Meet my new pal, the bold jumper

Holy smoke, that’s a big spider! Take a look the maple key in the picture below for scale. Fat and furry, it surprised me in the garden yesterday. Naturally, I wanted to know: friend or foe? Friend, as it turns out! It’s the bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax), and it’s more interested in stalking the bugs […]

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What’s wrong with my ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea?

Last year around this time (late April or early May) I noticed something strange about the leaves on shoots of my old, reliable ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas. They looked glued together into a puffy, leaf-shaped balloon. What was wrong? In fact, they were “glued” or rather tightly stitched together at the edges. Turns out the culprit was the larva of […]

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An Icky Honeydew You Don’t Want

For the last few months I’ve been battling scale on an large indoor-wintering abutilon, or Flowering Maple. I’d been occasionally picking the scale off by hand, or with a microfiber cloth, (which works quite well) and I was (sort of) keeping them at bay. I’m a pretty experienced scale squisher, and I thought I had […]

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White spots on your pine needles? Uh oh.

If you see white dots like these on pine needles, you might mistake them for something the tree produces itself, like pine gum. I did at first, too. But nope. Dots that look like small splashes of white paint or resin on the needles are the winter homes of an insect pest called pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae). These critters […]

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What’s that orange bug on your milkweed?

It’s simple. Those orange bugs on your milkweed are milkweed bugs! And these little fellas (or gals) above are one of the later-stage nymphs of the insect. Milkweed bugs come in two versions. Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) and Small Milkweed Bugs (Lygaeus kalmii), both of which feed on the seeds of milkweed plants. You can […]

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Sadly, my monarch did not hatch

Before I left for Minneapolis, this little guy caused me some excitement. I always turn over the leaves of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) looking for potential babies. Every once and a while, like this time, a Monarch makes me an expectant parent (or expectant foster parent). But, sad to say, when I got back […]

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