Signup to receive email updates




or follow our RSS feed

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
Bugs
Hover fly adult Ken 2
click image to view 5 more

Hover flies

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Walking in the Illinois State University Horticulture Center garden this week, I see the hover flies (aka syrphid flies or flower flies) are covering any nectar-producing flower in droves. These flies, commonly mistaken for bees are one of our most prolific pollinators in the Illinois garden. In addition to their pollinator services, their larvae are ferocious meat eaters. Hover flies are excel...

Read More >

gypsy moth 2
click image to view 5 more

Gypsy moth spraying in Livingston County

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Parts of Livingston County, McLean's northeast neighbor, have been scheduled for spraying this past week along with six other counties in northern Illinois for the gypsy moth, leaving the rest of us wondering will we be next. Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of hundreds of different species of trees, leaving behind winter bare trees. The infected trees have a chance of dying from...

Read More >

dwn sunflower1 John Hilty
click image to view 9 more

More to monarch decline than just milkweed

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

More to it than just the Milkweed BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Most Illinois gardeners believe that the cause of declining monarch butterfly populations is due to the lack of milkweed in the summer breeding areas of our state. However, research done by the Illinois Natural History Survey, plant ecologists, Greg Spyreas and David Zaya is proving there may be more to the story tha...

Read More >

Dee Monarch
click image to view 3 more

Monarch Population Surprises - by Chip Taylor (Monarch Watch)

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Monarch Population Surprises - by Chip Taylor ---------------------------------------------------------------- Those of us who are educators, and who follow monarchs closely, are being educated by the monarchs themselves this spring. The movement and behavior of monarchs returning from Mexico has been unprecedented. I'll save the details for a longer Status of the Population tha...

Read More >

sand wasp adult flying to burrow

Sand Wasps by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Sand wasps have similar habits to the cicada killer, but they occur earlier in the spring, with other species common later in the growing season. There are several species, ranging in size from 1/2 to almost 1 inch long. They are dark-colored, slender wasps with one or more contrasting gray to reddish bands. Adults feed on flower nectar, pollinating plants in the process. Female...

Read More >

16905166181 fb68fa561f z

Get the Buzz on Bees: A Backyard Beekeeping workshop in Bloomington

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Get the Buzz on Bees with Backyard Beekeeping BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension welcomes you to a day of beekeeping education connecting local beekeepers to researchers and educators from the University of Illinois. The day-length workshop is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at the McLean County Extension Office. The local U...

Read More >

rusty patched bumble bee bee spotter

Rusty Patched Bumble bee

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Honey bees have dominated the news as of late, but I would like to discuss bumble bees, their pollination services and their decline says Univerity of Illinois Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup. We have 50 species of bumble bees in North America. They are social like honey bees. There is a queen to lay eggs, and workers to collect pollen and nectar for their honey pot. However, unlike honey b...

Read More >

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis means good ecosystem

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Praying Mantis have been stalking our gardens and startling our young but are a good sign of a healthy ecosystem. Praying Mantis get their name from a Greek word meaning "prophet," "seer" or "diviner." How they stand when they are in position to catch their prey underwrites their name. Two things contribute to high numbers of praying mantis. They are larger later in the season and therefore mor...

Read More >

woolly aphids on hawthorn c casino
click image to view 3 more

Wooly Aphids by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Woolly aphids typically feed on two hosts during a 1-year period, with most species apparently having to switch hosts. This host-switching occurs in various species from late June to late July, and fuzzy adult females that look like flying lint seemingly drifting on the wind are their means of getting to the other host. Once reaching their summer host, they feed and give birth to a...

Read More >

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Phil Nixon Kelly Allsup
click image to view 3 more

Fall Tree Pests

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Manage pests on your favorite trees URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Kelly Allsup cautions to watch out for insect pests on favorite landscape trees this late summer and fall. "If you don't take necessary management actions at the appropriate time, the battle against them may be hard to win," she says. Allsup provides the following...

Read More >

syrphid fly adult on calendula

Is it a bee or a fly? by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Large numbers of syrphid, or flower, flies are being seen. They are small flies, usually 1/4 inch or shorter, with yellow and black or brown bands on the abdomen. They hover around your arms when you have been perspiring and land to lap up the sweat. This hovering also gives them the name of hover flies. They are called flower flies because they are commonly found on flowers, pollinating as they m...

Read More >

mosquitoe

Avoid mosquitoes this summer

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Avoid mosquito bites this summer with tips from University of Illinois Extension BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Nothing will ruin your summer barbecues, evening gardening tasks or strolls through the woods like the feared mosquito. "It doesn't take more than one bite to get me running into the house, leaving the fun behind," University of Illinois Horticulture Extension Educator Kelly...

Read More >

jumping worm characteristics
click image to view 2 more

Jumping Worms in Illinois by Diana Plewa

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

A new invasive species, jumping worm ( Amynthas spp.), was identified in Illinois in 2015. By the end of the year these worms had been confirmed in three northern counties: Cook, DuPage, and McHenry. A worm from far southern Illinois in Williamson County was examined at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic and confirmed as a jumping worm, drastically increasing the range of this worm...

Read More >

spotted wing drosophila adult male and female and larvae  1

Update on Spotted Wing Drosophila by Aly Bronwyn

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

As blackberry and blueberry harvests are underway and peach harvest is just starting, it seems timely to re-run Dr. Weinzierl's article on Spotted Wing Drosophila monitoring and control. His article reminds growers that SWD was trapped throughout Illinois last year, and if you had them last year, you will  very likely have them this year. If you didn't have them last year, you we...

Read More >

japanese beetle adults on pawpaw

Japanese Beetles by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Adult Japanese beetles have been reported in southern, central, and northern Illinois. Early control reduces damage through the six weeks that they are actively feeding as beetles are attracted to previous feeding damage. Japanese beetles feed on the upper leaf surface, eating through the epidermis and mesophyll, leaving the lower leaf surface (epidermis) intact. This lower surface is i...

Read More >

p
click image to view 2 more

Welcome Beneficial Guests with an Insect Hotel

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Welcome Beneficial Guests to an Insect Hotel by Kelly Allsup Did you know that with minimal investment, you can open a hotel? Insect hotels offer places for beneficial insects and pollinators to survive winter's chill and to nest in spring and summer. You can use them to employ garden warriors in any flower bed, vegetable garden, or fruit orchard. Most insect hotels are...

Read More >

Fungus gnat larva on potato slice
click image to view 2 more

Gnats in the Kitchen

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Kitchen Gnats "The major houseplant migration, along with the bananas that are ripening on my counter have caused fungus gnat chaos in my kitchen," states University of Illinois Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup. Flying gnats have not only populated my home but they have thrived. Another factor that may have contributed to this pest is compost...

Read More >

wolf spider Alex Wild
click image to view 2 more

Arachnophilia

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Arachnophilia This past month many homes are being purposefully adorned by abnormally-large, scary black spiders and their webs to hinge on the fact that a large percentage of the population suffers from the fear of spiders, known as Arachnophobia. "In contrast to most of America, I suffer from Arachnophilia-a love of spiders," says University of Illinois Extens...

Read More >

10-10-15 CDL bedbug Rhonda Feree

Household Pest Control Through Time by Dr. Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Control of household pests has changed considerably over the last 50 years, both outdoors and indoors. There has been a fine-tuning of methods and products over the years which has reduced exposure to pesticides but may have resulted in an inadvertent increase in some pests. Chlordane came on the market in the late 1950's and was soon accepted as a long-lasting, wide-spectrum insecticide. Appl...

Read More >

monarch larvae
click image to view 2 more

A Habitat for Monarchs

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

A Habitat for Monarchs "Planting a mix of native butterfly weed and annual tropical milkweed was a winning pollinator garden combination for our small 4-H Garden plot planted this summer," says University of Illinois Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup. The combination resulted in an explosion of monarch caterpillars. Hundreds of monarch caterpillars started their journ...

Read More >

Marmorated Stink Bug
click image to view 2 more

Home Invading Insect Brown Marmorated Stink bug

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Home Invaders Typically on the top of our home invader list in Illinois is Asian lady beetles. Asian lady beetles were released to help farmers with the soybean aphid but instead of overwintering in the cliffs of their native land, they like to invade our homes. If there is a crack or crevice leading its way to the inside of your home, then you may be vulnerable to this...

Read More >

Carpeter bee alex wild

Beekeeping Workshop comes to Pontiac and Eureka

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

The Buzz about Bees! Are you interested in keeping bees? Are you interested in gardening to conserve bees? Are you interested in getting greater amounts of produce from your vegetable garden and orchards? If so, then you should attend the Beekeeping 101 Workshop on October 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This workshop will be held at the University of Illinois Extension...

Read More >

bracnoid wasp
click image to view 4 more

Hummingbird moths

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Small mysterious pollinators have been visiting late-summer and fall-blooming plants in our gardens in order to sip nectar, said University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Kelly Allsup. With wings as fast as a hummingbird and long tongues like a butterfly, these small moths hover over flowers to gather nectar. In the fall months in Illinois, hummingbird moths, a member of...

Read More >

monarch waystation sign
click image to view 2 more

Pathogens on Monarchs by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Pathogens & Parasitoids Reduction in Monarch Butterfly Rearing 1.It is difficult to avoid all parasitoids and diseases as long as caterpillars and their food are collected from the wild. 2.Totally captive-reared insects tend to lose some survival abilities after several generations and adult monarchs would be difficult to maintain. You are better off collecting wild eggs or larv...

Read More >

zimmerman pine moth damage Phil Nixon

Zimmerman Pine Moth by Phil Nixon

Zimmerman pine moth is a common trunk and scaffold branch borer in Scotch, Austrian, and red pine in Illinois. It is a shoot tip borer in Eastern white pine. Although it is difficult to control once inside the tree, its life cycle makes it relatively easy to control while on the outside of the tree. Trunk damage appears as white, crusted areas of pitch an inch or two wide at branch whor...

Read More >