Let's Go on a Snipe Hunt

The golden-backed snipe fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus) is one of the most beautiful insects you'll run across in Ohio forests.   Both the common and scientific names are very descriptive for this native fly.  The top of the thorax (= the "back") is covered in highly reflective golden colored hairs; "Chysopilus" means "golden hair."  The fly's body and wing veins are bluish-black and the abdomen has lateral white markings.

 

Little appears to be known regarding the fly's life-style.  The adults have been observed visiting the flowers of a number of native plants,...

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Joe Boggs

Fluffy, White Planthopper Nymphs are Becoming Evident

Clusters of fluffy, white planthopper nymphs are appearing on the stems of annuals, perennials, and the lower branches of trees and shrubs in southern Ohio.  Planthoppers belong to the Family Flatidae (Order Hemiptera; Suborder Auchenorrhyncha), and are sometimes referred to as "flatids."  Planthopper adults are 1/4- 3/8" long, purplish blue, lime green, or powdery white, and they hold their broad wings vertically in a tent-like fashion covering the sides of the body and legs.

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Joe Boggs

Smokebush Arisin'

One of the wondrous sights this time of the year is the ethereal inflorescent pufflike panicles of smokebush or smoketree (Cotinus) flower heads.  There are two species, our native Cotinus obovatus, a larger plant much used on the High Line Park in New York City and Cotinus coggygria, the European smokebush.  This genus is in the Anacardiaceae family, cousins to poison ivy (Rhus or Toxicodendron species), cashew, mango, and pistachio. 

 

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Jim Chatfield

I Love Peonies! and Time for Post-Bloom Followup

Peonies in central Ohio are now finished blooming but wow what a bloom this year.  They had just about perfect weather to provide a wonderful display.  Now they they are finished blooming, you can clean up the dead blooms (deadhead) and have pretty nice looking foliage plants in the perennial bed the rest of the season.  Remove the dead blooms by going down into the plant, going below the top layer of foliage. 

 

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Pam Bennett

Elm Insect Duo

I recently looked at some elms on Columbus city streets and took some images of two insects on one leaf, though mostly on lower leafs and trunk sprouts. One insect was a wasp leafminer, Fenusa ulmi.  The larvae of this insect “mine” plant leaf cells for their nutritive value. It is a native insect and generally is worse on non-native elm species and those hybrids with some Asian or European elm genetics. Typically, insecticides are not recommended but labeled systemic insecticides may be useful in situations where applications are warranted.

 

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Jim Chatfield
Curtis E. Young

BYGLosophy: Mozart and Thee

The 9th time you have explained that soil and its effects on roots are the key to plant health… Your new landscape company and the difficulty of explaining your well-grounded vision of plant health management…Trying to convince your friends of the elegance of Townes Van Zandt’s lyrics…Getting everyone to see how cool byglalerts are as they show up on your phone…Sometimes only time will tell your truths to the rest of the world.  Do not despair: it is always thus.

As such, I started reading the book Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall the other day and the lead quote was...

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Jim Chatfield

Oak Apple Wasp Galls

While hiking (sweating!) along a forested walking trail near my home over the weekend, I came across several types of oak apple wasp galls on their namesake hosts.  These unusual plant growths can range in size at maturity from 1/2 - 2" in diameter and are named for their resemblance to apples.  The galls are constructed of leaf tissue that has been hijacked by a gall wasp (Family Cynipidae) to surround a single wasp larva located within a seed-like structure positioned at the center of the gall.  The exact species of gall-wasp that is responsible for producing the oak-apple gall can be...

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Joe Boggs

Lace Bug Damage Becoming Evident in Southwest Ohio

Lace bugs were very successful with overwintering in southwest Ohio and high populations are now producing noticeable symptoms.  The most obvious lace bugs include:  basswood lace bug (Gargaphia tiliae), hawthorn lace bug (Corythucha cydoniae), and oak lace bug (C. arcuata).  Sycamore lace bug (C. incurvata) is showing up on trees that were less affected by sycamore anthracnose this spring.

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Joe Boggs

Pear Rust in Ohio?

We are all used to seeing cedar apple rust, cedar hawthorn rust and cedar quince rust fungi on their dual hosts of junipers and Rosaceous hosts such as apple, crabapple, the occasional quince, and perhaps serviceberry in Ohio. I was much surprised to see what I think are Callery pear trees speckled with bright orange-red rust symptoms in German Village in Columbus this past week, however.

 

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Jim Chatfield

Fireblight This Time

Fireblight on Callery pear is highlighted against the blue sky in Columbus’s German Village this past Thursday in the lead photo of this byglalert, with a different look in the second photo taken with a different sun angle, important to remember when seeing images and thinking “it doesn’t look quite like what I saw”. Fireblight symptoms of “shepherd’s crook” shoots and discolored leaves are common to see now, following infections which occurred weeks, even months earlier in cool, warm weather during bloom. 

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Authors
Jim Chatfield