Saturday, September 1

Making up for lost time!

We have a whole row of buddleia on the plot - the result of too much success when taking cuttings. These have been flowering now for a few weeks but there hadn't been much butterfly activity around the flowers that are usually butterfly magnets.  In fact other than the ubiquitous white butterflies and a few gatekeepers, butterflies weren't figuring at all on either the plot or in the garden.
 
Today all that changed the buddleia flowers were alive with peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies and what a treat it was to see them.

The bees were enjoying the sunshine too although this one looks to be wearing a fur jacket.
Looking more closely at this photo, I'm not sure it is a bee. There are flies that pretend to be bees so identification isn't as straightforward as it appears. Bumblebees have two pairs of wings with the smaller hind pair hooked onto the larger pair. I have zoomed up and looked at this photo closely but I'm really not sure whether this furry creature has one or two pairs of wings. Any bee experts out there with a definitive identification.
 
Whatever it was, this insect was enjoying browsing one os the dahlia flowers.
 
Not all insects are as friendly as these - Martyn and I are both suffering lots of bites again this year. Not sure what is biting us but whatever they are I wish they would stop or go find someone else. Anyone else suffering or found a good way of preventing or soothing itchy bites?
 

25 comments:

  1. My Buddleia bush has had some great flowers, but they haven't managed to attract many butterflies. Even the Cabbage Whites have kept a pretty low profile round here.

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    1. I've never seen as many at one time as I did - I think there must have been a mass emergence.

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  2. Not sure what that is either. Looks like a bee having a bad hair day :) We're suffering lots of bites too. Hubby more than me for some reason! Whatever it is seem to some alive in the evening.

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    1. I'm being bitten during the day, Debbie sometimes the itching starts when I haven't even been out!!

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  3. The bites could be harvest mites, especially if you get them round the waistline or bra strap line - they hide in the seams of fabric etc. They jump from the grass onto washing outside, and also hide in the seams of mattresses. We get them in France - they are called 'aoutas' as they come out in August, but boy, do their bites itch! I have a great cream, but have also used the old dock leaf remedy - you can make a cold dock poltice too which is very soothing, especially if you keep it in the fridge.

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    1. These were what I was thinking were the problem, Carol but hoping they weren't. I don't hang washing outside and so if they are jumping they are jumping onto me. I keep vaccing the bed just in case. The bites are literally everywhere and itch for ages leaving bruise type marks that still itch. They seem to build up in number. I was hoping they weren't harvest mites as there doesn't seem to be a way of deterring them! We had the same problem last year so it looks like it could be an annual event

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  4. I've been bitten badly this year which doesn't usually happen. There seem to be an awful lot of mosquito/midge type things about.

    We swear by Avon Skin SoSoft to keep them away - it works for the British Army and doesn't contain some of the more disgusting chemicals which are in insect repellents. BTW, one of our neighbours used to work for the chemical company who made DEET and after some of the things he's told me ..... let's just say I'll stick with Avon :}

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    1. I'll have to try and track this down BW. By the way the weather in Carlisle yesterday was beautiful.

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  5. I haven't been bitten much this year....bugs steer clear of garlic though and I eat quite a lot of it so maybe they don't like the smell of me??? Maybe no-one else does either but if it is keeping the bugs away i guess i can handle the solitude...lol

    Bee or not to bee?? I really don't know...however he sure is a cute looking little critter!!

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    1. He is cut isn't he, Tanya. I wonder if anyone makes garlic body gel?

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    2. Now there's an idea!! even if it's quite a smelly one..lol

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  6. I really haven't seen many butterflies around at all this year, nor bees come to that. My daughter is suffering with insect bites on her legs at the moment from when we went bilberry picking. She had leggings on at the time so nothing could have crawled up them, I'm sure. She must have been bit through the fabric somehow. Hubby wears cut off trousers all summer, but won't venture down to the allotment in them, he always makes sure his legs are fully covered, even on hot days. He was bit so badly a couple of years ago that he had to go to the doctor's and he had to keep returning for the nurse to dress the bites. He's learnt his lesson now.

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    1. I am a cover up person too, Jo. I even tied string round the bottom of my trouser legs last time I went to the plot. It's the covered areas that they are attacking so they must be coming through my clothes. WE have so many bites that at times they make us feel ill.

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  7. I've still not managed to capture any of the butterflies I see in our new garden on camera, I'm just not fast enough. Hopefully once I have tamed our buddleja, and bought another, I can get successful by stalking the plants themselves, at least they don't move!

    I am being bitten loads too, and react really badly, which is maddening. There is an Avon product called "Skin So Soft" which is a spray-on moisuriser, but which also inhibits biting things - apparently the Faslane submarine base personnel swear by it, and certainly I was put on to it by a resident of the Western Isles, who I imagine was highly motivated!

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    1. BW mentioned this product as well so two recommendations must be worth following up! I wonder if it controls harvest mites if that is what we are suffering from as I doubt they get them on submarines.

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  8. Love your butterflies but I really like your bee fly. I feel for you regarding the bites.

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    1. The biters are one lot of wildlife that I can do without Liz.

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  9. Great butterfly photos. Looks like a bee but not sure as you make a good case it may not be. I was also going to suggest Avon; I believe many of their products are bug repellents. I use their sunscreen and I think it repels bugs.

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    1. I've sent in my Avon order today Kelli!

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  10. I've been surprised by how sharp a ladybird bite can be. They don't always bite but when they do you know about it.

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    1. Mmm I remember some years back when there was a plague of ladybirds at I think Mablethorpe. People there were complaining of them biting. There again all the better to bite aphids.

      My bites are definitely not ladybirds though - more some sort of nasty creature with vampire tendencies.

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  11. That's very beautiful butterfly! I think it's bee.
    I have mosquitoes in my garden...they attack me like vampire in the late evening!

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    1. Whatever is biting me, Malar doesn't care when it does it - morning, afternoon, evening or night.

      If the bee is really a bee fly then it wants you to think it is a bee as it pretends to be a bee as protection from predators. Hope you followed that!

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  12. Hi, try here for identifying your mystery flyer:

    http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/identification/common-bumblebees/

    HTH

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    1. Thanks Nanny - I did try looking at this which was what leads me to think that it maybe isn't a bee as I couldn't find anything that looked like it on the chart.

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