The Table is Set and the Birds are Feasting!

While spending some time earlier this week at Sharon Woods Metro Park, one of the Columbus and Franklin County's Metro Parks, I had the opportunity to capture some shots of a downy woodpecker flittering about in an small alder tree. I was playing around with a new camera and was 'zoomed' in rather far when as I took the pictures. It wasn't until I returned to the office that I realized the downy woodpecker was doing much more than 'flittering about". It was actually feasting on woolly alder aphids!

 

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Marne Titchenell

Got Bats in the Belfry? Here's What to Do!

March through September is the active time for bats in Ohio.  Ohio’s 11 species spend their summer hours like every other species in Ohio – feeding and reproducing.  There is no question Ohioans benefit from the feeding of bats – a single bat can consume over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night. 

The reproduction side of things however, can sometimes cause an issue…especially if the result is a colony of bats in the home.  Two Ohio bat species will commonly share living space with humans; the little brown bat and the big brown bat.  The females of both of these species form...

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Marne Titchenell
Turkey Tales chatfield.1 Tue, 07/12/2016 - 21:35

My wife and I live in the country in Wayne County in northeast Ohio, and enjoy the sights and sounds of wild-life.  Coyotes provide their weird series of moans, whistles, yips, and howls – truly cool.  Equally cool we have a turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) hen and two poults that waltz through our yard periodically this summer. This is much to our delight, except for areas of the lawn (such as it is with our dry period this summer) that they ruffle up, presumably in their omnivorous belief that “We Have The Meat” (insects and millipedes) and vegetables (acorns, roots, almost...

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Jim Chatfield

Annual Dog-Day Cicada Emergence

Annual dog-day cicadas (Tibicen spp.; family Cicadidae) are emerging in southwest Ohio.  Like periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.; family Cicadidae), these cicadas also develop underground with the nymphs sucking juices from tree roots.  However, periodical cicadas require 13 or 17 years to complete their development with adults emerging en masse in the spring, usually beginning around mid-to-late May and ending in June.  Indeed, eastern Ohio, parts of West Virginia, and the extreme southwest part of Pennsylvania experienced the emergence of Brood V 17-year periodical...

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Joe Boggs

Annual Flaming of Black Locust Trees

This past Friday, I observed heavy damage on black locust caused by the locust leafminer beetle (Odontota dorsalis) along State Rt. 50 in Ross and Vinton Counties.  The captivating reddish-brown leaf coloration caused by this beetle is often a familiar sight to travelers motoring on Ohio's interstate highways.  Indeed, black locust may be identified at highway speeds because they are the "flamed" trees in the tree lines bordering the highway.

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Joe Boggs

Buzz-Bombing Beetles

I received a report over the weekend of Green June Beetles (Cotinus nitida) (GJB) buzzing a wedding in a park in southwest Ohio.  These large, metallic green beetles tend to emerge en masse.  Their large size, coupled with an audible "buzzing" sound, and low level flight plan (cruising at about 2-3'), may induce panic with individuals unfamiliar with this insect.  Indeed, there have been reports of GJB causing picnickers to flee feasts, pool loungers to lunge, and golfers to fail to stay the course.  The beetles have great entertainment value!

 

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Joe Boggs

Periodical Cicada "Flagging:" Leaves at Tips of Branches are Turning Brown

Round 1 of the Periodical Cicada:

The emergence of Brood V of the 17-year periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) lived up to all expectations within the "cicada zone" in eastern Ohio, parts of West Virginia, and a very small part of southwest Pennsylvania.  Adults emerged in huge numbers, they climbed trees or flew to new trees, males serenaded cicada females with cacophonous songs only appreciated by the females, and mated females inserted eggs into stems.  The cicada adults are now dead and gone.

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Joe Boggs

Holy Heck Batman! What Happened to My Asters!!!!

I haven't been in my perennial garden for a few days so when I went in last night to do some weeding, I was shocked by the damage to my asters caused by the chrysanthemum lacebug.  Holy heck is a toned-down version of what I really said.  These lacebugs had totally obliterated the three plants (two different cultivars) in my beds.  My only option at this time is to cut them to the ground and hope we get enough rain to push new growth so that they bloom this year sometime before Christmas!  

 

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Pam Bennett

Are You Checking Your Arborvitaes (and other Evergreens) for Bagworms?

Have you looked closely at your arborvitaes and other bagworm-susceptible evergreens such as Juniper?  Bagworms are a little easier to see now as the needle clad "bags" are beginning to turn brown.  These caterpillars can creep up on you and strip a plant before you know it so keep your eyes out and regularly inspect.  I have been watching a nearby arborvitae and noticed that the bags on this particular plant in Clark County are anywhere from 1/4" to 1" in size.  As they get bigger, they are much easier to spot.  When bagworms first hatch, it's even a challenge to the untrained eye to find...

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Pam Bennett

Poison Hemlock Going to Seed

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is among the most deadly plants in North America.  This non-native invasive weed contains highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds, including coniine and gamma-coniceine, which cause respiratory failure and death when ingested by mammals.

 

TOXICITY:

Poison hemlock is native to North Africa and Eurasia including Greece.  It's the plant behind Socrates' famous last words, "I drank what?"  Or, maybe it was, "don't try this at home."  Just kidding.  In fact, it was the plant used to poison...

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Joe Boggs