Squiggly Lines on Magnolia Leaves

The highly visible handiwork of the magnolia serpentine leafmining caterpillar (Phyllocnistis magnoliella) is becoming evident magnolias in nurseries and landscapes in southern Ohio.  The moth belongs to the leafmining family Gracillariidae.  The tiny caterpillars of this aptly named moth feed close to the upper leaf epidermis, producing long, thin, serpentine mines that appear as silvery tracks snaking across the leaf surface.

 

Hosts for this leafminer include bigleaf, cucumber, southern, star, sweet bay, and umbrella magnolias.  Large numbers of mines on a...

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Joe Boggs

Big Friendly Giant Caterpillars

Finding giant silkworm caterpillars (family Saturniidae) or observing the resulting giant moths was once a common occurrence.  Notable members of this moth family include Cecropia (Hyalophora Cecropia); Luna (Actias luna); Polyphemus (Antheraea polyphemus); Promethia (Callosamia promethean); and the impressively named Hickory Horned Devil (Citheronia regalis).

 

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Joe Boggs

Hidden Hornworms

While watering the two tomato plants in my great expectations garden, I noticed a few missing leaves and some black, barrel-shaped frass (insect excrement) beneath the plants.  Certain I'd quickly find the hornworm culprits, I looked, and looked, and … I'm always amazed at how well these large caterpillars can remain hidden from our probing eyes!

 

Tomato Hornworm

 

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Joe Boggs

Cockscomb Galls on Elm

Look closely at the leaves of slippery elm (= red elm) (Ulmus rubra); you may be lucky enough to spot the unusual looking elm cockscomb galls produced by the so-called elm cockscomb aphid, Colopha ulmicola.  Although these galls are commonly mentioned in the literature, I've rarely seen them in southwest Ohio where elm sack galls produced by the aphid, Tetraneura ulmi, are the dominant aphid gall found on slippery elm.

 

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Joe Boggs

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 in my case, a porch railing.

 

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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