Tag Archives: insects

Let’s Hear It for the Little Guy!

Praying Mantis 1

Haiku 262

The predator hunts

Watching me while stalking prey

Tiny but deadly


Praying Mantis 2

Shortly after I had filled my newly painted blue pots with plants and placed them on the stoep, I noticed this little guy checking them out.

It seems he was drawn to the bright blue colour that complemented his own bright green.

Praying Mantis 3

In the process of spraying my bronze pots, I went to check on them to see how they were drying –

And on one of the pots, I found this little guy – all bronze!

By the time I had got my camera he had left the pot and was creeping away in the leaf litter.

Praying Mantis 4

At first I was horrified, thinking I had inadvertently sprayed the poor thing with paint, while spraying my plant pots.

On closer inspection, I realised this was just his colour.

I had never seen a bronze praying mantis before!

Maybe the little bronze guy was trying to camouflage himself on the bronze pots, just as the bright green mantis was blending in on the bright blue pot.

Amazing how like attracts like.



Busy Little Bee

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 1

Haiku 244

Busy Little Bee

Buzz from flower to flower

Pollinate away!


Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 2

Hard to believe it is winter here in Cape Town, when the honeysuckle is in full bloom.

And bees are hard at work collecting nectar and pollen, while pollinating the colourful flowers for the next generation.

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 3

This little guy is a Cape Honey Bee  Apis mellifera capensis and is indigenous to South Africa.


A Study in Grey

Dragonfly 1

Haiku 182

Marvel of Nature

Four independent structures

A Dragonfly’s wing


Dragonfly 2

I spotted this Dragonfly the other day. She hovered all around my pool, before finally settling for a moment right at the edge, providing the perfect photo opportunity!

Dragonfly 3

She is a drab grey colour, so boring compared to the bright blue or red ones I used to see as a kid.

However, she is still a magnificent piece of aeronautical engineering; designed by nature!


post script: You can find out here: Ten fascinating facts about Dragonflies.


Little Green Monster

Praying Mantis 1

Haiku 178

Little green monster

Just want to live like us all

We each have a place


Praying Mantis 2

I first saw this tiny praying mantis inside on the window ledge in our bedroom. I carefully shooed him out of the window so he could be free.

A few days later I was sitting out in the garden under the trees having a cuppa, when I noticed him on the chair with my coffee cup.

Praying Mantis 3

This was a marathon effort for such a teeny fellow; to climb down the wall and across an open expanse of 10 metres of grass. Then he had climbed up a wooden garden bench to settle on the upturned plastic garden chair that sits there when not in use!

Praying Mantis 4

He had then clung on when I took down the chair and placed it beside me as a table.

I guess he really wanted his picture taken again!


Social Butterfly


Haiku 177

Flitting here and there

Never settling anywhere

Social Butterfly



I’ve been trying to capture a shot of this large butterfly for a while now, but it is so fast and flies so erratically, that it’s been very difficult! Finally, I managed this one shot as it flitted over the roof.

When you see this butterfly in real life you think it’s got to be a bird; it’s so large! Indeed, it is nearly as big as the Sunbirds that visit my honeysuckle. I estimate its wingspan at around 10 cm (4 inches).

It looks like a King Swallowtail, Papilio Thoas, even though Wiki does not say it is found in SA. Or a Constantine Swallowtail, Papilio Constantinus, or Forest Swallowtail, Papilio Euphranor, which are found in SA. They all look the same to me!


You Busy Little Bee

Bee on Lavender 1

Haiku 133

What’s that sound I hear?

Buzzing round the lavender

Busy little bee!


Bee on Lavender 2

This is the Cape honey bee, Apis mellifera capensis, indigenous to South Africa.

Bees are one insect that I am happy to have in my garden; along with Ladybirds of course.

Bee on Lavender 3

Pollinate away my tiny friend.


post script: I was pretty chuffed with these close ups, (Let’s ignore the several blurred ones that I deleted!) taken with my trusty Canon point and click camera.


I Just Want to Find the Dead Body!

Comfort Flowers 1

Haiku 117

Scuttlings in the night

An unwelcome visitor

Scare me half to death



I just want to find the dead body!

Yes, I said these very words the other day. Taken out of context, they might seem a little strange!

This is the story.

I was fast asleep one night when I heard the deep drone of a heavy flying insect; the kind that are too big to fly, but do so anyway. It flew right past my ear at 12.30 am; crash landed in some boxes in the corner of the room and proceeded to dig its way inside.

This totally freaked me out!

Now no-one else hears these tiny noises when fast asleep in the middle of the night. But I do. I think it is compensation for not seeing too well, though I could do without this “gift”.

I know, without seeing it, that it is a giant cockroach. Shudder!! Even typing the word creeps me out! How did it get in the house? It must have crawled or flown in through the bathroom window before I closed it for the night.

These bugs are massive, easily 4 cm. It is an American cockroach, which, despite the name, is native to Africa and the Middle East. If you are very brave, you can click on the link here and be scared half to death along with me!

So here I am: The Last of the Great Hunters; bug hunting in boxes.

I have sprayed everywhere till the floor is sopping wet (maybe I can drown it!) and the fumes are suffocating.

Take That!

And Die Already!!!


post script: To date I still haven’t found the dead body, but I can no longer hear the scuttlings. I am hoping for the best!

Due to the nature of this post the accompanying photo is not of the bug, but a gratuitous one of pretty flowers. You’re welcome!



Dragonfly 1

Haiku 103

Oh grey dragonfly

Marvel of engineering

How can you be drab?


It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a dragonfly hovering over the pool, so I was excited to see this one, even though he is a drab grey and not the scintillating red or blue I used to see.

Dragonfly 2

I know dragonflies get a bad rap, but they are still amazing! Just look at the marvel of natural engineering that is their wings, and the muscle needed on their back to power their flight. Each wing is powered by a separate muscle, giving them incredible manoeuvrability. Marvellous!

I had fun trying to get close enough for a half decent shot of this tiny guy. I only had my little point and click Canon so tried to creep as near as possible. Every time I got within a few metres, he took off. But he did circle around and settle on the bricks again. It seemed he liked the spot!


Unusual Visitor!

Violet Carpenter Bee 1

Violet Carpenter Bee 1

Look what I found buzzing around in the garden the other day. Well, actually Little Monkey found it first. I chased her inside in case she tried to eat it!

Violet Carpenter Bee 2

Violet Carpenter Bee 2

It was a massive insect and clearly having some trouble, as it flapped around on the ground, occasionally buzzing in my direction and causing me to spring back with my camera!

At first I thought it was a Blue Black Hairy Flower Wasp.

On further investigation I think it is more likely a Carpenter Bee.

Specifically, a Violet Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa violacea.

I thought, “Shame man. Poor bee struggling in this wind,” and I put some sugar water out for it. It went straight to it, but I didn’t see it drink.

Violet Carpenter Bee 3

Violet Carpenter Bee 3

Then I went back inside and read some more about this amazing insect. Apparently they emerge now, at the end of winter or beginning of spring. “Oh, that’s interesting,” I mused. “Maybe it’s just emerged from a dead tree somewhere.”

Violet Carpenter Bee 4

Violet Carpenter Bee 4

I then found out that they bore massive holes in dead wood. “That’s cool,” I think, “I’m sure there’s plenty of dead wood around the neighbourhood.”

Then I thought; “Hey, wait a minute. All my window frames and doors, not to mention all my furniture inside the house, are wood; dead wood! Ooopsie. What have I done?”

I checked outside again, but the Violet Carpenter Bee had buzzed off!

Hopefully to a new destination, far away from my dead wood.


post script: On the fascinating subject of insects, did you know that there was a new type of beetle discovered in Cape Town last year?