World Views: Insects and People

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Agapostemon
Metallic Green Bee

This year I discovered Jacob’s Ladder. Actually I bought the plant and once the flowers appeared, followed by lots of insects, I fell in love. Just over a foot tall with an abundance of flowers to entice the honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, mason bees, cuckoo bees, Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, Giant Bee Fly, butterflies, skippers, moths, and aphids – of course! Not to shabby an assortment for those tiny flowers.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Strong back light

Jacob’s Ladder turned out to be rather pretty when I photographed it against a light box. The details and colors were pretty and a bit elegant for this dainty native wildflower.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Ultraviolet Light
What many insects, birds, and mammals see

The Visible Spectrum humans see is very limited in range compared to what other species see. Human sight is in the 380 to 740 nm range while bees are between 300 to 600 range. The ultraviolet light I used was rated at 365nm.

It is always a surprise to see what the plants will look like under ultraviolet light as there is no way of knowing until the image is on the computer. I wore protective yellow eye goggles and had to use a best guess as to how long to shine the UV light and leave the shutter open for.

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