Sunday, October 5, 2008

Within the Fields of Gold

The world is full of deception.
At every turn, something is not what it first appears to be.
And a closer look reveals the true being.

Autumn Evening

Even in our field, now quiet of birds and chirping insects, except for a lone cricket in the tall grass, a deceiver is among us.


Winding around the heavily flowered stems of goldenrod, peeking from the bright stalks as I walk past, Locust Borer beetles. Their inch-long slender black and yellow striped bodies more like those of yellow jackets than the harmless (to humans) beetles they are. Drawn to visit these flowers of fall as adults, the larva feed, tunneling within the branches of Black Locust, a common tree to fill disturbed areas of the Midwest.

Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
spring blossoms

With red legs and long antennae, they have emerged as adults, buzzing from one golden top to the next.

Locust Borer, Megacyllene robiniae

Beside the honeybees and wasps.
As if they were one and the same.
Yet, deceivers.

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16 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What an intersting bug. I have never noticed one of these around here. We have a locust tree in our garden. I will have to look around to see if there are any of these beetles around here.

nina said...

I found some exactly a year ago, in the goldenrod patch, as yesterday.
I'm sure our trees supply them well, and our field, the adults! It was absolutely FULL of them.

KGMom said...

Nina--I never like the sound of a tree borer--do these do long term harm to the trees?
And, are they native beetles, or some exotic imports?

nina said...

Donna--Apparently they can do damage to the trees, though these locusts sprout in the middle of the lawn if we're not diligent mowers. And the trees are difficult to keep in their place, determinedly coming back, even after harshly cut down!
From what I've read, the borer IS a native insect to North America.
So, maybe they're a "good" thing after all?

bobbie said...

But they're so pretty.

dguzman said...

Cool and informative post! I will watch for these guys on the goldenrod.

scienceguy288 said...

Ah, goldenrod. It is almost time for my annual sinus infection.

Beverly said...

[had considered a comment and then read the scienceguy...

and spewed coffee all over the keyboard...

NCmountainwoman said...

One of the best things about your blog is that it reminds us to take a closer look at things. Loved the pictures.

richies said...

amazing photos. maybe we all need to take a closer look at the world around us.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I have never seen a bug that looks like that,before.Very interesting.

onangelwings said...

That bug looks beautiful on that flower.

Reader Wil said...

You have shown us a very interesting set of photos to tell the story of the locust! Good post.

Reader Wil said...

You have shown us a very interesting set of photos to tell the story of the locust! Good post.

spacedlaw said...

Nice post!

Jay said...

Ooh, I love that beetle! It's amazing how nature uses warning colouration - it's likely that beetle is nasty-tasting or actually poisonous to predators. I don't think it's enough like a yellow jacket to be using mimicry for defence.

We don't see them here in the UK, but he's very pretty! I love beetles.