The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic:
Now is the time the solider beetles are noticed on goldenrod and other fall-blooming flowers. See the photo below and our online article at the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic website. Soldier beetles are harmless predators that are closely related to the lightningbugs and can be distinguished by the absence of a light on the underside of the abdomen.
Now is also the time to see our common accidental invaders: the boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetle and pine seed bugs. Early indications are that all will be at low to moderate numbers compared to some years when we are overrun with invaders. The photo below shows the pine seed bug with the distinctive zig-zag stripe across the back. This one is featured since it is NOT the brown marmorated stink bug, the newest invasive species that we are expecting and watching for. Let us know if you find any stink bugs with banded antennae as shown in the photo below.
The giant ichneumon wasps (Megarhyssa spp.) are spectacular wasps and always a treat to see. See photo below. Giant ichneumons are harmless and beneficial parasitoids. The female uses her long ovipositor to deposit eggs inside the tree where her offspring will parasitize horntail wasp larvae, wood-borers found in dying and stressed trees.
Goldenrod soldier beetle. Photo by A.J. Davis.
Western conifer seed bug, AKA pine seed bug, showing the zig-zag stripe on abdomen.
Giant ichneumon wasp photographed by Jodie Schreiber, North Liberty IA.