Creepy, crawly redefined.

Under a leaf, in a Dandelion, the lid of the compost bin. Be patient, observe, wait, focus, shoot. Hours of fun are filled each spring as the underworld of ‘creepy, crawlies’ comes to life. How in the world do these tiny creatures manage to survive many months of subzero temperatures, reproduce in prodigious numbers and begin their role in the complex world of pollination, feeding others, turning garbage into life sustaining nutrients and of course annoying many people. Explorations with my camera reveal beauty in colour, texture, movement, purpose and sheer tenacity. This visual essay may not convince you to avoid swatting at an insect or stomping on a spider. However it may make you more aware of the complexity of life and the integration of species upon which you are making an impact.

Fly on a Dandelion in early spring.

This could be a fruit fly as many were working away in the compost when I dumped the kitchen waste. It is sitting on the lid of the compost bin. Don’t you love the big red eyes.

This spider was quite busy (again under the compost lid) making a web.

A day later I opened the lid again and there was a pile of eggs encased in a filament of webs. The whole pile was approximately 5 mm. in diameter.

Dandelions are an important source of food for many early spring insects. I continue to feed dandelions to my compost but do let the first crop enjoy the sun and feed some insects.

An ant working away in a dandelion.

This little fly seemed to be quite slow and crawled away each time I moved close with my camera. I thought it might be injured but when I processed the image it appears that it has just hatched and the wings are in the process of unfurling.

I’m not sure what type of fly this is. It was sitting on a Haskap leaf. My best guess is it belongs to the Bristle fly family.

A few of these little beauties were flying around my back door. It belongs to the curved-horn moth family I believe. They seem to sport a lovely yet unruly mop of spiky material on their head.

The veins and texture of this leaf seemed a great setting for this waspy looking creature. Maybe in the Ichneumonid Wasp family.

Maybe in the Common Sawfly family.

To be so colourful and delicate. I believe this is a non-biting midge of some kind.

As I was looking for insects to photograph I noticed a misshapen tip on a Maple tree branch. Numerous aphids had gathered and seemed to be tended to by a colony of ants. I believe this is an example of ‘An ant farm’ whereby the ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship. The ants provide protection from predators and the aphids secrete honeydew to feed the ants. You can see Aphids, eggs, larvae and ants.

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  1. Margaret Lowry June 6, 2021 at 4:40 pm #

    I watched these photos and video with my grandkids and we all loved them, also the comments. Thanks Trent .

  2. Jan C June 6, 2021 at 7:04 am #

    I look forward to a beautiful picture book of ‘Birds, Bees, Bugs & Water’ to give to my grandkids & friends!

  3. Earl Eidem June 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm #

    Great photo essay of the life of the teenie and teenie-weenie life in the underworld. Thanks for bringing it to our attention in your special way.

  4. Michael Corcoran June 5, 2021 at 4:24 pm #

    These are mesmerizing photos, Trent. I must admit that spiders are not my favorite people, but your photos almost make me more tolerant. (Full confession: I have refrained from stomping on spiders for many years).

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