End of the season

As the growing season tails off, insects start to decline in numbers. Even before the knife of frost comes down, the loss of life is evident around flowers. In early September there are numbers of wasps, beetles, flies, and butterflies species at flowers. By mid-October, there are mainly bees, and hardier butterflies such as Sulphurs, Cabbage Whites, and lingering Monarchs. There are only a few flowers left in my area by this time, mainly asters. Here’s a bumblebee asleep on a aster on a cool fall morning:

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Although many adult insects end their lives around this time, bugs live on, hidden, many overwintering as egg or larva or pupa. There are adult butterflies that overwinter as well. Monarchs are famous for escaping to Mexico to survive, but adult Mourning Cloaks, Eastern Commas, and other anglewings that hide in cracks in trees, stone walls and people’s basements and fly and mate in spring. That journey through winter is in some ways even more remarkable than the Monarch’s trip to Mexico.

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