Insect Jamboree

Leaf-footed bug at Powdermill Nature Center, 19 August 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

2 September 2023

Insect activity is pretty intense in late August and September as they run out of time to eat and mate before cold weather (usually) kills them.

While vegetarian insects, such as the leaf-footed bug above (Coreidae family), munch on fruits, nuts, plants and trees, the carnivores dine on insects. Carnivores include the migrating warblers who pick tiny bugs off of leaves and branches.

Every day predatory spiders weave a gauzy web on top of these Japanese yews in Shadyside, hoping for an unsuspecting insect.

Gauzy spider webs on Japanese yew, Shadyside Pittsburgh, 14 August 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Assassin bugs (Reduviidae family, nymph below) eat many insects in their lifetime.

Assassin bug nymph, Powdermill Nature Center, 19 August 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

And if you want to red about a really creepy predator, check out this #bioPGH blog about The Super Spooky Sting of the great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)

Meanwhile the vegetarian insectss are distracted by mating, as seen in this pair of Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica).

Japanese beetles mating while perched on tick trefoil amidst spreading dogbane, Sewickley Heights Park, 29 August 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Two flies were locked in some sort of embrace on my car yesterday morning at Schenley Park. Considering the size difference I wonder if this wasn’t fratricide.

Flies doing something on my car, maybe mating, Schenley Park, 1 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

And in spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula) news: Yes the lanternflies are still quite present and they haven’t even begun to lay eggs yet. That’ll happen this month and next.

This week I found a milestone on the honeydew mold front: In Schenley Park on Friday I saw the white mold on top of sooty mold.

The whiteness in this photo appears to be the sun glinting off the Ailanthus tree trunk but in fact it’s white mold growing on top of sooty mold (black) on top of spotted lanternfly honeydew.

White mold on top of sooty mold on spotted lanternfly honeydew on an Ailanthus tree, Schenley Park, 1 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Ailanthus, “Tree of heaven,” is the host tree of the spotted lanternfly and they sure do love this one. Looking up, the tree is infested with lanternflies.

Spotted lanternflies coating an Ailanthus tree, Schenley Park, 1 Sept 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Expect more insect activity in the week ahead as bright sun and hot temperatures warm them up.

(photos by Kate St. John)

2 thoughts on “Insect Jamboree

  1. Hi Kate! I am not a fan of bugs of any kind, but this was so interesting. Thanks much. It is Lovebug month here in Florida! (May and September) I don’t know how they know when it is not April or August anymore!! I wish you a great Labor Day weekend. Be safe!

  2. Had a nice walk in Schenley today, didn’t see any Lantern Flies. I’ll look more carefully next time.
    Killed a dozen in the parking lots!

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