  3. These are great! The butterfly in 2 is an Eastern Pine Elfin. 3 is a bumblebee and 6 is a bee, though small for a honeybee maybe. The others are all flies (search for "bee-mimic flies" and you'll see the great numbers of them). The last one is really crazy looking, and new to me -- would you mind if I asked some entomologists for i.d.? With proper attribution, of course. Fantastic album!

    1. Thanks Susan, glad you like the photos, and thanks for telling me that the other insects are flies. I had thought they might be but someone on facebook insisted that they weren't, but said that the last one was a bee fly; when I looked that up, I saw quite a few images of this very insect.
      Feel free to share the photo for a proper ID.

  4. Ah! You're right -- no need for experts, if you think it looks just like Bombylius major -- it's from that angle that makes it look like the wings are opaque and half white, and the fur whitish too.