Strafing Horse Flies

While taking photos today of willow pinecone galls for a BYGL Alert, I was constantly strafed by a maniacal horse fly (Tananus spp.).  These hefty flies belong to the family Tabanidae which is the largest family of bloodsucking insects with over 4,500 horsefly species known worldwide.  There are several species in Ohio ranging in size from 3/8 - 1 1/8" in length.  The crazed fly buzzing me was T. abdominalis.  It doesn't have a common name other than #@%%# fly!  At least, that's what I called it.

 

...

Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs

Weird Willow Gall

Arguably, one of the weirdest galls found in Ohio is produced on willow by the gall-midge, Rhabdophaga strobiloides (family Cecidomyiidae).  The gall's appearance isn't weird; it looks like a pine cone.  However, finding a "pine cone" on a willow is weird.  As the common name implies, the Willow Pinecone Gall, which is sometimes called the "pine cone willow gall," closely resembles a pine cone with closed seed scales.

 

...

Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs
Foliage Foretells (F)all chatfield.1 Mon, 07/18/2016 - 15:13

  This spring I wrote of sour gum/black gum/tupelo/pepperidge (Nyssa sylvatica) when I noticed for the first time that I had a male tree (with stamens) and a female tree (with pistils) in my back field. Until then I thought of them as just two tupelos. Well, the bird-beloved result of their union have now resulted in greenish fruits which soon will be blue-purple. So, flowers, fruits, now a word about  – foliage. Tupelo leaves are wonderfully lustrous green in spring and summer before turning intense scarlets, oranges, and purples in fall. But, wait, the time has come, as every...

Published on
Authors
Jim Chatfield

Cultivate Hydrangeas

  Hydrangea is a genus of great range and beauty. Panicle types such as PeeGee hydrangea. Mopheads. Climbing hydrangeas. Oakleaf hydrangeas of beautiful panicle flowers and wonderful fall foliage. Delicate pinks and blues, sometimes on the same plant. Electric colors to make a big splash. Hydrangeas were on display, revealing a high level of horticultural expertise at AmericanHort’s Cultivate’16 this past week as well as in the horticulturally laissez-faire world of the ChatScape, where my daughter Sara took a picture of the creams and pinks of an oakleaf hydrangea panicle today...

Published on
Authors
Jim Chatfield
Japanese Beetle Centennial chatfield.1 Sun, 07/17/2016 - 16:45

  Japanese beetles on a linden leaf or on a rose leaf or flower - to this we are accustomed. On certain plants though, such as cut-leaf rhamnus or as shown here from Wooster, Ohio on dawnredwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides); somehow it seems like they do not have enough of a perch or dining area.  Perhaps it is the small-plates phenomenon. At any rate, the chewing-mouthparts damage here is quite familiar and Popillia japonica damage to the turf and ornamental industry is huge. In fact, a 2002 paper by Dan Potter and David Held of the University of Kentucky (Annu. Rev....

Published on
Authors
Jim Chatfield
Petunias, Part Deux chatfield.1 Sun, 07/17/2016 - 11:13

Two weeks ago, I wrote a paean to petunias and how they liven up the street scene in Wooster Ohio. This week, I got a second dose while traversing the trade show floor at Cultivate’16, the summer festival of flowers and floricultural and all horticultural education put on by American Hort at the Columbus Convention Center.  There were of course many more attractions as well as petunias. Yet, this among many, all my life I have waited for flowers such as these. Below are just a few to whet your petunia palette with what is here now and with what is to come of new varieties.  Get thee to...

Published on
Authors
Jim Chatfield
Queendom of the Spiders boggs.47 Sat, 07/16/2016 - 09:41

The 1977 sci-fi movie, Kingdom of the Spiders, that stared William Shatner got it wrong.  Not with tapping Captain Kirk for the lead role, but with the movie's title:  with rare exceptions, only female spiders spin species-typical webs.  It's still a pretty good movie even with the 1970s era special effects.

 

Of course, the downside with such arachnophobic movies is what happens when movie viewers venture forth in the morning.  Ohioans may be surprised at the large number of spiders living near at hand when heavy morning dews accentuate their gossamer creations. ...

Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs

Cypress Twig Galls Adorn Baldcypress

I came across the galling handiwork of the cypress twig gall midge fly (Taxodiomyia cupressiananassa) on baldcypress while on a photo-trek in southwest Ohio on Thursday.  These spongy, white galls were something of an oddity when I started with Extension 25 years ago.  However, for some reason that has changed with these galls becoming a common adornment on baldcypress.
Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs
Walnut Caterpillars on the Prowl boggs.47 Fri, 07/15/2016 - 16:14

Walnut caterpillars (Datana integerrima) are native insects meaning that year-to-year population densities are usually kept in check by predators, parasitoids, and pathogens (the 3-Ps).  However, we occasionally see "outbreak years" when caterpillar numbers surge ahead of the combined natural suppression provided by the 3-Ps.  I'm not suggesting we are experiencing an outbreak season, but walnut caterpillars are certainly not hard to find!  In fact, I've come across the characteristic patchy defoliation produced by colonies of these caterpillars on their namesake host in two...

Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs
Elongate Hemlock Scale boggs.47 Fri, 07/15/2016 - 16:07

The non-native Elongate Hemlock Scale (Fiorinia externa), which is sometimes called "Fiornia scale," occurs on the underside of needles and on cones.  It may infest its namesake host as well as on other conifers including firs, Douglas-fir, spruces, cedars, pines, and yews.  The scale was accidently introduced to the U.S. from Japan and was first found in New York, NY, in 1908.  Currently, it's found in much of the native range for eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (T. caroliniana).  Where it overlaps with the non-native Hemlock Woolly...

Published on
Authors
Joe Boggs