July 30, 2004

Digger Wasps

At least 3 different species of wasps construct nests in the ground in Iowa. These Digger Wasps include the cicada killer wasp, the largest wasp found in Iowa. Cicada killer wasps may be up to 2 inches long. They are black with yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen and they have rusty colored wings. The great golden digger wasp is slightly smaller. The abdomen is reddish-orange except at the tip, which is black. A third species is 1-inch long and completely black with iridescent blue wings.

Late Summer and Fall-blooming Bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, are familiar to all gardeners. Though not widely planted, the attractive flowers and unique life cycles of the colchicum, showy crocus, and magic lily make them welcome additions to the garden.

Colchicums (Colchicum spp.) arise from bulb-like corms. The leaves of most colchicums emerge in early spring and die back by early summer. White to pink to purple crocus-like flowers appear without foliage in late summer or fall. They also are known as autumn crocuses.