Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wild Bergamot

Yesterday I went strolling around our butterfly gardens to check out what was out and about. I noticed our Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, was looking rather nice.

While snapping a few pics I notices this critter hiding among the blossoms. Can you see it? It looks just like a dead petal, or leaf.

How about now that it has moved a bit? It's an Ambush Bug, Phymata pennsylvanica, and it relies upon the element of surprise.

Sorry the crop is a bit blurry, but you can now see the little red-eyed predator much better. It has thick front legs that graps an unsuspecting pollinator visiting the flower.

And they can even multi-task. This female is eating her meal while she is mating! The male, which has a dark back is on top and the light green female is underneath, clutching a small bee.

After checking a few more flowers, I noticed about eight Ambush Bugs hiding in the Bergamot. I am glad there are no life-size Ambush Bugs hiding in my fridge! You can view some great closeups here at BugGuide.


  1. This year bergomot is growing in places I've never seen it before in a local meadow beside some railroad tracks. I don;t think any butterflies have discovered it yet.

  2. I'm going to have to take a closer look at the bergamot around here and hopefully I'll find one of those bugs to photograph.

  3. How interesting! I really enjoyed this post. I have Bee Balm in my garden here in CO - it grows waaaay too well - can't get rid of its root system! Those bugs are something!