August heat

Many verges, banksides and waysides have been trimmed back hard this summer. With the continuing heat and dryness the dessicated grasslands and trees survive on the undersurface moisture as well as any dew forming. Insects are attracted to flower blossoms as a source of moisture within the floral nectaries, as well as the energy and storage resources of pollens and nectars of varying chemical constituents. Predatory and parasitic insects follow the pollinating hosts.

The paradox of the Wealden clay and sandstone surfaces is intensified by the dry heat, turning areas well-known as winter quagmires into rock-hard ridges of baked ground.

Purple and rose sheets of Knapweed and Creeping Thistle blossom stain the straw-coloured dry grasslands. Spear Thistle and some of the surviving Hogweed patches have already been pollinated and turned to seed. Willowherb seeds float through the sky like clouds of white midges.

The Kite-tailed Robberfly Machimus atricapillus were in mating pairs on the dried grass stems while other Robberflies skulked in shaded margins, waiting to ambush prey.

On sunlit Bramble leaves a female of the Bumblebee parasite Conops quadrifasciatus positioned herself to receive the full strength of the sunlight, possibly emitting pheromones into the air. She often adjusted her position to track the sun.

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Conops quadrifasciatus

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Machimus atricapillus mating pair

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