A Bittersweet problem

Oriental Bittersweet

  When I was a kid my grandmother had an annual tradition of collecting native bittersweet vines (Celastrus scandens) for her fall bouquets and harvest decorations.  Mom, Granny and my brother and I would pile into the station wagon and drive down country roads and other out-of-the-way wild places and fenced farm fields in search […]

The Lowly Carpet Beetle

Adult carpet beetle on fleabane flower

The scientific name for this tiny insect is the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).  Carpet beetles are pests in the home and in natural history museums.  The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar, but their larvae feed on biological fibers from carpets, clothing, feathers, plus insect and animal collections. Carpet beetle larvae hatch from eggs […]

Little Lacewing Life Cycle

6 lacewing

Lacewings are delicate insects that are considered to be beneficial to your garden.  I’ve observed them in my beautiful wildlife garden during the day and at night.  To the casual observer they appear to be clumsy fliers, but that may serve as a survival technique.  From what I’ve read, they have sensory organs at the […]

Raising Question Mark butterflies

Question Mark butterfly

Question Mark butterflies can be elusive if you don’t know how to attract them to your beautiful wildlife garden. They are drawn more to sap runs (often created by woodpeckers) and rotting fruit than the flowers in your yard. If you have a plum or cherry tree you may see these and other butterflies feeding […]

Sweet as honeyvine

Honey bees love honeyvine flowers.

This “weed” is a host plant Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is a vigorous, perennial trailing vine that is native to our eastern and central states.  Some people consider it to be a nuisance “weed”, but I call it Monarch caterpillar food. Hardy hearts I like the honeyvine’s heart-shaped leaves and the fact that I never […]

Mysterious mantidfly

mantid fly pre molt

This month I’ve decided to share a new discovery made by my brother Wayne in his beautiful wildlife garden.  He found a very interesting insect sitting next to a chair inside his screened-in gazebo. We had never seen anything quite like it before.  The eyes looked like those of a lacewing, the forelegs resembled a […]

Leaf-cutter Bee Life Cycle

3 leaf cutter egg

A surprise package Some of the most interesting things happen in our beautiful wildlife gardens when we least expect them.  On this particular day my brother and mom were moving some bricks to build a new flower bed.  My mom found this odd-looking thing filling the gap between two bricks.  On closer inspection we realized […]

Birds, violets and butterfly eggs

robin eggs

Spring has finally arrived here in northern Kentucky.  An exploration of my brother’s yard this Easter weekend revealed all kinds of goodies!  The lovely violets are in full bloom.  We picked, washed and froze some of the flowers in ice-cube trays to use later in glasses of lemonade for a pretty splash of color.  These […]

Looks like a little Lorax

Look at that cute face!

My brother Wayne took some great photos this week of these adorable little mason bees emerging from his homemade bee box.  There are around 130 species of these wonderful pollinators in North America. The males are the first to emerge from the nest box.  All of these photos are of males – they have longer […]

Fungus Gnats Love Your Houseplants

1 fungus gnat larva

  Fungus gnats are tiny flies that will take up residence in the soil of your houseplants.  Many people consider them to be pests, but they usually do little or no harm to mature healthy plants unless their larvae exist in large numbers.  From all I’ve read online, the adults do not feed and only […]

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