Scale Insects

Scale insects feed on many plants, but are often overlooked because they are immobile and many types look like small bumps that just might be plant parts blending in with the leaves, twigs and branches. These insects secrete a waxy covering – that gives them their common name – to protect them from the environment and predators. Learn more about this group of inconspicuous and atypical insects in this article…

Read More...

Aphids

Aphids may be viewed as just another pest for gardeners to try to eliminate, but they’re really fascinating insects, with bizarre lifestyles and eating habits and they’re also dinner for lots of other insects. Forming colonies covering the leaves and stems of plants, these small sap-sucking creatures reproduce incredibly fast and a few also transmit plant diseases. Learn more about this large group of insects and how to manage them in the garden in this article…

Read More...

Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui

The painted lady butterfly is a common visitor in Wisconsin, especially in the fall. These colorful insects prefer open areas, including prairies, old fields, vacant lots, and gardens where they feed preferentially on the nectar from relatively tall herbaceous perennials. The spiny caterpillars feed on a large number of different plants. To learn more about this butterfly, read this article…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...

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…

Read More...