UCCE Sonoma County
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UCCE Sonoma County

Posts Tagged: milkweed

Lady Beetles: The First Ladies of the Garden Having a Ball

A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

See those red spots on your milkweed seed pods? Lady beetles (aka ladybugs or "garden heroes") are feasting on aphids. And they're having a ball. We've been watching the critters on our milkweed, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, for the last couple of months. The plant is a favorite among monarch...

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 4:17 PM

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!

A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised  for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ladybug!  Ladybug!Fly away home.Your house is on fireAnd your children are gone. How many times have you heard that nursery rhyme? Better yet, how many times have you seen a lady beetle (because they're beetles, not bugs) take off? Look closely for lady beetles in aphid-infested milkweed...

Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Not a Good Time to Be a Monarch Caterpillar

A monarch caterpillar munches on   tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Migrating monarchs are fluttering daily into our yard in Vacaville, Calif., one by one, two by two, three by three, and four by four, for a little flight fuel. They're sipping nectar from the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia, and tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. They're on their...

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 4:22 PM

How Do Insects, Spiders React to a Partial Solar Eclipse?

A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The sky darkens. The temperature drops several degrees. A breeze rustles the leaves of the African blue basil. Dogs bark. And off in the distance, a hawk shrills. A partial solar eclipse is about to happen in Vacaville, Calif. I am watching the insects: the honey bees nectaring on the African...

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 2:05 PM
Tags: eclipse (1), Eric Mussen (1), honey bee (3), milkweed (28), orbweaver (1), praying mantis (3), predator (3), prey (2), spider (1), Tithonia (2)

A Fly, Oh, My!

A female Eristalis stipator (as identified by Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, foraging on tropical milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A fly, oh, my! On the approval scale, they don't rank nearly as high as honey bees, but some are often mistaken for them. Take the Eristalis stipator, which belongs to the family Syrphidae, the hover flies. It's about the same size as a honey bee and it's a pollinator. We recently spotted this...

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 5:12 PM

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