Category: Pests & Disease

I have things that move in my birdbath. What are they?

Those little, squirming things in your birdbath are container-breeding mosquitoes (Figure 1). These mosquitoes are in their larval stage. Adult container-breeding mosquitoes lay eggs wherever water collects, which can be natural structures—like bromeliads—or artificial ones with standing water—like… Read More

I found worms with a spike for a tail on my tomatoes. What are they?

Between April and November, you might notice spike-tailed green worms (Figure 1) feasting on your tomato plants’ leaves and fruit. These voracious creatures ravaging your garden are caterpillars called tobacco or tomato hornworms. The caterpillars are the larval… Read More

Do wasps have any benefits at all?

Actually, yes! They may not make honey like pollinating bees do, but we still need them. Even though you might tend to think of wasps as pesky stinging insects, they do provide ecological benefits. Similar to bees, some… Read More

Fresh spring leaves: A delectable treat

Throughout early spring, leaf buds on deciduous trees open up into fresh, green leaves. Our recently bare and bland landscapes are green again. We aren’t the only ones who are excited about this, though. Leaf-eating insects are too. Early spring is when many… Read More

Crash Course in Taxonomy, or, What Those Odd Latin Terms for Bugs Mean

Perhaps you’ve noticed that our Bug Week writings often contain Latin terms for bugs. For example, if we mention the common bed bug we’ll probably reference its scientific name, Cimex lectularius. Or when we talk about grasshoppers we might note… Read More

What are these tents?

You may have noticed branches covered in these strange structures (Figure 1) during the spring, typically in March. These are tents constructed by eastern tent caterpillars, the larval stage of a Lasiocampid moth—a hairy and golden-brown colored moth… Read More

Are ladybugs all ladies?

The ladybug (Figure 1), or ladybird, is the common name given to beetles in the Coccinellidae family. This is misleading because not all ladybugs are ladies; they can be either female or male. It is difficult to determine… Read More