Bug Bytes

Annual Flaming of Black Locust Trees boggs.47 Fri, 07/21/2017 - 20:10
Jim Chatfield called me from the road this morning to report seeing "flamed" black locusts along a highway in northeast Ohio. The captivating reddish-brown leaf coloration caused by the native Locust Leafminer Beetle is often a familiar sight to travelers motoring on Ohio's interstate highways. Indeed, when beetle populations are high during "outbreak years," black locust trees are able to be identified at highway speeds because of their blow-torched appearance.
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Joe Boggs
Jim Chatfield

Monarchs vs. Aphids

What are those hordes of yellow aphids sucking juices from common milkweed "reserved" for monarch butterfly caterpillars? They are Oleander Aphids and their appearance on milkweeds reminds us that nature makes no food reservations. This non-native aphid may be found sucking juices from over 50 hosts belonging to 16 plant families.
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Joe Boggs

Pine Cones on Willow?

The improbable looking but appropriately named Willow Pinecone Galls are now large enough to be very noticeable on their namesake host. As the common name suggests, the galls closely resemble pine cones with closed seed scales. They are produced on willow by a gall-midge but cause little damage to the overall health of their namesake host.
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Joe Boggs

Two Cats on the Prowl

Two general defoliators are producing damage in southwest Ohio: yellownecked caterpillars and walnut caterpillars. Both of these caterpillars feed in groups, or "colonies," of 10-30 individuals throughout their development which is why their defoliation is often focused on a single branch or a group of adjoining branches. However, it's also why multiple colonies can quickly defoliate small trees.
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Joe Boggs

Dogbane Discoveries

Dogbane is the representative species for the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, which includes milkweeds and other plants that ooze milky sap ladened with poisonous alkaloids. Indeed, Apocynum translates to "poisonous to dogs," or "dog killer." Sap from the plant is reported to have been used against ravenous feral dogs.
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Joe Boggs

A Stinging Commentary on Wasps, Yellowjackets, and Baldfaced Hornets.

Paper Wasps, Yellowjackets, and Baldfaced Hornets are beneficial insects. Just keep repeating that to yourself when you're being chased or stung by these hymenopteran marauders! They’ve been with us since the beginning of the season. However, this is the time of the year when their ever-expanding nests become large enough and contain enough individuals to make their presence sometimes painfully known.
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Joe Boggs

Creeping Flecks of Gold and Animated Piles of Frass

Look closely at the leaves of ornamental sweet potatoes, morning glories, or bindweed for flecks of gold creeping across the lower leaf surfaces; those would be Golden Tortoise Beetles (Charidotella sexpunctata). They are also called “sweet potato beetles” because of their common occurrence on both cultivated and ornamental sweet potatoes and “goldbugs” because of their appearance.
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Joe Boggs

Killers Welcome Cicada Emergence

Annual Dog-Day Cicadas emerging in southwest Ohio are being “welcomed” by their nemesis, Cicada Killer Wasps. This is the largest wasp found in Ohio and the annual cicadas are their select prey. An abrupt halt in the buzzing of a cicada, often punctuated by a high-pitched screech, usually means a wasp has committed an insecticidal act
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Authors
Joe Boggs