Orange-striped oakworms make yearly appearance

This is a quick field note by PhD student Emily Meineke.

For the last few weeks, orange striped oakworms have been raining on my head as I work in the trees. They also drop a lot of

 

 

Large oakworms eat entire leaves except for the mid vein. Photo: EK Meineke

Large oakworms eat entire leaves except for the mid vein. Photo: EK Meineke

poop (entomologists call it frass) which is one of the major complaints by homeowners. Orange-striped oakworms congregate on branches to feed every year in late summer but usually do not cause enough damage to warrant treatment.

Young oak worms cause damage called 'window panning' in which they eat the surface of leaves and feed between tiny veins. Photo: EK Meineke.

Young oak worms cause damage called ‘window panning’ in which they eat the surface of leaves and feed between tiny veins. Photo: EK Meineke.

Young orangestriped oakworms are often light in color and darken as they get older. I have found some parasitized individuals, which means natural enemies are doing their part to reduce oakworm outbreaks. Caterpillars also make great food for birds. We have posted previously about orange-striped oak worm biology and management if you want more information.  

Large caterpillar poops around the base of a tree. Photo: SD Frank

Large caterpillar poops around the base of a tree. Photo: SD Frank

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SAVE THE DATE: LARVAE EXPECTED

This guest blog post is from four of our amazing undergraduate (or just-graduated!) Frank Lab Summer Employees: Nicole Bissonette (Zoology ‘15), Laura Daly (Horticulture ‘14), Karly Dugan (Animal Science ‘15) and Danielle Schmidt (Zoology ‘15). This blog is proof that even non-entomology majors can fall madly in love with bugs.

The expectant MOTHers in the Frank Lab.

The expectant MOTHers in the Frank Lab.

Once upon a lunch break, the four of us discovered a moth frantically flapping its wings beneath a

Rescued imperial moth

Rescued imperial moth

Southern Magnolia, unable to fly. We were concerned as she struggled to crawl up the tree and decided to bring her back to the Frank lab. Since our fellow coworkers were out in the field conducting research, we had to put on our entomology caps. After some intense googling, we discovered our lovely, large friend was an Imperial Moth.

 Going off our immensely extravagant base of insect knowledge (#sarcasm, #non-entomology majors), our observations lead us to believe that she was pregnant, not relieving herself as we had originally thought. Once brought into the lab, we noticed she stopped laying eggs, since she was probably getting cold due to the air conditioning. So, we relocated her to the balcony outside in the sun. Once warm, her ovipositor picked up speed, and was dropping eggs like ‘dey were hawt.’ We

Imperial moth eggs.

Imperial moth eggs.

decided to let her lay eggs all night in this plastic container as per suggestions on several other blogs. When we came into the lab the next morning, she had laid over 50 eggs! We have decided we are going to raise them as our own and document our experience. Save the date, cross your fingers, and check back for updates on our “MOTHerhood” duties!

 

 

 

 

 

Sweat Bees like YOU Sweaty!

Guest blog by April Hamblin an MS student in our lab who is often sweating in the urban heat as she conducts research to determine how urbanization affects native bee communities. She writes periodic posts here and on yourwildlife.com about her research and bee natural history.

Do you sweat in this North Carolina heat and humidity? If you sweat enough, beautiful bees may come by and give you a light kiss. These bees in the family Halictidae are known as sweat bees because they drink the salts from your sweat. They are very small and often mistaken as flies. If swatted at, many have stingers so small that they cannot penetrate our skin, but if they do, you may feel a tiny twinge of pain that soon leaves as fast as the bees fly away. So when you’re outside this summer sweating up a storm, watch for your friend and important pollinator, the sweat bee.

Augochlora_pura_Bee

While many sweat bees are dark black and blue, some are even green! This common species, Augochlora pura, is found in North Carolina along with over 500 species of native bees! In this photograph, this sweat bee is extending her tongue to the left, which is how she would suck the salts from your sweat. Photographed by Sam Droege, USGA. For more beautiful photographs of native bees, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/