Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buggin' Out on Thursdays :: Bee Flies for the Virtual Bug Collection

Bee fly drawing copyright © 1996 by Louise Kulzer

Eating larvae and sipping nectar is a way of life.

It's a bee? It's a fly? It's a bee fly!

It's also Buggin' Out on Thursdays.

When my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary a couple years ago, we stayed at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa outside of Austin, Texas. The resort has a small butterfly garden. Even though it was nearing the end of September there were still flowers in bloom and insect activity. I was mesmerized by a little fuzzy buzzy "bee" sipping the nectar of yellow wildflowers.

After checking out (a site where naturalists post and identify bug photos) I tracked down my "strange little bee" and found out it's actually related to flies and is, in fact, a true fly which mimics a honeybee so as to ward off predators.

It has a plump, fuzzy body with stripes of (sometimes) brown and yellow. The species I captured in my photos has a long proboscis with which to reach nectar. There are different types of bee flies and the Family name for them is Bombyliidae. Their name reminds me of Tom Bombadil from J.R.R. Tolkien's writings!

They have been called the Harbingers of Spring. The early "bee fly" gets the "worm", so to speak, because these insects get busy at the very beginning of Spring to lay their eggs near the eggs of beetles, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, or on eggs of grasshoppers. The bee fly larvae hatch first, have a chance to mature a bit, and when the host egg hatches our little buddy has something good and nutritious laying within easy reach!

If you think you spot a bee fly I hope you have your camera ready because they hover and dart. They are much faster than true bees. They remind me of hummingbirds! I had trouble following this little one around with my camera because she was so speedy. I love the way her back legs trail behind her as she zips to the flowers!

If you have a bug story, blog post, or photo you'd like to share leave a comment and add to the Virtual Bug Collection!

What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kim Chi Cravings

I recently bought Kim Chi Ramyun noodles from my local oriental market because I was craving Korean kimchi. The noodles are good because the seasoning packet has the flavor of kim chi but haven't sated my craving for cabbage kimchi!

I can't find fresh kimchee in the grocery stores or markets so I've decided to make my own.

Searching the web, I found two great videos with different recipes:

How To Make Kimchi on
How to make kimchi using western cabbage on

I'm amazed at all the different recipes out there and these are two that sounded yummy to me. There are so many variations, it's impossible to try them all. The kind of kimchi I know and love is red-orange, spicy, flavorful, and gloriously odoriferous!

If you have a favorite home-made recipe for kimchi, please share it with me!

This craving was sparked by the blog post of Kat @ Our Adventures In Japan:
kim chee potato salad

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buggin' Out on Thursdays :: A Virtual Bug Collection

Butterfly Cocoon - Lost Pines Resort Butterfly Garden

Apparently, based off all the photographs of insects and bugs and other creepy crawlies I've collected over the last few months, I like bugs! I hadn't really noticed how often I find and snap pictures of little bugs and spiders until I started sorting through all the photos stored in my camera.

I love the picture of this butterfly cocoon (above). It was taken at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa outside of Austin, Texas when my husband and I were there to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The resort is wonderful and we spent a lot of time hiking and swimming but also squeezed in time for kayaking down the river!

I'm blogging my collection of bugs starting every Thursday with photos and a few interesting tidbits about each specimen in my "virtual" bug collection. I guess I prefer collecting bugs via photos rather than to euthanize them, stick a pin through them, and mount them in a glass case!

Here is a preview of what is to come:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Meet Teddy!

He's a teeny Lhasa Apso who belongs to my Gran. He is so small, like a cat, and only eats about a 1/2 Cup of dog food a day. Quite a difference from my two dogs who seem to have bottomless pits for stomachs.

While my Gran was out of town I got to be Teddy's "dogsitter" and he ran with the big dogs for five glorious days. Such a cutie. He took a few tumbles but held his own while they were playing in the backyard. Whenever he tried to boss Darcy around, Banzai would come join the fray and break up the tussle.