When I first moved to Las Vegas there were virtually no mosquitoes and no flies. However as the population has increased and the local climate has changed with more landscaping and water we have seen a corresponding increase in bugs. That is not to say that there were no insects in the desert, as with flowers and plants you just have to look more carefully. There are an amazing variety of specialized insects living in the desert surrounding Las Vegas under conditions that would be considered hostile for any other insects. Again just like flowers and plants, the insects can come and go quickly over specific times like spring or after precipitation and are often found in specific areas suited to their needs. The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is a great place to see lots of unusual insects due to the presence of water and hospitable plants. Bees, wasps, dragonflies and butterflies are diverse and are part of the special ecology of the preserve, both prey and predator for birds and other inhabitants. Fortunately, there are very few mosquitoes, probably due to the dragonflies and the dry heat. Due to carefully selected and strategic native plants, there are a variety of native flowers all summer long which support a diverse and vibrant ecosystem. In this post I thought I would focus on some really interesting bees and wasps which I saw at the preserve.
I have decided to write a series of posts on eastern Turkey, a pivotal historical area, from Kars in the north to Sanliurfa in the south based on my travels last summer. This is a relatively untraveled area, strictly Muslim today and generally inhospitable to most western travelers. Vanand is the name used to describe the area of historic Armenia that roughly corresponds to the Kars Province of present-day Turkey. Named after the Armenian family of Vanandi, it was a principality of the Kingdom of Armenia (321 BCE to 428 CE) and a later province of the Democratic Republic of Armenia. Its historic capital was the city of Kars. The region fell to numerous invaders including the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Persians, and the Ottoman Turks. As Chorzene, the town appears in Roman history (Strabo) as part of ancient Armenia. During the Turkish–Armenian War in late 1920, Turkish revolutionaries captured Kars for the last time. This post is not about history, I will cover that in a separate post, this is about Kars today.