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Old Sep 9, 2008, 10:44 PM   #1
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Just a few more macros from the same expedition as the "Learning to Fly" macro shots. I seem to make a lot of accidental discoveries shooting macro and all of these were of something that surprised me.

Normally I try to find the flowers that insects are attracted to, this bee found ME attractive and kept landing on me. It was something of a twist to get the shot of him on my thigh. I am pretty sure this is a Megachilid Bee, tentatively ID'd as Anthidium maculatum.

I got several good shots of this bee mimic syrphid fly, in this particular shot it was laying an egg:

The egg, the crystals are very fine white sand.

Just as I was pressing the shutter on this Megachilid, a Hairslip butterfly decided to jump into the frame. Obviously not wall worthy, but humorous:

Finally, an "Ooh Baby" moment for two Megachilid Bees, tentatively ID'd as Anthidiellum perplexum

My final unexpected discovery was not as pleasant. After spending the morning on my hands and knees in the sand I found I had become a buffet for chiggers. These nearly invisible critters have a stealth bite that swells up and itches like a mosquito bite x100 a few hours later and the bites last for two weeks or more. I look like I have chicken pox . So no more macros from me until I lay in a supply of powdered sulfur, which is supposed to keep them off of you, and devise a way to take a bath in it!


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Old Sep 9, 2008, 11:40 PM   #2
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They are all nice but the first one is exceptional.

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Old Sep 10, 2008, 8:07 AM   #3
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I agree - they are all really good but the first one stands out even more than the rest. I can relate to the chiggers since I lived in Texas for a few years. Thank heavens they don't live in California as I remember many a miserable day spent trying not to scratch my waist or my ankles. Nothing particularly helps, though I thought putting a dab of clear nail polish on each bite right away seemed to make them go away quicker (thought being that it would suffocate/kill the little buggers right away). That could have been a myth and wishful thinking but nothing else made a difference at all.
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 7:09 PM   #4
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Some fantastic shots Tim.
Sorry to hear about the chigger bites though.
Ya'd think an ol' country boy like yourself would've known better!:G
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 7:19 PM   #5
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Man, you are getting good! The last one is really something special.

As for the chiggers, I've had my share, so I know what you are going through. Prevention is the thing when they are "in season." Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks, and dust your socke with the sulfur (or better yet, spray them heavily with repellant containing Deet) - that should keep them from crawling up your legs, which is what they do until they encounter an obstruction - elastic, belt, whatever stope them - and then they dig in (you get ticks the same way). Don't' brush against vegetion (on which they lie in wait), and stay off your knees in the grass (I never heard of them being in sand, as they require moisture)! They are larval Trombiculid mites which need a meal of dissolved flesh (!) so they can molt to the next stage so they don't stay attached very long - by the time you start itching the allergic histamine reaction has already begun, and they are probably already gone. Try a Dramimine (which is an antihistamine used to treat allergic reactions) before bed to reduce the itching and help you sleep. Other than that and hydrocortisone ointment on the welts, there is not much more you can do but wait. And to prevent secondary infection, try not to scrtch (easier said than done)!
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 9:27 AM   #6
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Tim, that first one is a top shot.


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Old Sep 11, 2008, 9:52 AM   #7
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Really, really good photos Tim. Tack sharp!! As for chiggers....made the mistake of padding my sleeping mat with Spanish moss one time....not hardly a place on me without a chigger bite....nearly put me in the hospital...I know how you feel and commiserate with you,,,It will pass. Till then wear thick cotton gloves and rub not scratch...

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Old Sep 11, 2008, 8:40 PM   #8
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Thanks ya'll, I think I have found my calling. When I grow up, I want to photograph insects doing the wild thing :-). I am finding that learning about the insects (and other things) I am photographing is nearly as interesting as learning about photography. Thanks again for looking and commenting.

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Old Sep 12, 2008, 6:49 AM   #9
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Sorry about the little beasties, but that first shot is really something!

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Old Sep 12, 2008, 8:23 AM   #10
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Having had my share of "Jiggers", here is a bit of wisdom I have found to be true.

After you have been exposed to them, you will notice an unexpected itch or two around your ankles or legs. You can escape the major damage resulting from hundreds of bites if you immediately get your clothes off and take a brisk, soapy shower. Wash your whole body well. This will send any yet unentrenched critters down the drain. From then on you simply live out the annoyance, treating as others have pointed out to reduce whatever itching you are left with.

A common mistake is to put the same clothes back on. Don't do that. The critters will probably still be on them, and they will thank you silently, but painfully, for a feast. Your initial disrobing place may also be littered with the little bugs, so disrobe where it won't matter. Launder the clothes, every piece of them, including the shoes if they can stand it. If the shoes can't be washed, set them aside, away from human contact, and wait a few days before wearing them again.

These insects are able to be seen, but are about the size ofa straight pin hole in a piece of paper. Those I have seen are reddish and sort of translucent.

An adult can cope pretty well with these bugs, but little children, even babies, will be especially bothered by their bites, so, if you have had children with you, and they have been exposed, and you start noticing the initial itching, wash the younguns and their clothing right away too.

Don't overlook the fact that the bugs can reside in your grass lawn. They are not so likely to get on you from grass as from high grass or weedy growth, but they can live in even regularly mowed grass. It might be possible to have your lawn sprayed by a pest controller if you find there is a problem in your grass. I have found them to be adapted to grass and weeds where there is water nearby. Such as around ponds or low, damp places in your yard. This must be because they require moisture to breed and live. Dried grass in the heat of summer probably will not support them. The first hard frost will kill these bugs, as will an extended drought.

I don't know what this has to do with photography except for being exposed while getting photos out in natural surroundings, as I suspect our cameras are too feeble to take "Jigger" pictures.

Good Scratchin.

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