Common Milkweed Insects

Almost everyone knows that monarch butterfly caterpillars live only on milkweeds, but did you know there are many other insects that feed exclusively on these plants? From other caterpillars to bugs and beetles, there are several types of insects that have developed ways to avoid being affected by the toxins in milkweeds and have become specialized feeders on these plants. Lean more about some of the most common insects found on milkweed in this article…

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Cicadas

The buzzing of cicadas means it’s the height of summer. In Wisconsin there are only a few species of this group of insects that is mainly tropical in distribution. Feeding underground on roots for years as nymphs, the adults are only around for a few weeks, making their distinctive noise and laying eggs for the next generation. Learn more about these insects in this article…

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Katydids

Katydids are one of the many creatures buzzing, trilling and chirping away in the summer night insect chorus. These cricket and grasshopper relatives are fairly large insects, but often overlooked because they come in colors and shapes that blend in with their environment to prevent predation. Learn about the main groups of katydids and some interesting facts about these plant-eating insects…

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Damsel Bugs, Family Nabidae

You likely have some beneficial predators in your garden that you’ve never paid attention to. Damsel bugs are slender, tan-colored bugs that look a lot like assassin bugs or other plant bugs that feed on plants. But all of the damsel bugs, or nabid bugs in the Family Nabidae, are predators. To learn more about this good guy that eat aphids, caterpillars and more, read this article…

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Sawflies

Sawflies are a group insects related to wasps that get their common name from the saw-like appearance of the ovipositor, which females use to cut slits in stems or leaves to lay their eggs. The plant-feeding larvae often look like caterpillars or slugs, and many are quite noticeable because they often stay together to feed in groups and quickly cause noticeable defoliation on their hosts. Learn more about sawflies in this article…

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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)

Bacillus thuringiensis is the most common microbial insecticide used in the US. Known more often by its initials of Bt, this bacterium kills susceptible insects that ingest it, with different strains affecting different types of insects. Learn more about how this organism causes disease in insects and how it can be used as a biological pesticide…

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Boxelder Bug, Boisea trivittatus

Those pesky black and red bugs all over the place! Boxelder bugs are very noticeable in the fall when they congregate before overwintering in buildings. As long as they remain cold, they are inactive, but when warmed a furnace or sunshine, they become active and may crawl into the rooms. To learn more about this nuisance pest, read this article…

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Praying Mantids

The praying mantids are a group of insects with very characteristic front legs designed to capture and hold prey. The common name comes from the way the legs are held upright when hunting, but they don’t really have any religious affiliations. To learn more about these fascinating predators, read this article…

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European Pine Sawfly, Neodiprion sertifer

If you’ve noticed masses or writhing, dark green “caterpillars” on your pine trees this spring, you likely have an infestation of European pine sawfly. This insect lives in large colonies, feeding on last year’s needles until they finish their development, then pupate in the soil or leaf litter. To learn more about this pest, read this article…

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Common Columbine Pests: Columbine Leafminer and Columbine Sawfly

If you have columbines in your garden, you likely have seen squiggly white trails or blotches on the leaves or had the entire leaf devoured at one time. These are significant as cosmetic problems, but generally have little impact on the plant’s health. Learn more about the life cycle of the two insects that cause these problems and how to deal with them in this article…

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