That’s the question that’s been going around the web blogasphere within the past week–I’ve received two of them.

This magnificent Black Swallowtail visited my garden yesterday afternoon.

This beautiful creature has been visiting my garden for a few days now, but I can’t ID it.  Is it a butterfly or a moth?  It always lands with its wings outspread (or maybe that’s the only time I notice it).  It hangs around close to the ground, as shown here on top of weeds that I pulled and left on the grass.  I’ve never seen it nectar on anything.  I hope someone out there can tell us what this is.

I’ve also seen a few Red Admirals this summer, but very few Monarchs.

Is it because we in the Chicago region are having a cool, and rainy summer?  In my observance, the populations of all common insects is down.  Vitually no mosquitoes and the Japanes Beetles were here for only a very short time.  There haven’t been any pesky flies in the house and I don’t remember the June Bugs hurling themselves against my screens.   I haven’t seen any aphids or lady bugs.  I haven’t heard the whine of locusts and where are the grasshoppers of late summer?

Or is this the canary in the coal mine?



On the other hand, bees seem to be abundant, especially bumblebees, attracted overwhelmingly to the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) in my gardens.



To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

And revery alone will do

If bees are few.

Emily Dickenson

How many butterflies and bees have you seen this year?   This blog is directed to Midwest gardeners, but let us know from what part of the Midwest you live in.


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