Lily Flowers Attract

June 5th, 2011

Every spring, one of the things I most anticipate is the blooming of our tiger lilies. These flowers are so fragrant, and so beautiful, that they attract both people and critters alike to them. One of the all-time-favorite photos that I’ve taken happens to revolve around the lily as well (below).

Ant Lily Marching

This year, I decided to go out and take a few more pictures that might complement the above photograph.

Ant on Lily Flower

Fortunately, there’s always lots of ants on the lily flowers, so I didn’t have to wait long before snapping a few pictures.

Ant on Lily Flower

These are all sugar ants, shot with a Canon MP-E 65mm 1X-5X lens at various magnification levels. I was using a twin flash + diffusers to light the critters.

Ant on Lily Flower

I love how macro can open up an entire other world to photograph without having to travel great distances. The picture below looks like it could be taking place on another planet.

Ant on Lily Flower

Now, of course, every good extra-planetary story has to have a villain, so enter the spider mites Homopterans, which unfortunately, are also taking up residence on the lilies.

Spider Mite on Lily Flower

These tiny insects have a cotton poof coming from their rear, that looks like might it be full of eggs.

Spider Mite on Lily Flower

These guys would scurry to the other side of the stamen whenever I tried to get a shot, so I had to do the awkward maneuver of holding the camera in place, while using my other hand to shew the mite back toward the lens.

Spider Mite on Lily Flower

I suppose I ought to try to get rid of these critters to keep them from damaging the plants. Any suggestions on organically killing them?

Spider Mite on Lily Flower

I also found a lightning bug taking shelter at the base of one of the flowers. There seem to be less lightning bugs today than there were when I was growing up, which I’ve read may be due to light pollution at night.

Lightning Bug on Lily Flower

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photographs! In a week or so, the flowers will be gone, and I’ll have to wait until next year to see what critters the lilies attract.

3 Responses to “Lily Flowers Attract”

  1. blata Says:

    Hello Kris. I was looking at your photos. Nice shots by the way. Anyway you mention having spider mites but I didn’t see any in the photos you were referencing. I did however want to comment on the cottony fluff. Those insects are larval (nymphs) of Homopterans. These insects are relatives of aphids,scales, plant hoppers, cicadas and the like. Any way that cotton is similar to the honey dew that aphids produce. Meaning that it is extra food the insect cant use so it excretes it. Some hoppers produce cotton, others produce spit bubbles, scales make shells, and aphids make honey dew. So being that the insects are immature there are no eggs and the cotton is normal.

    As for control you can use soaps to kill them but the soapy water has to hit them and will have no residual control. the other method, since thes critters cant fly yet is to knock them off. Its time consuming but can be oddly gratifying.

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Hi blata. Thanks for the information on Homopterans. I’ve corrected the post above to reference them, rather than spider mites. Really interesting stuff!

  3. Kim Says:

    I love maco pictures of everyday things from the backyard. It is an entire universe that is normally overlooked in everyday life. Insects are my favorite, I think they are beautiful. I don’t have a fancy camera, but every once and a while I can get a great macro shot of an insect.

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