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Beautiful Beetles on Dogbane boggs.47 Mon, 06/27/2016 - 19:02

Earlier today, I came across one of the most beautiful beetles found in Ohio.  The beetle lacks a common name, but is generally referred to as the "Dogbane Beetle" because it primarily feeds on dogbane.  The beetle's scientific name is Chrysochus auratus, which loosely translates to "made of gold."  Indeed, these beautiful iridescent beetles may look like gleaming spots of gold on the leaves of dogbane, or they may blaze with an array of other shimmering colors depending on your angle to the beetle.  A slight change in viewing angle will cause the beetles to glisten with multiple...

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Joe Boggs
Myrmecophiles on Display boggs.47 Mon, 06/27/2016 - 18:16
The term "myrmecophile" means "ant lover." It's derived from the Greek "myrmex" = ant, and "phlos" = loving. Myremecophile refers to aphids that have a special relationship with ants.
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Joe Boggs
Red Milkweed Beetles boggs.47 Mon, 06/27/2016 - 19:08
Brightly colored Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) are easy to find as they mate and feast on milkweed in southern Ohio. These orangish-red, tubular-shaped 3/8 - 1/2" long beetles sport an odd feature that is clearly described by their scientific name.
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Joe Boggs
Petunias! chatfield.1 Thu, 06/30/2016 - 16:11

I walked through downtown Wooster, Ohio earlier today and was reminded once more of our debt to petunia breeders and petuniacal horticulturists of the past decade or two. Wow, planters and hanging baskets of incredible colors, shapes and sustained beauty throughout the summer. It’s bloomin’ crazy! The genus Petunia and its cousin the “mini-petunia” genus Calibrachoa rule. Both genera are native to South America and are in the Solanaceae (the nightshade family) with tell-tale funnel-like flowers: Some taxonomists even classify the two genera in the genus Petchoa...

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Jim Chatfield
Coneflowers Starting to Hit Peak Bloom bennett.27 Thu, 06/30/2016 - 15:02

I love coneflowers and never seem to tire of all of the different cultivars on the market.  In central Ohio Echinacea cultivars are beginning to hit their peak bloom period and will continue to show off until late summer.  Some of the pests to watch for this season include Japanese beetles (of course) as well as one relatively new pest that has been wreaking havoc on coneflowers, the SUNFLOWER HEAD-CLIPPING WEEVIL.  This pest usually shows up in July, damaging the flower stems, just below...

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Pam Bennett
Suction-Cups on the Bottom of Oak Leaves boggs.47 Mon, 06/27/2016 - 18:53

I'm always amazed at how the population densities of certain gall-making wasps on oak seem to synchronize over wide geographical areas so that large numbers of the same gall appears over a wide region.  I don't know how they do it.  These are very tiny insects and they have an intimate relationship with their host trees; it's best for them not to stray too far. 

 

Oak button galls on white oak are very common this season throughout southwest Ohio; I even spotted some on oaks in central Indiana.  The galls are produced by the gall wasp, Neuroterus umbilicatus (...

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Joe Boggs