Articles

The Problem with Monarchical Rule

This is the time of the year when the menagerie of insects that feed on members of the dogbane family, including common milkweed, seem to arrive en masse to the consternation of monarchists. Some well-meaning gardeners aim to reserve milkweeds exclusively for the pleasure of monarchs. What about other native insects that feed on milkweeds; let them eat cake?
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Authors
Joe Boggs

Is it a Sawfly Larva or a Caterpillar?

Whenever I hear that the naturally occurring biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) is not killing caterpillars, the first thing I try to find out is whether or not the "caterpillars" are actually caterpillars. Btk products (e.g. Dipel, Thuricide, etc.) only kill caterpillars, they do not kill sawfly larvae.
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Authors
Joe Boggs

Be Alert for Dogwood Sawfly

The common name of "Dogwood Sawfly" was officially assigned years ago when it was believed there was only one species, Macremphytus tarsatus. However, taxonomists later found there are actually three species of sawflies in the genus Macremphytus that feed on dogwood leaves in the eastern U.S. including Ohio: M. testaceus; M. semicornis; and M. tarsatus.
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Authors
Joe Boggs

Gypsy Moth Adults Take Flight

The caterpillar feeding frenzy has ended for the year and adult activity is being observed in NW Ohio. The male moths have taken flight in their zig-zag pattern in hopes of finding a mate. The female moths are white and a bit larger in size, and typically don't move far distances from the pupal casing that they emerged from. She gives off a pheromone to alert close by males of her location. After a visit from the male moth, she will begin laying eggs. The mass of eggs laid now, will remain in that stage until the following spring. 
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Authors
Amy Stone

Perspectives on Sudden Oak Death (SOD)

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has announced in an official press release a confirmed interception of the plant disease-causing pathogen Phytophthora ramorum in Ohio. This water mold organism causes ramorum blight on over 100 host plants, including rhododendron and lilac, and sudden oak death (SOD) in coastal areas of California and Oregon.
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Authors
Jim Chatfield
Joe Boggs

Walnut Petiole Gall

While taking pictures of Walnut Caterpillars, I noticed that the sometimes caterpillar-like Walnut Petiole Galls produced by an eriophyid mite are reaching their maximum size and becoming very evident on their namesake host. The galls are specific to black walnut and may occur on the petiole, rachis, and petiolules of the compound leaf.
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Authors
Joe Boggs

Walnut Cats on the Prowl

Walnut caterpillars are producing noticeable defoliation in southwest Ohio. The moth caterpillars feed in groups, or "colonies," of 10-30 individuals throughout their development which is why their defoliation is often focused on a single branch or a group of adjoining branches. However, it's also why multiple colonies can quickly defoliate small trees.
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Authors
Joe Boggs

An American Tail: the Lotus and its Caterpillar

If you're in Greater Cincinnati and have the chance visit the beautiful Glenwood Gardens [Great Parks of Hamilton County], grab a map at the main office and ask how to hike to the "Lotus Pond." It's a bit of a hike, but do what I did and wait until the afternoon temperature climbs above 90 F. and the humidity allows you to wear the air. Who needs a sauna?
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Authors
Joe Boggs