One of Nature’s Mysteries To Solve

Hey there!

I am giving no clues on this one, because anything I might say would give it away.

Mystery # 105

Back later for your guesses!

~~~

My tail is drooping. I got so busy with Nutmeg gathering acorns, I forgot to give you human readers your mystery answer.

We had no guesses and this is a tough one, unless you have been seeing the webbing on the tips of tree branches. This particular web survived a rainstorm, which created the great pattern on it.

Fall webworm webbing on tips of branches

These webs are the homes of a furry little caterpillar commonly known as Fall Webworm. They grow into a moth with only a scientific name, Hyphantria cunea, a plain while one. The caterpillar is much better known because of the large webs.

Fall Webworm

They don’t hurt the trees, because in the fall, the tree is shutting down anyway. It’s just they grow so large, and get so dirty with caterpillar grass, that they aren’t pretty. We squirrels stay clear of them!

The Milkweed Community

Common Milkweed

The Squirrel Nutwork has featured Monarch caterpillars again and again on the Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. But that’s not the only insect using the plant–flowers and leaves–for food, or to find food. Take a look at the many insects we squirrels have seen this summer on this stand of milkweed plants.

 

 

Honey Bees on Milkweed

Honeybees

Wasp on Milkweed

Wasps

Ants on Milkweed

Ants. Lots of ants!

 

Net Beetle Calopteron

Large Milkweed Bug

Aphids on Milkweed

Aphids

Ladybug Larvae

Ladybugs in the larval stage, which eat aphids!

Ladybug on Milkweed

Adult ladybugs, which also eat aphids.

Assasin Bug on Milkweed

Assasin Bugs

Banded Hairstreak on Milkweed

Banded Hairstreak

little red bugs on milkweed pod

And lastly a little red bug we where not able to identify until we came across the website, Restoring the Landscape With Native Plants. This is the larvae of the Large Milkweed Bug. If you have bugs on your milkweed, see if you might be able to identify them through Restoring the Landscape’s Milkweed page.

And remember, the bugs there are all good!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Missed my column last week, but things are becoming crazy here. Acorns starting to fall, means squirrels have got to get busy. But we do take time to snack, and not just on acorns. What do you think this fall berry treat might be?

 

Mystery #104

Will check back later for your guesses!

~~~

Bet you recognize the leaves from many trees in the east – maples. This shrub isn’t in the same family, it just has a similar looking leaf. It’s a Maple Leaf Viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium. Because the shrub’s branches are thin, birds feed on the fall berries more than we d. But a squirrel will try anything!

Thirsty Thursday

Well folks, we’ve had a fair amount of rain this year in northern Virginia. The drainage ditches seem to have fresh trickles, good for a quick sip.

drainage ditch on Reston National Golf Course

Enough rain has fallen even the grass has stayed green. Not only on our nearby golf course where the humans water, but also where they don’t, like the shrub patches.

Shrub patch on Reston National Golf Course

See that orange peeking out?

Jewelweed

Jewelweed. That water-lover is still blooming in September! That’s how you know we’ve had enough rain!

 

Yes, our readers have seen Monarchs!

A reader responded to Monday’s questions with photos of a Monarch caterpillar-turned chrysalis-turned butterfly!

Monarch caterpillar on MilkweedMonarch chrysalisMonarch on zinnia

This butterfly will make its way south, probably to find another patch of Milkweed and lay eggs along the migration route. Those eggs may not hatch until next spring to start the cycle again.