Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: milkweed

The Enemy of the Gardener

Oleander aphids clustering on a milkweed stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Aphids, don't you just hate them? Especially those oleander aphids that suck the very lifeblood out of our milkweed plants that we're struggling to save for monarch butterflies. Just call aphids "The Enemy of the Gardener" or "The Enemy of the...

Oleander aphids clustering on a milkweed stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oleander aphids clustering on a milkweed stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Oleander aphids clustering on a milkweed stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Aphids magnified on a Leica DVM6 microscope, operated by Lynn Epstein, UC Davis emeritus professor of plant pathology.
Aphids magnified on a Leica DVM6 microscope, operated by Lynn Epstein, UC Davis emeritus professor of plant pathology.

Aphids magnified on a Leica DVM6 microscope, operated by Lynn Epstein, UC Davis emeritus professor of plant pathology.

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Monarch Madness: Thanks, Monarch Mama!

A hungry monarch caterpillar chewing on a milkweed stem this morning in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Thar's gold in them thar hills? Probably not. But thar's definitely gold in that there pollinator garden--our little pollinator garden in Vacaville, Calif. Gold, black and white--as in the iconic monarch caterpillars. We've been waiting all year for...

A hungry monarch caterpillar chewing on a milkweed stem this morning in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A hungry monarch caterpillar chewing on a milkweed stem this morning in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A hungry monarch caterpillar chewing on a milkweed stem this morning in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The monarch caterpillar swirls to get the best angle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The monarch caterpillar swirls to get the best angle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The monarch caterpillar swirls to get the best angle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The long and short of it--a monarch caterpillar crawls on a stem to its next dining spot. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The long and short of it--a monarch caterpillar crawls on a stem to its next dining spot. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The long and short of it--a monarch caterpillar crawls on a stem to its next dining spot. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Even seed pods are fair game for hungry monarch caterpillars. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Even seed pods are fair game for hungry monarch caterpillars. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Even seed pods are fair game for hungry monarch caterpillars. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a monarch caterpillar, taken with a Canon MPE-65mm lens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a monarch caterpillar, taken with a Canon MPE-65mm lens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a monarch caterpillar, taken with a Canon MPE-65mm lens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

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

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