Bullet Galls and Their Guards

Oak bullet galls have reached their maximum size for the season and will soon release their developing female wasps. The galls arise from twigs and are produced under the direction of several species of cynipid wasps (family Cynipidae). So, you may find different types of bullet galls depending on the exact gall-making wasp species that directed their creation.
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Joe Boggs

Small but Mighty Fly

I came across a beautiful little native fly this week while taking pictures of pollinators on common goldenrod. The fly, Trichopoda pennipes, doesn't have a common name, but some web-based resources refer to it as the "feather-legged fly." This is not entirely correct.
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Joe Boggs
What Lies Beneath boggs.47 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 15:24
I enjoy making unexpected discoveries with one revelation leading to the next and then the next like pulling apart one of those Russian nesting dolls. My chain of discoveries started with finding "fresh" puffball mushrooms during a walk in a local park. I was thrilled because I had never taken pictures of the early stages of these peculiar looking mushrooms.
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Joe Boggs

Cucumber Beetles Wreaking Havoc - IN THE FLOWER BEDS!

Take note!  Every few years it seems that there are high populations of spotted cucumber beetles that have moved from vegetable gardens into the flower beds.  They love to feed on the supple, tender sweet petals of dahlia, mum, petunia, portulaca, sunflower and many others.  Joe Boggs did a quick check in his area and found them feeding on Jerusalum artichokes.  Joe also noted that this is his "go-to indicator plant" when inspecting for this pest in his area.  They seemed to be working the salvia but not actually feeding on it.  
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Pam Bennett

Annual of the Week - Popcorn Plant

Scratch and sniff horticulture - there is nothing better. How many remember the stickers that you had when you were younger? The ones that with a scratch of your nail, the smell radiated from the paper. This should have been a sticker to enjoy year round, not just during the growing season! And then of course the plant should be enjoyed during the late spring, summer and into early fall.
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Amy Stone

Lesson Learned

This week, I had a backyard hobby orchard grower stop in the office. Extension has always been a resource for his father when he was growing, and now the son. While we discussed common pest problems of apples and pear this growing season, the grower also shared a "lesson learned" last winter. 
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Amy Stone

That's gold, Jerry! GOLD!

I'm an unabashed fan of common goldenrod (a.k.a. Canada goldenrod). Its flowers are an important late-season food source for pollinators drawing in a wide range of insects and their yellowish to gold-tone makes a nice photo backdrop. In fact, this native perennial offers a pollinator photo op paradise.
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Joe Boggs