Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: milkweed

The Incredible Aphid-Eating Machines

Lady beetle larva dining on aphids on milkweed, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Just call them the "incredible aphid-eating machines." That would be the lady beetles, commonly known as ladybugs (although they are not bugs; they're beetles belonging to the family Coccinellidae, and they're not all "ladies"--some are male!). How...

Lady beetle larva dining on aphids on milkweed, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Lady beetle larva dining on aphids on milkweed, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Lady beetle larva dining on aphids on milkweed, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, aka ladybug, tracks down more prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle, aka ladybug, tracks down more prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, aka ladybug, tracks down more prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 5:38 PM

Lady Beetles: The First Ladies of the Garden Having a Ball

A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

See those red spots on your milkweed seed pods? Lady beetles (aka ladybugs or "garden heroes") are feasting on aphids. And they're having a ball. We've been watching the critters on our milkweed, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, for the last couple of...

A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Peek-a-boo? Or peek-a-beetle? A lady beetle, resplendent in red, crawls through the spiky hairs of milkweed seed pods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Peek-a-boo? Or peek-a-beetle? A lady beetle, resplendent in red, crawls through the spiky hairs of milkweed seed pods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Peek-a-boo? Or peek-a-beetle? A lady beetle, resplendent in red, crawls through the spiky hairs of milkweed seed pods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hurry! A lady beetle snags aphids on a milkweed seed pod, while other aphids try to escape (far right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hurry! A lady beetle snags aphids on a milkweed seed pod, while other aphids try to escape (far right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hurry! A lady beetle snags aphids on a milkweed seed pod, while other aphids try to escape (far right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 4:17 PM

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!

A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised  for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ladybug!  Ladybug!Fly away home.Your house is on fireAnd your children are gone. How many times have you heard that nursery rhyme? Better yet, how many times have you seen a lady beetle (because they're beetles, not bugs) take off? Look closely...

A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised  for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

All systems go! The lady beetle opens its elytra, revealing its wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
All systems go! The lady beetle opens its elytra, revealing its wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

All systems go! The lady beetle opens its elytra, revealing its wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ready for liftoff? This lady beetle is good to go. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ready for liftoff? This lady beetle is good to go. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ready for liftoff? This lady beetle is good to go. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And we're off! The lady beetle spreads its wings and is off. Photos taken with 105mm lens on Nikon D500; ISO 2000; shutter speed, 1/1000, and f-stop 16. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
And we're off! The lady beetle spreads its wings and is off. Photos taken with 105mm lens on Nikon D500; ISO 2000; shutter speed, 1/1000, and f-stop 16. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And we're off! The lady beetle spreads its wings and is off. Photos taken with 105mm lens on Nikon D500; ISO 2000; shutter speed, 1/1000, and f-stop 16. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Not a Good Time to Be a Monarch Caterpillar

A monarch caterpillar munches on   tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Migrating monarchs are fluttering daily into our yard in Vacaville, Calif., one by one, two by two, three by three, and four by four, for a little flight fuel. They're sipping nectar from the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia, and tropical...

A monarch caterpillar munches on   tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A monarch caterpillar munches on tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A monarch caterpillar munches on tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pacific Northwest monarchs began migrating to their overwintering sites along coastal California in last August and early September. This one touched down on milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Sept. 12. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pacific Northwest monarchs began migrating to their overwintering sites along coastal California in last August and early September. This one touched down on milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Sept. 12. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pacific Northwest monarchs began migrating to their overwintering sites along coastal California in last August and early September. This one touched down on milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Sept. 12. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This was the scene Nov. 14, 2016 at the  Natural Bridges State Park's Monarch Grove Butterfly Natural Preserve, Santa Cruz. They were overwintering 80 feet high in a eucalpytus tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This was the scene Nov. 14, 2016 at the Natural Bridges State Park's Monarch Grove Butterfly Natural Preserve, Santa Cruz. They were overwintering 80 feet high in a eucalpytus tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This was the scene Nov. 14, 2016 at the Natural Bridges State Park's Monarch Grove Butterfly Natural Preserve, Santa Cruz. They were overwintering 80 feet high in a eucalpytus tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 4:22 PM

How Do Insects, Spiders React to a Partial Solar Eclipse?

A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The sky darkens. The temperature drops several degrees. A breeze rustles the leaves of the African blue basil. Dogs bark. And off in the distance, a hawk shrills. A partial solar eclipse is about to happen in Vacaville, Calif. I am watching the...

A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee nectaring on African blue basil during the partial solar eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A praying mantis, a female Stagmomantis limbata (as identified by Andrew Pfeifer) lurks beneath a milkweed leaf during the partial eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A praying mantis, a female Stagmomantis limbata (as identified by Andrew Pfeifer) lurks beneath a milkweed leaf during the partial eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A praying mantis, a female Stagmomantis limbata (as identified by Andrew Pfeifer) lurks beneath a milkweed leaf during the partial eclipse in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A pollen-coated honey bee ignores the eclipse and forages on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A pollen-coated honey bee ignores the eclipse and forages on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A pollen-coated honey bee ignores the eclipse and forages on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two stink bugs on a bluebeard,Caryopteris x clandonensis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two stink bugs on a bluebeard,Caryopteris x clandonensis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two stink bugs on a bluebeard,Caryopteris x clandonensis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An assassin bug looking for prey. It's on a tropical milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An assassin bug looking for prey. It's on a tropical milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An assassin bug looking for prey. It's on a tropical milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee trapped in a web (and freed by the photographer). It was the spider's second catch of the day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee trapped in a web (and freed by the photographer). It was the spider's second catch of the day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee trapped in a web (and freed by the photographer). It was the spider's second catch of the day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 2:05 PM
Tags: eclipse (1), Eric Mussen (245), honey bee (197), milkweed (34), orbweaver (1), praying mantis (89), predator (15), prey (21), spider (13), Tithonia (57)

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