From bees and butterflies raised by our staff, to aquatic insects in our pond or terrestrial insects in the field, bugs can be found just about anywhere you look at Up Yonda Farm. These crawly critters are arthropods and one of the largest and most diverse group of animals on the planet with over 1 million individually identified species. Typically an animal is an insect if it has 3 main body parts, 6 legs and an exoskeleton. This includes everything from a housefly to a grasshopper and even butterflies and ladybugs. Here are a few that you might encounter at our farm:
Cecropia Moth - Hyalophora cecropia
The Cecropia Moth caterpillar can grow to be up to be very large. In fact, the one in this picture is about 4 inches in length and about the same diameter as your thumb! Well, like they always say, big caterpillars make even bigger moths. In fact, male Cecropia moths are the largest moth in North America and an adult can have a wingspan of 4 to 6 inches. The larva is mostly green with blue, yellow and red tubercles or knobs along its body. The adult moths are mostly brown with large furry antennas.
Common Butterfly Species
During the spring and summer, many speices of butterfly can be found flying through the field at Up Yonda. Visitors can also visit the butterfly garden exhibit to see many species being raised by our naturalists. Some of the more common types include; Question Marks, Black Swallowtails, Painted Ladies and Monarchs. The butterfly garden is open to the public from mid June through September.
Monarch Butterfly - Danaus plexippus
Monarch butterflies are well known, because they are one of the few North American species that migrate south for the winter. These fairly large, orange and black butterflies will travel from Up Yonda Farm in northern New York, all the way to Mexico where they can breed and spend the winter. Often a butterfly’s life is short-lived, but somehow, the adults that migrate south also survive to fly north again to lay their eggs. This entire cycle takes about 9 months. Monarch caterpillars can be found munching on their favorite food; the milkweed plant and are easily recognized by their yellow and black stripes.
Honey Bee - Apis mellifera
Honey Bees are often thought of as harmful to humans, but they are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, if a honey bee ever stung you, it would lose its stinger and die! Wasps and hornets are more dangerous, because they have a smooth stinger, which will not fall out when they sting, which means that the same insect could sting you numerous times! Honey Bees are essential for pollination and the honey that they make can be harvested from their hives. However, don’t take too much, because the queen and worker bees will need that honey to survive the winter.