Butterflies, Bees and More

The farm is bursting with life. I’m seeing something new every single day. It’s amazing how quickly things change in just a short amount of time.

All of these photos were taken within a 48 hour period when I was trying to find as many different species as possible in our yard, I found a lot!

You may have seen a few of these butterflies while driving lately. Really abundant here in southwest Iowa right now, Painted Ladies use thistle and soybeans as their host plants. They are one of the more familiar butterflies in North America.

Painted Lady butterfly on bachelors buttons.

This ‘Blue Skywalker’ Spike Speedwell has been full of Painted Ladies this week.

This 'Blue Skywalker'  Spike Speedwell has been full of Painted Ladies this week.

Along with this ‘Very Van Gogh’ Speedwell Veronica.

Painted Lady butterflies on 'Very Van Gogh' Speedwell Veronica.

I believe this is in the “skipper” family of butterflies.

Skipper on Speedwell Veronica.

I believe this is in the “sulphur” family of butterflies.

Sulphur on Speedwell Veronica.
Painted Lady butterfly.

Look at these adorable faces. Don’t hit us with your car!

Painted Lady butterflies on Purple Coneflower.
Painted Lady butterflies on milkweed.
Painted Lady butterflies on bee balm.

This is a hummingbird hawk-moth. These visit my larkspur every year. CORRECTION: This is a white-lined sphinx moth sometimes called a hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird hawk-moth.





More of the hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird hawk-moth on larkspur.
Hummingbird hawk-moth on larkspur.

Painted Lady butterfly on a purple cone flower.

Painted Lady butterfly on Purple Coneflower.

I believe this is Ratibida columnifera, one of my new native plants from Midwest Natives Nursery.

Ratibida columnifera

Monarch butterfly on milkweed.

Monarch butterfly on milkweed.
Monarch butterfly on milkweed.

Monarda or bee balm.

Monarda or bee balm.

Bumble bee on monarda or bee balm.

Bumblebee on Monarda or bee balm.

Painted Lady on ‘Blue Skywalker’ Spike Speedwell.

Painted Lady butterfly on Spike Speedwell.

Bumblebee on monarda or bee balm.

Bumblee on monarda or bee balm.
Monarda or bee balm, spike speedwell and liatris.
Monarch on a purpler cone flower.

Purple monarda or bee balm.

Purple monarda or bee balm.
Monarch butterfly on milkweed.
Speedwell veronica and white grass.
Monarch butterfly on milkweed.
White coneflower.

We had a female Black Swallowtail (with very tattered wings) visit and lay eggs on all of the host plants (in the parsley family) that I planted for them. She laid eggs for a very long time. It was a wonderful thing to watch. This is an egg on a dill plant, its almost in the exact center of the photo, if you can find it! PLANT SOME DILL FOR THESE WONDERFUL CREATURES!

Black Swallowtail egg on Dill.

This was a monster bee on larkspur.

Bumblebee on Larkspur.
Bumblebee on Larkspur.

I had two special highlights in my yard today, I saw (what I think was) an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail visiting some of our neighbors thistles. It looked beyond huge but I think that is what it was. Hopefully it comes over to our yard soon.

The host plants for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail are cottonwood trees, tupliptree, sweet bay, choke cherry and others. Read an article about raising them from Monarch Butterfly Garden.

Additionally, I found this gorgeous beauty, a Zebra Swallowtail. I just read that their host plants are pawpaw and squirrel-bananas in my Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. We know of a few pawpaw trees about a 1/2 mile from our house. Currently trying to get Ryan to plant a pawpaw tree in our yard (yes, things move quickly around here).

According to my guide, we are on the very edge of how far they travel North so this was a VERY exciting find today. He/she was resting on our house for quite some time tonight.

Zebra Swallowtail in Crescent, Iowa. Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Northern edge of their map.

Incase you were wondering if we still have our ducks… As I have mentioned before, we are down to four adult ducks from an owl attack. Now, each night they come find me to put them back inside (sometimes coming to the back door) and they spend the night with the chickens, safe inside the big chicken coop building.

Adult Rouen ducks.

It probably looks like there are a few different sizes of ducks here but these are just the six Mallards we got at the store and the six Rouens we hatched from our adult Rouen duck’s eggs. They have all moved out to the blue coop and are doing well. They are not fans of me though – what else is new!

Mallard ducklings and Rouen ducklings.

Unfortunately the Japanese beetles are back. These grapes were looking amazing two weeks ago and now they are almost complete defoliated.

Grapes defoliated by Japanese beetles in Crescent, Iowa.
Grapes defoliated by Japanese beetles in Crescent, Iowa.

Hope you all had a great 4th! Mr. Peaches says hi.

Orange male cat.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Debbie Gordon says:

    Love your blog!


    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Thank you Debbie ❤️


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