Wasp Pottery

I didn't need to travel far today to discover an entomological wonder.  Attached to my porch railing was a tiny, clay pot; the handiwork of a Potter Wasp (Eumenes sp.).   As their common name describes, potter wasps fashion small rounded jug-like nests out of clay, and they attach the nests to leaves, twigs, or to structures such as window seals or my case, a porch railing.

 

Potter Wasp...

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Joe Boggs
Liriodendron Leaf Yellowing chatfield.1 Fri, 07/22/2016 - 15:42

During the hot, dry conditions of summer, numerous trees will shed some of their leaves. A good example is tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera). I (think) I remember flying in from the Pacific Northwest in August one dry year and as we got close to landing, was able to pick out the tuliptrees due to their earlier than fall color yellow leaves interspersed on the tree among the more prevalent green.  Today, I was walking in Wooster in northeast Ohio, and the ground was littered with fallen leaves of tuliptree.  It even seemed like some of them were sweating in the 90+ temperatures!...

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Jim Chatfield

Hot, Dry Conditions Reveal Fairy Rings

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued an Excessive Heat Warning today for Greater Cincinnati.  This is the highest alert based on the NWS Heat Index.  I believe anything higher would cause spontaneous human combustion.  I made a quick BYGL Alert! photo trek and found that fairy rings are now being revealed by the current hot/dry conditions in southwest Ohio.

 

Fairy Rings

 

The...

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Joe Boggs

82nd Ohio Plant Diagnostic Workshop

  From Dogwood diseases to doghouse damage, from beetlemania to bot rot, literally from Aster yellows to Zinnia powdery mildew, diagnostic workshops are where it’s at. Please come to Wooster in the late, late summer sun.  Samples galore and clinic catharsis, a few short talks, a diagnostic walkabout at Secrest Arboretum six years after the storm, the Secrest sound system blaring out Townes van Zandt, Johnny Cash, and Leadbelly. Yowser. Registration information is coming soon, but for now highlight with stars and multicolored magic markers, from the Ohio State University Extension...

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Jim Chatfield

Teasel Flower Heads are on the Rise

Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) and Common Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) are native to Eurasia and North Africa and were originally introduced into the U.S. in the 1700s for use in the textile industry; the prickly dried seed heads were used to raise the nap on fabrics.  Later introductions were for ornamental use with the persistent dried seed heads still used in flower arrangements. They are now found throughout the U.S. often creating havoc in naturalized areas.

 

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Joe Boggs
Curtis E. Young

Flower Longhorn Beetles

True to their common name, Flower Longhorn Beetles (family Cerambycidae, subfamily Lepturinae) are found on flowers where they feed on pollen and nectar.  They have a particular affinity for the umbel flowers produced my members of the carrot/parsley/celery family (Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae).  I always look closely at Queen Anne's lace which is where I found the bachelor beetle shown at the beginning of this report and the cavorting couple shown below.  Flower longhorn beetles are considered plant pollinators although little is known of the extent of their impact.

 

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Joe Boggs

Pine Tube Moth

Individual Pine Tube Moth (Argyrotaenia pinatubana) caterpillars use silk to form a hollow tube by binding together 10 - 20 needles.  They then move up and down their silk-lined tube to feed on the tips of the bound needles.  Once they've almost eaten themselves (literally) out of house and home, the caterpillars will move to another set of needles to repeat their tube-making needle-feeding behavior.  The caterpillars eventually pupate within their needle tubes.

 

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Joe Boggs

Dogwood Powdery Mildew: Signs and Symptoms

Like many powdery mildew diseases, high relative humidity but not high rainfall is a key to dogwood powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Erysiphe pulchra. There is a good bit of this disease this year in northeast Ohio, which is quite dry, and yesterday I took a look at some flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) growing in pots in trials. There was a good bit of fungal mycelial growth and spores en masse evident on the foliage (what is called the “sign” of the pathogen), which is something everyone is familiar with for many powdery mildew diseases. Good examples are lilac...

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Jim Chatfield

Maackia Madness: Two For One

  The 4th Question of Plant Problem Diagnostics (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/floriculture/images/20_Questions_on_Plant_Diagnosis.pdf) is “What Do You See?” in terms of symptoms of plant damage. The 6th Question (after “What is the Overall Health?) is a return to the idea of symptoms with “What Exactly Do You See?” I was reminded of this the other day when looking at an Amur maackia tree in my backyard. The tree foliage is mostly above arms-length, but I could see that Japanese beetle flyers had no problem, munching with their chewing mouthparts, leaving sections of leaves partly...

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Jim Chatfield

Cicada Killers are on the Wing

Cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus) are cruising lawns and landscapes in southwest Ohio.  These large wasps are the nemesis of Dog-Day Cicadas (Tibicen spp.), so it is no coincidence that they appear on the scene when dog-day cicadas emerge.  Cicada killers are the largest wasps found in Ohio, measuring 1 1/8 to 1 5/8" in length.  As with all hymenoptera (wasps, bees, etc.), only the females possess stingers (ovipositors); however, they are not aggressive.  The males are aggressive, but they lack stingers.

 

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Joe Boggs