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Bug of the Week

Closed for June — Gypsy Moth

Gypsy moth

Howdy, BugFans, The BugLady heard from BugFan Joanne recently, from out of state.  Her State Department of Agriculture was doing aerial spraying for gypsy moths, and Joanne was having a Silent Spring moment.  “Today it seems remarkably bug free around… Read More

Closed for June – Spectacular Summer Dragonflies

Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

Howdy, BugFans, This episode originally appeared in 2011 under the title of “Confusing Summer Dragonflies.” They are confusing in that they all have dark patches on their wings – interspersed with white patches in mature males but not in juvenile… Read More

Black fly – The Bug. The Legend.

Black flies are also called turkey gnats and buffalo gnats, and people who live in black fly country have a whole bunch of other names for them that can’t be repeated here. Entomologists call them true flies (order Diptera) in the family Simuliidae. There are more than 1,800 species in the family worldwide (100 in North America; 30 in Wisconsin), and most of them belong in the huge genus Simulium. What do they look like? Their hump-backed thorax and down-tilted head makes buffalo gnat a good nickname. BFs are tiny (5 to 10 mm) and dark, with clear wings, many-segmented antennae, and big eyes (and teeth, just kidding).

Closed for June — Pseudoscorpion


Greetings, BugFans, “Closed for June,” but here’s a slightly spruced up episode from 10 years ago, part of a series on household bugs. The BugLady recently found one of these little cuties in her bathroom. Last week, the BugLady raced… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Rerun

monarch butterfly

Howdy, BugFans, The BugLady saw her first monarch butterfly about 10 days ago, and today saw the first on her property.  Here’s a rerun from two years ago on the status of the monarch, with different pictures, and a few… Read More

Wildflower Watch –Marsh Marigold

May is American wetlands month, so we’ll end it in the swamp, in the company of Marsh Marigolds, the flowers that turn newly thawed wetlands a riotous yellow from the last days of April through much of May. Skunk cabbage and pussy willows may whisper the arrival of spring, but marsh marigolds crank up the volume. The BugLady should have started this project two weeks ago when the marsh marigold was at its peak, but the truth is that despite the masses of flowers it produces, she seldom sees many insects on it, and the ones she sees are as likely to be resting as dining.

Thin-legged Wolf Spider

Thin-legged Wolf Spider

The BugLady likes spiders, and she can even hail a number of species by name when she meets them, but she’s never applied herself to their taxonomy, and she jokes that maybe she shouldn’t be identifying them all by herself (to which BugFan Mike graciously replied that maybe nobody should be).

Midland Clubtail dragonfly

Midland Clubtail dragonfly

The BugLady has been checking the Wisconsin Odonata Survey website religiously to see if the dragonfly season has commenced, and she is pleased to announce that it has! Keep the site in mind on your spring and summer ramblings and share your sightings. Observers started reporting Common Green Darners on April 26, and the first Variegated Meadowhawk was logged on April 30. The BugLady is more than ready.

Red-tailed Mining bee

The BugLady visited Riveredge Nature Center recently looking for adventure, and she found it even before she hit the trails. A dozen or so mining bees were flying around over a dirt bank near a bench – they were either nesting there or thinking about it (she came back a week later, and nesting was well-established). Mining bees are solitary, ground-nesting bees in the family Andrenidae, a large family with about 3,000 species, almost half of which are in the genus Andrena (there are 450 Andrenas in North America).

Phantom Midge Redux

Phantom Midge

Phantom midge larvae orient horizontally in the water, turning slowly, rising and sinking in the water column, reminding the BugLady of a young pickerel she once knew. One of the great rewards of scooping in the ephemeral pond is finding phantom midge larvae. Phantom midges (family Chaoboridae) are flies in the order Diptera. They are not mosquitoes, but they’re often lumped with mosquitoes (family Culicidae) and midges (family Chironomidae) in field guides.