Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees...

We hadn't even arrived in Palmyra when the neighbour we asked to check our mail for us sent me a message:
There are tons of these really big buzzing bugs in your yard. I didn't get close enough to see for sure if they were a kind of bee or not because honestly they were freaking me out. Just wanted you to know in case there is a hive somewhere near you.
I told her that we'd check it out when we came home (because what else were we going to do?) and in the meantime she was very brave and continued to collect our mail for us (or forced her children to, either way we're grateful).

We hadn't noticed any such creatures before we left on our trip, but sure enough, upon arriving home we noticed that our front yard was swarming with gigantic, buzzing, yellow-bodied insects. We observed them from a distance at first (because we didn't want to go poking around too closely in case we should stumble into a nest) and noticed that they seemed to be congregating around our tree. The funny thing was that once they were on the tree they seemed to be mingling amicably with some shiny green beetles that were sharing the vicinity.

It was so weird to watch. It looked almost as if the hornet-like creatures were morphing into green beetles and back again. We googled "green beetle that acts like bee" and found that the southern green June beetle fit the description just fine (though both the girls wondered why they'd be called June beetles in July). Their fore wings (elytra) are green and when fully open they reveal their yellow (bee-like) abdomen.

I tried to get a few pictures of them on macro, but this proved difficult because they kept scurrying around and Benjamin kept bumping into me, wildly swinging an empty sour cream container around, and yelling, "Catch! Catch! Catch!" as he frightened my subjects away.

The only ones that remained still enough for photos were busy unabashedly making even more June beetles to plague our front yard (they didn't even care when Benjamin poked them with a stick):

So, now we know that we don't have a wasp problem or a bee problem, which is good, because the pool has had one and it's been terrifying to get from our car to the pool for weeks now and I certainly didn't want to be dealing with that at home, too. But it seems we have a slight June beetle problem that might be slightly more problematic next year due to the number of pairs I found mating under our tree...


  1. I've always called them June bugs, and have also wondered why since they tend to be seen more in July.

    Some people like to catch them and tie a string to one of their legs and watch them fly in circles.

    I found this during a quick google search.

  2. We might just have to try that. ;)

  3. We had them in Phoenix when I was growing up, but I remember them being black with a dark, shiny green stripe. And, yes, we would tie strings to their legs to see them fly in circles.