Visitors to the Hibiscus by Todd Henson

I’m continually fascinated by all the life we so often overlook. We plant flowers and watch them grow, admiring their beautiful buds, but we often miss the small insects that make these plants their home or feeding ground.

One afternoon I decided to photograph the hibiscus flowers, but quickly began noticing the little bugs crawling over the plants. So I pointed my macro lens at the insects and continued shooting, having a great time exploring their closeup world.

Long-legged Flies

A Long-legged Fly on an hibiscus leaf.

Top down view of an iridescent, metallic looking Long-legged Fly.

I caught movement on the leaves of an hibiscus and noticed a fly, but different from typical house flies. These are Long-legged Flies, and are considered beneficial by gardeners as they feed on some of the pests in gardens, such as spider mites and aphids. I love their iridescent metallic sheen. Even flies can be beautiful.

Spotted Cucumber Beetles

A Spotted Cucumber Beetle with hibiscus pollen on its legs.

A Spotted Cucumber Beetle eating the hibiscus pollen off its front legs.

Facing the Spotted Cucumber Beetle.

Next up I found a Spotted Cucumber Beetle feeding on hibiscus pollen. Grains of pollen were all over its legs, and a couple pieces were even stuck to its antennae. This beetle is considered a garden pest as it eats the leaves of many agricultural plants. In this particular case, though, perhaps it may help pollinate the hibiscus.

Notice the yellow grains of pollen of the hibiscus flower.

Looking closely inside the hibiscus you can see the grains of pollen.

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhoppers

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper on an hibiscus leaf.

Moving in closer to the Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper.

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper on the edge of an hibiscus leaf.

Last up was a very interesting insect, a Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper, with stripes of green, orange, and cyan. They get the name leafhopper because of how they hop around the leaves. The sharpshooter part is apparently due to the small holes they create when plunging their mouthparts into leaves to extract the sap. Because of how they feed and what they feed on they are considered a garden pest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short excursion among the insects frequenting the hibiscus in the garden. What sorts of insects have you found around your flowers and garden plants? Are they beneficial or pests?


Wildflowers of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge by Todd Henson

All the flowers in this post were found while hiking the trails of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in northern Prince William County, Virginia. This location contains a variety of terrain such as wetlands, fields, and forest, providing home to a large range of beautiful wildflowers. Most of the flowers are small and in small groupings and can be found along the edges of the different trails.

This initial grouping of flowers were all photographed on the same day in early June, but I hope to update this page over time adding new flowers found on the refuge.

Click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

American Water-willow

American Water-willow, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

American Water-willow, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Bird’s Foot Trefoil

 

Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

 

Carolina Horse Nettle

Carolina Horse Nettle, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Carolina Horse Nettle (photobomb), Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Common Daylily

Common Daylily, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed with a Monarch Butterfly, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

A Bumblebee on Common Milkweed, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Common Yarrow

Common Yarrow, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Crown Vetch

Crown Vetch Closeup, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Crown Vetch, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Cutleaf Evening-primrose

Cutleaf Evening-primrose growing close to the ground with groupings of both yellow and orange flowers, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Cutleaf Evening-primrose growing close to the ground with groupings of both yellow and orange flowers, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Deptford Pink

 

Deptford Pink, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

 

Hairy Skullcap

Hairy Skullcap, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Hairy Skullcap, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy Closeup, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Oxeye Daisy, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Sundrop

Sundrop, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Sundrop, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Virginia Rose

Virginia Rose, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019

Virginia Rose, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Early June 2019


I hope you enjoyed this selection of flower photographs from Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. And I hope it encourages you to get out and hike your own local parks, keeping your eyes open for any wonderful wildflowers growing along the way.

Many thanks to Alexander S. Kunz for identifying the Cutleaf Evening-primrose. Please check out Alex’s website and weblogs for some beautiful photography and education about the nature and landscapes around Southern California.