Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Jewish Moth!

I ran my moth trap on the night of 10/03/07 and caught this little beauty. It is the Hebrew Character or Orthosia gothica. The name is derived from the black mark which looks like an angular letter c (or the Hebrew letter Nun).

This moth has one generation between March and early May in southern Britain and a little later in the north and Ireland.

It comes readily to light and sugar, often flying very late in the night, even in cold conditions and feeds at sallow catkins.

It is a resident and common moth, so please look out for it at this time of year.

The Cricket World Cup has started and Bumble has emerged

Spring must be here (10/03/07) as I found this Bumblebee emerging from hibernation in the garage. In fact I nearly trod on the poor critter but just managed to avoid it and place it in the sun where it quickly warmed up from its dopey state and flew off to find some much needed nectar.

This time of the year gives us an excellent chance of identifying Bumblebees. This is because they are all Queens emerging from hibernation and looking for nest sites. The Queen normally gives us clearer colours, especially around the tip of the abdomen and the size is very relevant. Later in the season when the workers and the males emerge from the nest, these two factors can vary quite considerably.

So what should we be looking for?
1. Firstly, note the number of yellow and black bands on the thorax (above the waist line), and the number on the abdomen (below the waist line).
2. Secondly, note the colour of the tail.
3. Thirdly, note the size.
4. Lastly, if possible have a look at the head shape and try and note if the face is as long as it is wide or whether it is longer than wide etc.

In the two photos shown here, the top one clearly shows one yellow and one black stripe on the thorax. The lower photo is not clear on this point, but there is also one yellow and one black stripe on the abdomen. However, it is clear that the tail is orange. I remember that the size was quite small as compared to most Queens at this time of the year. Therefore I think this is a Bombus pratorum or Meadow/Early Bumblebee.