Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flapjack bugs me...


Sometimes bugs will turn up in the most unexpected locations and when you least expect them.

Flapjack is one of the few things I can claim to cook with a degree of success and I had just completed a batch a few days ago and was about to put the unused ingredients back into the kitchen cupboard, when something caught my eye. I caught the tiny red 'thing' and took it outside to photograph...



Not good news! This was a red flour beetle. These beetles feed on flour and cereals and can multiply into large populations.

Time to get back inside and empty every cupboard to search for any other individuals. I discovered 9 or 10 more in two cupboards and, as expected, in a part used bag of flour, a few more.


After researching these little pests I quickly came to realise just how common they are in the home and even more interesting, they almost certainly ended up in the kitchen by being present in shop-bought flour, as either larvae or eggs.

Having completely and thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, we are now on beetle watch to make sure none survived or worse that any missed eggs have hatched.

In case you are wondering? Yes, everything food-wise had to be replaced and, no, the flapjack wasn't affected in anyway. 

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Moving on then, with the approach of winter the amount of insects and bugs is naturally falling off now; in some cases literally. Over the months past, trees have been home to untold species of invertebrates and autumn means that the leaves begin to fall. That in turn means that many of the bugs and insects that once were high up in the canopy, are now on the ground and so it seemed the right time to get out and begin looking under a few windfalls to see what I could find...

A Barkfly 
A Barkfly nymph
Another type of Barkfly nymph




A Hoverfly larva


I found quite a number of very small hopper nymphs hiding away under some of the leaves...












And then of course there are the ever present springtails...
















And to give you a better idea of just how minute some of these are, here's an un-cropped photo..



Even though this looks so small here, it was still photographed at higher than 1:1 magnification and so is larger than life-size.

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Under leaves is not the only environment that harbours insects and bugs that may be over-wintering, anything lying around on the ground is worth checking now. In what was a fabulous bluebell wood earlier this year and now seems quite bare and lifeless, I found an old signboard that somebody had thrown away and underneath, this beautiful butterfly pupa...



It's a large white butterfly chrysalis and for what will eventually become a plain-white butterfly, quite intricate and colourful.

I took a few more shots...




Isn't it amazing that even at this stage, when it won't morph into a butterfly for about another 6 months, you can already see the detail of the antennae and wing structure?


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No frosty days yet means that there are also bugs and insects still to be found on the vegetation...




The two photos above show early instar Red-legged Shieldbug nymphs.

I also found an adult insect but not the same species, this is Troilus luridus, the Bronze Shieldbug. The adults of this particular bug can be found all year round; they feed on the larvae of other insects and caterpillars.




Next was this large damsel bug...



And then this fantastic crab spider...


This is Diaea dorsata, a striking spider that has white ringed eyes and this bright green colour with cream abdomen.

And so I think perhaps it's time to wind up another blog update, thank you for being there to read this stuff and for my final photograph today, how about this shot of a geranium flower reflected in a water droplet? No mystery photo this time? Well only if you look closely at that droplet...is it just a water drop? What are those strands above it?



Until next time...


4 comments:

  1. More cracking images JJ! The detail in that chrysalis is especially astonishing! To already see those antennae and proboscis in such detail is incredible!
    Wonderful set of leaflitter critters and of course, I just love the shieldbugs!

    Might have put me off flapjacks for a while though....even if they weren't 'infected'. I have a 'pet' colony of psocids which I found in some flower some time ago! Does make you wonder what is in all of our food which we simply don't know about.....!
    M

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  2. Thank-you Maria. Things are slowing down for winter now but still, doing my best to find subjects of interest. Not sure about your psocids, but the weevils are quite crunchy! ;-)

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  3. Oh dear!! Flower???? Lol!! I mean flour obviously..... blonde moment.....

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  4. Don't worry Maria, I knew what you meant. No further sightings of late and so I am hopeful they have been banished for good now.

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