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Old 2020-09-25, 00:13   #45
Dr Sardonicus
 
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This Monarch caterpillar looked to be almost ready to pupate. Then it fell victim to another insect, the Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus), which gets its common name from the distinctive serrated ridge on its back. This looks vaguely like part of the edge of a wheel or gear.
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Old 2020-09-25, 19:44   #46
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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.
Dandelions can be prepared for the meals during the recession time as well. The insect meat taste nicely with the dandelion salad.

Last fiddled with by tuckerkao on 2020-09-25 at 19:45
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Old 2020-09-27, 05:26   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
This Monarch caterpillar looked to be almost ready to pupate. Then it fell victim to another insect, the Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus), which gets its common name from the distinctive serrated ridge on its back. This looks vaguely like part of the edge of a wheel or gear.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel_bug
Fascinating! I had never even heard of them.
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Old 2020-10-24, 00:28   #48
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Washington state discovers first 'murder hornet' nest in US
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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Scientists in Washington state have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials said.

Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops.
<snip>
The nest was found after an Agriculture Department worker trapped two of the hornets Wednesday. Two more were captured Thursday, the agency said.

Using dental floss, "entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three hornets, the second of which led them to the discovery of the nest" Thursday, agriculture officials said.
In other insect news, the two Monarch Butterfly chrysalises I'd had on my milkweed both perished a while back. One of them started to turn black soon after apparently being jabbed by a stink bug. This seemed strange -- I had thought of stink bugs as plant pests. A bit of research turned up a predatory stink bug, however, the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris. This species does attack caterpillars, but I was unable to find any mention of predation of chrysalises. The other chrysalis started to blacken the same way a day or two later.

Even if the adults had emerged, it is unlikely they would have survived. By the time they would have been expected to emerge, most of the flowers were gone, and the weather was turning cool. If it's below 60 F (16 C) they can't fly.

There's just one thing to do: Plant more milkweed!
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Old 2020-11-07, 22:34   #49
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I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.

My 6yo son had a blast going out each morning to check up on it. First, discovering where the caterpillar was feeding... eventually observing changes in the chrysalis and waiting for the butterfly to emerge. We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer. Now, the seed pods are opening and the seeds are fascinating to him. The plants have provided significant entertainment.
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Old 2020-11-08, 00:06   #50
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I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.
Congratulations on having a stand of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)! I had a few Monarch caterpillars on mine, but none of them made it to adulthood. Butterfly weed is much less invasive, and not nearly as tall as Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) -- important considerations for a garden, and for a 6yo being able to get a close look at what's happening. (I had a lot more Monarch caterpillars on my Common Milkweed, but none of them made it, either.)

Dried Butterfly Weed root is an "herbal remedy" for respiratory problems. It is called "pleurisy root" or "wind root." (Of course, gathering the root kills the plant.)
Quote:
We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer.
Do they look like These? (Species Oncopeltus fasciatus - Large Milkweed Bug)

Both my Butterfly Weed and my Common Milkweed were lousy with them late in the season. The Butterfly Weed pods opened some weeks ago, and I gathered some of them for seeds. The seed pods on the Common Milkweed began opening within the last couple of days, and they were bursting open and seeds were drifting into my face today as I cleared a nearby bed. I cut down the stalks and pruned off the pods to save some seeds.

The eastern Monarch population looks to be in big trouble. Last overwintering in Mexico was less than half the size of the year before.
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Old 2020-11-08, 01:35   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathematizer View Post
I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.

My 6yo son had a blast going out each morning to check up on it. First, discovering where the caterpillar was feeding... eventually observing changes in the chrysalis and waiting for the butterfly to emerge. We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer. Now, the seed pods are opening and the seeds are fascinating to him. The plants have provided significant entertainment.
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Old 2020-11-08, 01:52   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
Congratulations on having a stand of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)! I had a few Monarch caterpillars on mine, but none of them made it to adulthood. Butterfly weed is much less invasive, and not nearly as tall as Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) -- important considerations for a garden, and for a 6yo being able to get a close look at what's happening. (I had a lot more Monarch caterpillars on my Common Milkweed, but none of them made it, either.)

Dried Butterfly Weed root is an "herbal remedy" for respiratory problems. It is called "pleurisy root" or "wind root." (Of course, gathering the root kills the plant.)

Do they look like These? (Species Oncopeltus fasciatus - Large Milkweed Bug)

Both my Butterfly Weed and my Common Milkweed were lousy with them late in the season. The Butterfly Weed pods opened some weeks ago, and I gathered some of them for seeds. The seed pods on the Common Milkweed began opening within the last couple of days, and they were bursting open and seeds were drifting into my face today as I cleared a nearby bed. I cut down the stalks and pruned off the pods to save some seeds.

The eastern Monarch population looks to be in big trouble. Last overwintering in Mexico was less than half the size of the year before.
Yes, Oncopeltus. Large milkweed bug (a true bug!), not red milkweed beetle, as I had mentioned. Read that the beetles were considered beneficial as they somehow help reduce the spread of the butterfly weed in the garden, though I didn’t see mention of the mechanism of how their feeding does so: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/orn...ug-control.htm

We didn’t have them last year, imagine our winters are often too cold for them.

When we were planting our butterfly garden, we were looking for low growing plants of varying colors. The local nursery was thrilled to see us planting native species and we’ve been quite happy with it.
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Old 2020-11-08, 02:52   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathematizer View Post
Yes, Oncopeltus. Large milkweed bug (a true bug!), not red milkweed beetle, as I had mentioned. Read that the beetles were considered beneficial as they somehow help reduce the spread of the butterfly weed in the garden, though I didn’t see mention of the mechanism of how their feeding does so: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/orn...ug-control.htm
Huh, I don't know. They don't seem to do a lot of damage. (Google Google) Ah. Interesting. The Missouri Botanical Garden's page on Milkweed Bugs says
Quote:
The large milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus, is colored orange-red and black. It has a long proboscis and is a piercing sucking insect. It feeds on the seeds, leaves and stems of milkweed (Asclepias).
So it takes out some of the seeds. That will slow down the spread of Butterfly Weed. I don't think it spreads by underground runners the way Common Milkweed does. This year I did have one volunteer Butterfly Weed plant come up from seed near one I'd planted last year.

I'd planted a single specimen of Common Milkweed at the back of my front yard garden bed last year, and this year I had several clumps coming up -- with one stem in my front lawn! I dug it out, breaking off a segment of runner in the process. I planted the part with a stalk, and buried the broken segment of runner a few inches deep, in my back yard. Both plantings "took." The stalk on the one part of runner died, but it was replaced with a new stalk. The buried segment of runner sent up stalks at both ends! The milkweed colony in front sent another runner and stalk into my front lawn, but after I mowed it a few times, that stalk gave up. Next year I'll probably have it coming up in the middle of the street...

Quote:
When we were planting our butterfly garden, we were looking for low growing plants of varying colors. The local nursery was thrilled to see us planting native species and we’ve been quite happy with it.
Good job, planting native plants! I am gradually increasing the variety in my yard. There are cultivars with the moniker "Proven Winners," but native plants are "proven winners" of a struggle for survival that's been going on since time immemorial.

I have read that some misinformed people trying to help the Monarch Butterfly plant a non-native tropical variety of Milkweed that harbors a dreadful protozoan parasite that afflicts the Monarch.
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