Category Archives: Insects

A Miracle of Monarchs

We have seen very few Monarch butterflies in our backyard for the last two years, but that doesn’t mean they are not there.  Caterpillars are showing up on our milkweeds, so it seems that they must be making whoopee somewhere, … Continue reading

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A Swallowtail Odyssey: Life among the Spicebushes

It’s Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) time in our backyard, which is good for us curious yard-watchers, but a bit hard on our spicebushes (Lindera benzoin).  We’re watching the little ones grow up and they do it fast!  Now, I am … Continue reading

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Pests and Parasites

A very effective agent of biological pest control, this tiny wasp in our backyard is preparing to lay an egg on (or in) the little green aphid.. When the egg hatches, it will live inside the aphid, munching happily away, … Continue reading

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Galls Galore

Besides having some spectacular fall colors this year, another thing our drought didn’t seem to hurt was the prevalence of oak leaf galls.  I’m not sure why, but we seemed to have a bumper crop of them this year.

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Hitting the Trifecta

It’s not often—or ever before, to be honest—that I’ve had the chance to photograph several stages in an insect’s life journey in just a week or so, but I think I nailed it recently. We’ve got some wild senna growing … Continue reading

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There Be Giants Here!

Found this in our backyard today, so new that it’s wings weren’t even fully expanded.  A big surprise, considering the dearth of butterflies this season, at least here.  We’ve never seen this one before, but I think we’ve seen its … Continue reading

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No Free Lunch: Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Have you got milkweeds around?  If not, why not?  Have you ever noticed how many insects they attract?  Finally, have you ever noticed some of these insects dangling lifelessly from the milkweed’s flowers?  Ever wonder why?  (I hadn’t, until recently….) … Continue reading

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A Bounty of Broom Moths

Have your Baptisia been looking a little ragged lately?  Check for these little guys.  We are certainly having an outbreak in our yard, maybe due to the weirdness of the spring this year (?).  I expect the Indigos will survive, … Continue reading

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Ants in Your Plants? The Magic of Myrmecochory.

Let us again consider the Bloodroot, one of spring’s most lovely and ephemeral visitors.  Having emerged in March, the little herd in our yard is just now finishing with its crop of seeds, and here they are.  Almost, but not … Continue reading

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The Upper Left-Hand Brick

NOTE:  This posting has an error.   The apple-like oak leaf gall is caused by a midge, not a wasp.  The leaf gall of the wasp is an elongated gall along the veins of the leaf.  I will update the … Continue reading

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