Insects and Friends
Plant-eating insects need some of the specific wetlands plants at the Famosa Slough as host plants, for example the caterpillars of butterflies or moths eat the plants. But it’s not all bad for the plants, as those same insects provide a service of pollinating flowers, which is what the plant needs to make seeds. The slough has insects that eat other insects, like spiders, dragonflies, robber flies, and wasps. Not only are dragonflies delightful to watch, they hunt mosquitoes! Insects are a major component of songbird’s diets so the abundance of insects means all kinds of animals up the food chain will be supported. Insects play a very important role and we are lucky to have so many species flourishing at the slough.
Summer is a great time to look for pollinators. Butterflies, bees, wasps, flies, moths drink nectar from flowers, so if you seem plants blooming there’s a good chance if you look closely you’ll see some insect interactions. Female bees collect pollen to feed their young, you can sometimes see them carrying it around on their legs or abdomen. Native bees are more efficient at pollinating native plants than non-native honeybees.
Some species of insects need one specific species of plant, for example the plume moth (Agdistis americana) needs alkali heath (Frankenia salina). Native bees can also be generalists (visit many types of flowers) or specialists (only visiting one kind of flower). For example, long-horned Mellisodes bees only visit aster flowers, such as the bush sunflower (Encelia californica), which you see blooming at the slough in spring and summer.
The vast number of native bees and wasps are solitary, each individual builds its own nest rather than living cooperatively in a hive. This means they aren’t defending nests, so shouldn’t bother you if you don’t bother them
For a link to insects found at the Slough, please see this iNaturalist insect link.