Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Heart Macro - Insects

I'm a huge fan of macro pictures.
So of course, as I see a few fellow blog friends participating in

Well, I just had to get my brain, computer, & pictures in one place.
So, where is this bug-girl obsessed with up-close photography to start?
 A fly on columbine (love that metallic gold).

An immature grasshopper on milkweed - oh the metallic colors in sunlight!

An adult, winged aphid atop the milkweed. Immature aphids underneath.

And where there are aphid colonies, the ladybug beetle larvae is not far behind.
Love those beneficial insects!

This entomologist, gardener, conservationist just cannot get enough of these up close pictures.

Stop back again to see what else I'm going to post from the garden.
I've got a post coming up with photos of a Hymenoptera pupa and the clay pieces that I was inspired to make into earrings from it...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crap - It's Aster Yellow Phytoplasma on My Cone Flowers...

Now that I've completed my official training in the MG program here in New Castle County (DE) I get to look at my garden with a newly educated set of eyes.
And this is not what I used to think:
"Oh, wow - look at all those cool tiny little cone flowers coming out of the middle of my cone flower".
Now it has become:
"Oh crap! My Purple Cone Flower has Aster Yellow Phytoplasma"
And then the plant gets removed from the garden, and any plants that are showing early signs of the disease.
This was something that we covered in class (aka: "the dead and the dying"class which turned into a three class + disease walk experience).
This is one of those diseases that are transmitted by plant to insect when the insect is feeding on the diseased plant, then pass it onto another plant when that carrier insect feeds on the new plant. You've got to try to stop the cycle if you can.
Here just one of my plants this year.
And this one may be exhibiting symptoms too - but I'm not 100% yet. The deer keep deadheading the cone flowers, so it's hard to tell sometimes. Must look for foliage curl (which is different than wilting from dehydration).
Here is a quick photo of a Hymenoptera (bee) that is one our Native Pollinators here in DE. 
I just went to a Master Gardener meeting on Tuesday with guest speaker Dr. Delaney (Entomologist & Bee Keeper) from University of DE, Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, and will pull out my notes to ID this particular bee for you.
Here are some of the new cone flowers - taken with my iPhone Hipstamatic app - that I purchased last year from a reputable garden center that are in my front garden bed, away from the infected other plants.
No sign of Aster Yellow up there yet (knock on wood please).
And while showing Hipstamatic photos, the above is of the Hydrangea now in bloom out front.
Right now this is the instar (lifecycle stage) of the introduced pest we are seeing here in the North East US: 
the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug around my garden.
Luckily the spiders out in the garden are enjoying having all the extra food around.
This particular spider didn't like me getting so close and actually shot some web at me.
Pretty cool to see actually - I'm such a weirdo sometimes!

More to come…
I've been taking a TON of photos, but just not finding the time to blog right now.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and learn about something…
By the way - if you see your cone flowers doing this - you should consider pulling them out so this disease does not spread through out your garden…
Just my two cents worth.