Spring Sap Feeding Insects

Lucilia sp. Green Bottle Fly

Green Bottle Fly

Last December we had a thirty-year old Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) cut down. Norway Maples are an invasive alien species and should no longer be planted in Michigan. It is a brittle tree. One of the reasons we removed the tree was that the top had fallen through our garage roof.

Beginning in spring, the stump began ooze sap. Mourning Cloak and Red Admiral butterflies came to feed on the sweet sap. As the weather warmed, the sap became bitter but the insects still came. They were interested in the liquid, not just the sugar content.

Pollenia sp.  Cluster Fly

Cluster Fly

Several species of flies began to feed. Green Bottle Flies (Lucilia sp.) with their iridescent green body feed on the sap. This is one of the Blow Flies. Cluster Flies (Pollenia sp.) appeared by the hundreds. Their wings overlap when they are resting. Parasitic Flies in the genus Ptilodexia also came. Most species in this group have a gray and black thorax.

Parasitic fly Ptilodexia sp.

Parasitic fly Ptilodexia sp.

A lone Digger Bee (Melissodes sp.) showed up. They are also called Long-horned Bees because of their long segmented antennae. Their body and legs are hairy.

Melissodes  Digger or Long-horned Bee

Digger or Long-horned Bee

I have spent a few fun weeks looking at the insects visiting my stump. I come home from work, step around the corner of my garage, and see who is feeding. It is a nice diversion. Nature surrounds us. We just need to look for it.

Copyright 2014 by Donald Drife

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