praying mantid 2

Praying mantids have hatched and are busy staking their claim in all areas of the garden looking for any insect to eat. They are fun to watch and photograph. So glad I noticed their egg masses and relocated them when cutting back the garden last fall.

clove current berries

The clove currant is producing berries, first green then ripening to black. The birds are eating them faster than I can take a photo them almost. Good plant for wildlife, and a hand-me-down plant from my husband’s grandmother’s home. The Latin name is Ribes odoratum for those doing a search to find one.

swallowtail butterfly

This swallowtail butterfly was very busy feeding on the nectar of the very floriferous bottlebrush buckeye blooming on campus. Bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, is a fabulous, large shrub which sends up panicles of white flowers with red anthers and pinkish filaments.

spinach bolting 2

The summer’s heat is causing the cool weather crops of the spring to bolt and go to seed. Once this happens, the leaves become bitter and plants should be pulled and composted. Planting fall crops of carrots, beets, peas, kale or beans make good use of then now available space in the garden.

Robber fly

This robber fly was resting in the garden, probably waiting for an easy insect meal. They are predatory on all types of insects and considered a beneficial insect.

cross striped caterpillar on cale

If your kale or other cole crops are being eaten and showing a lacy appearance of holy leaves, look for the cross-striped cabbage worm. One caterpillar can eat quite a lot. Bt is a good control measure when they are small, or insecticidal soap. Rotate where brassica plants are located next year, and grow under a row cover to keep the adult moth from laying her eggs on the leaves.


Garlic is ready to be harvested during July, once half of the leaves have turned brown. After carefully loosening the soil with a spade, pull the garlic bulbs by the stems and dry on an open rack in out of the sun and under cover for three weeks. A shed or garage are best for the drying. After they are dry, brush off the dirt, cut off the roots close to the bottom of the bulb, and cut back the stem end leaving about one inch. Store in the home in a dry, dark spot. Save the largest bulbs for planting next October through November.

gypsym moth females and egg masses

Gypsy moth adults are busy mating. Females do not fly, only able to crawl. The males are flitting around, flying to females to mate. Females will lay the buff colored egg masses which will last through the fall, winter and spring, to hatch next summer. Egg masses can be  crushed or scraped into a container of soapy water.

-Carol Quish

All photos are copyrighted by Carol Quish, UConn.










early instar gypsy moth caterpillar Pamm Cooper photo

Gypsy moth caterpillar. Note the faint blue spots on the back toward the head, followed by several red dots.

Can you hear the munching? Are the leaves of your trees being eaten? If you are finding hairy, black caterpillars with blue and red spots with a little white thrown in for good measure,  gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars are present. High populations are being found around the state, probably due to the warmer winter which allowed many egg masses to make it through the winter.

Around 500 eggs are laid in buff-colored masses of  during July. Egg masses can be laid on trees, homes, fence posts and just about anywhere the female moth is able to reach. Scrape off any you find, and crush or put in a container of soapy water. Alternative control is to spray mass with horticultural oil. Egg masses not eradicated will over-winter, waiting to hatch during late April into early May. Newly hatched caterpillars spin a fine thread of silk to ‘balloon’, carried by the wind hoping to land on a host plant. Oak trees are their preferred food source, but they will feed on many other plants if opportunity presents.

There are five to six larval stages of the caterpillar. The early stages of the young caterpillar stay in the trees to feed at night, hiding under leaves during the day. Later stage or older caterpillars drop to the ground to find hiding places during the day. This is the stage people notice them congregating under eaves, on houses, tree trunks and other shaded places providing protection from heat and sun, and predators.

gypsy moths on foundation

Gypsy moth caterpillars on foundation.

These caterpillars can be killed by spraying with soapy water or collecting them to put in a bucket of soap and water. Wear gloves as some people are allergic to the hairs along their bodies.The caterpillars climb back up the trees in late afternoon and evening to continue feeding. Banding the trees with burlap coated with a sticky substance such as Tanglefoot or petroleum jelly will catch the caterpillars as they try to climb the trunk to reach the leaves. Daily cleaning of the burlap to remove the stuck caterpillars will keep them off the leafy portion of the tree.

gypsy moth band,

gypsy moth Burlap-band-iwex/edu

By the third week of June until mid July, caterpillars are done feeding. Caterpillars leave the trees to a seek a protected spot to pupate. Pupation lasts about two weeks, then the adult moths emerge. The female moth is whitish with faint brown marks. The male moth is darker brownish. The female cannot fly so the male flies to her to mate. Females then climb up trunks or other objects to lay the egg mass. Adults only live about two weeks and there is only one generation per year.

gypsy_moth_female_and_male Gypsy moth male (left),female (right).

Gypsy moth male and female, (Photo by Lilly Calderon, Kelly Estes)


-Carol Quish