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.
Assassin bugs (Reduviidae family, nymph below) eat many insects in their lifetime.
Meanwhile the vegetarian insectss are distracted by mating, as seen in this pair of Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica).
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.
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.
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.
Expect more insect activity in the week ahead as bright sun and hot temperatures warm them up.
(photos by Kate St. John)