This big guy is marching into autumn.
Back a month ago we showed you human readers a Silver Spotted Skipper. He looked like this on his flower, with the very identifiable silver spot on the outside of his wings.
Hickory found another skipper, which we thought–
Fine, I thought it was a different insect. It was mostly brown.
We snuck up on it–
“Which took forever.” Hickory’s tail twitches. “We are supposed to be gathering acorns, Nutmeg!”
Which we will do as soon as I finish telling this story! As I was saying, we snuck up on it, got a good look and then–
“It flew off! Now can we get back to collecting acorns?”
Hickory. You go ahead and I’ll catch up.
“Ok, but don’t take too long!” He races off, chittering.
That doesn’t sound good. I better hurry. Anyway, I discovered this mostly brown skipper was the same insect. Many butterflies, moths and skippers have different patterns on the inside of their wings, or hide portions of them when resting in different positions. I didn’t know the Silver Spotted Skipper was one of them.
And speaking of acorn collecting, we squirrels are seeing some fierce competition this fall. The short version is, we’re busy. Last year we closed down the blog for the winter, not sure if we’d start up again. We did, with reduced posts, but looks like we’ll be signing off again, perhaps soon. I’ll let you human readers know.
I am giving no clues on this one, because anything I might say would give it away.
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.
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.
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 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.
Ants. Lots of ants!
Large Milkweed Bug
Ladybugs in the larval stage, which eat aphids!
Adult ladybugs, which also eat aphids.
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!