Tick photo and tick bite prevention graphic

Summer is officially here, and it’s time to get out to your favorite walking or hiking spot! That may entail walking through tall grass and woodland brush, depending on where you go. Protect yourself from Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever by following tick prevention advice of forest enthusiasts and agricultural professionals.

Monarch Caterpillar and Butterfly

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The state insect, the monarch butterfly, is facing a crisis. Each May, Illinoisans celebrate the monarch butterfly, but University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup says that Illinois residents should be worried.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug  

They are crawling on my windows, walls, and houseplants newly rescued from the lower night temperatures of the fall and creeping me out. They could be hanging out on your dishes, doing a balancing act on your toothbrush, resting in your clothing or hair, or be a rather interesting ornament on your Christmas tree. 

A recent study tracking butterfly abundance in Ohio over the last 20 years has discovered a 33% decline. We can only assume that in Illinois we have similar patterns in decline in our butterfly populations. Scientists believe the decline may be attributed to climate change, habitat degradation, and agricultural practices. 

sphynx moth

With everything going virtual this year, Illinois’ Master Gardener conference followed suit, hosting only one speaker. So she must have been good.

the foamy-looking egg case of a chinese mantis clings to a cluster of twigs

You have likely spied upon, or even befriended, praying mantises in your garden this growing season. Although most adults die out during the late fall and early winter, they have likely left behind a foamy garden ornaments within your landscape.

Females can start laying eggs as soon as you see adults. Once the adult flies are discovered, management decisions should be made. Adult flies are tan with red eyes and a tiny 2-3mm-long (up to a one-eighth of an inch). Males have characteristic dark spots on their wings that can easily be seen with a magnifying glass. Adults live for up to 2 weeks, and females can lay up to 300 eggs. Development from egg to adult can occur in as little as eight days, and 10 or more generations may occur within a season.

Did you know that with minimal investment, you can open a hotel? Insect hotels offer places for beneficial insects and pollinators to survive winter's chill and to nest in spring and summer. You can use them to employ garden warriors in any flower bed, vegetable garden, or fruit orchard.