Today was my longest yardwork session so far, coming in at about 4.5 hours, and I’m pooped (yes, I know, I’m out of shape. While I was cutting back the mammoth rose bush that had knocked over the fence between our yard and the neighbors, I saw the usual assortment of insect-critters, but there was a new one, too. This guy flew around like a bee in stealth mode (I couldn’t hear it even when he flew past my head), and it had bright yellow and black stripes like a hornet. The big deal with this new guy, though, is that he was nearly 3 inches long (which is bigger than any hornet or wasp I’ve seen), and he kept wanting to explore the rose bush branches I was cutting up. The him became a them, but they left me alone for the most part.

When I was closing the lid on the trash can, I saw one sitting inside, which is the first time one had been still long enough for me to get a good look. He really was three inches long (about the length of my finger), but not as bright as I’d thought. He had a face like a fly, and he didn’t have the detached thorax like a wasp, so I figured it was safe to get close enough for a good look.

Later today, I came across this great website, which seems like it might be even better than an insect field guide. After some searching, I think I found my new bug here – apparently it’s a cannibalfly, a relative of the robberfly. The website lists them as “large, circa 35mm or more”, but I don’t think any of the three I saw were less than 6cm.

In other critter news, Mom, I think this is your furry caterpillar from before (I saw one today, too).

And Dave – I saw another blue-tailed skink while I was mowing the lawn. He was small, but his blue tail was so bright it almost looked like neon!