Reports from the Field

Bug o’the Week – Monochromatic Stink Bug-Hunting Wasp

Howdy, BugFans,

Another wasp with a dynamite name!

When the BugLady found this wasp, she was struck by its curious appearance – fly-like eyes, waspy antennae, “broad-shouldered,” but with a very short abdomen (“It’s compact,” says bugguide.net).

10.11.23

Bug o’the Week – Drumming Katydid

Howdy, BugFans,

Sometimes you go looking for insects, and sometimes the insects find you. The BugLady came back to her car from the Post Office one sunny afternoon in August and discovered this stunning katydid sitting above the driver’s door of her car. Keeping one eye on traffic, she managed to get a few shots of it before moving it to a nearby hydrangea.

10.04.23

Bug o’the Week -German Yellowjacket Redux

Howdy, BugFans,

German Yellowjackets (GYJs), family Vespidae, are European wasps that arrived in the northeastern US in the early 1970’s and in Wisconsin a few years later.  These world travelers are now found on four continents and several oceanic islands.  Although the whole bee/wasp/hornet group is often labeled casually as “bees” (and GYJs have earned the nickname “garbage bee”), it’s easy to tell a honeybee from a wasp.  Honeybees are hairy, black and tan insects about ½” long; the similarly-sized, GYJs are less hairy and are clearly marked by nature’s warning colors, yellow and black.  Both species may nest in walls, but honeybees, which use their hives for years, do not nest underground. 

09.28.23

Bug o’the Week – Bugs at the End of Summer

Howdy, BugFans,

The Autumnal Equinox is fast upon us, alas, and even though it was a very hot one, the BugLady would like to push that Restart button and go back to the beginning of August. Failing that, here are some of the bugs that crossed her trail in the second half of summer.

09.20.23

Bug o’the Week – Golden green sweat bee

Howdy, BugFans,

Wisconsin is home to between 500 and 600 species of wild bees, ranging in size from today’s sweat bee to bumble bees many times larger (there are about 4,000 bee species in the US). If a small brown or green bee landed on your arm and started sipping salt while you were working/sweating outside in the summer, you’ve met a sweat bee. Typically, no one is harmed in these encounters unless you brush the bee away roughly.

09.13.23

Bug o’the Week – Euderces picipes Beetle

Greetings, BugFans,

When the BugLady saw these two tiny (5mm/¼”), black insects on a flower, her first thought was “ants,” followed immediately by a mental head slap. They were piggyback – worker ants don’t do that, and royal ants have wings, and males are way smaller than females. A (much) closer look revealed two long-horned beetles, Family Cerambycidae.

09.06.23

Bug o’the Week – Beautiful Jumper

Howdy, BugFans,

The BugLady was on a pier at Riveredge Nature Center when this spectacular jumping spider climbed out from between the planks.

Like the old joke about bacon being the gateway meat for vegetarians, jumping spiders seem to be the gateway spider for arachnophobes. Many are fuzzy (well, the spiders are – the BugLady can’t vouch for the arachnophobes), and because the front part of their cephalothorax (the combined head and thorax) is flat, four of their eyes face forward, and they look at you in a very human way. Plus, they are curious and they have attitude. If the BugLady had not already given her heart to crab spiders, these anthropomorphic little beauties would be at the top of her spider list.

08.30.23

Bug o’the Week – And Now for Something a Little Different XV – Royal Catchfly

Greetings, BugFans,

The BugLady had a long overdue “Oh Duh!!!”moment recently when BugFan Freda asked her if she realized why Royal Catchfly flowers were named Catchfly. Nope – hadn’t thought about it (insufficient scholarship).

Freda had just discovered, to her horror, that she might be aiding and abetting pollinator murder. Did the BugLady know that the Royal Catchfly was, in fact, a pollinator deathtrap?

08.23.23

Bug o’the Week – Long-tailed Meadow Katydid

Howdy, BugFans.

At first glance, Meadow Katydids look like small grasshoppers, but grasshoppers (family Acrididae) have antennae of a reasonable length, and katydids (family Tettigoniidae) have such long antennae (you have to back up a bit to get the whole antenna in a picture) that you wonder how they maneuver through the vegetation – and life (those antennae, of course are highly sensory and are exactly what allow them to navigate through life).

08.17.23

Bug o’the Week – Robust Katydid-hunting Wasp
by Kate Redmond

Greetings, BugFans,

OK – it’s not a super flashy wasp when it’s heading away from you (in fact, it’s not even very wasp-like), but it’s pretty cool when it’s heading toward you – those eyes. And what an awesome name (though not quite as awesome as the related Eastern Ant-Queen Kidnapper Wasp)! Both species are in the Square-headed wasp family Crabronidae, a family that we have met in previous BOTWs.

08.02.23

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