... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Amazing Daisy Mums

An unusual October snow came through here over the weekend. It broke trees and wreaked havoc with the power grid (we had no power for about 24 hours). But in spite of at least 6 inches of snow trying to crush and freeze them, the daisy-type mums still look great. I'm sure their hardiness is being appreciated by the assorted life that's buzzing all around them today. The ample pollen and nectar is feeding an assortment of flies and even a handful of honeybees. But most of all, there are dozens of hoverflies/bee-flies/syrphid-flies. I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure these are beneficials - I seem to recall that their larvae are major consumers of aphids. So, it makes me happy to see that these mums are pulling double duty - they're not only pretty but providing some meals to honeybees and other beneficial insects when other food is kind of scarce.

1 - The snow on Sunday morning
2 - Fly on apricot-colored mum
3 - Honeybee on yellow
4 - Bee-fly on white

1 comment:

  1. Well, it turns out that the hoverfly isn't one with an aphid-eating larval stage. A retired entomologist friend confirms that it's a species of Eristalis which have what are commonly know as rat-tailed maggots. These live in rotting organic matter or are aquatic, but don't feed on aphids like many of the other syrphid flies do. Even so, they're still kind of neat to watch.