Category Archives: Insects

Monarch Caterpillar, Here’s Hoping You Make it to Mexico

I was delighted to find this monarch caterpillar in our garden today, munching away on some Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). We used to see monarchs on a regular basis, but in the last few years these visitors have become very rare in my wildlife garden. My own anecdotal observations match what scientists who study these beautiful orange, Read More →

Planting for Pollinators in DC on Earth Day

This morning commuters across the District were reminded it was Earth Day when representatives from the city’s Department of Energy & the Environment (DDOE) arrived at 13 different Metro stations to hand out seed packets. “Want some seeds to help us plant pollinators?” DDOE Director Tommy Wells repeatedly asked people on their way to work and Read More →

Bumble Bees Provide Another Reason to NOT Rake Leaves

For years now I’ve been proclaiming the many good reasons to stop raking leaves in urban and suburban back yards. Leaves are the perfect mulch, and can increase the biodiversity of your soil. Leaving your leaves in place helps to provide lots of habitat of insects, which in turn provides lots of food for foraging Read More →

Beekeepers, Neonicotinoids & the Pollinator Protection Act

Beekeepers Come Out to Support the Proposed MD Bill About Neonicotinoids “This place is a hive of activity,” one man quipped as beekeepers entered the Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit dressed in their white canvas suits in Annapolis, MD last night. They had come, mesh hoods hanging down their backs, to show support for the proposed Pollinator Protection Read More →

Help Me Tell Stories about the Urban Environment

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just joined the Beacon journalism project, and starting this February I’ll be writing stories about the urban environment for a project called “Greening the City.” I have always been fascinated by the intersection of nature and people in crowded urban spaces, and the ways in which green space can make Read More →

Worried about Pollinators?  Now is the time to speak up

If you are worried about bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and other pollinators, now is the time to speak up and submit comments to the US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. The two agencies held “listening sessions” last week to gather “stakeholder input” for the President’s new “Pollinator Health Task Force” regarding the Read More →

Celebrating Spiders, Plastic and Otherwise

  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had fun watching the spiders emerge around my neighborhood.  Some have been quite small and ferocious.  Others are three or four feet tall — but very benign. As an organic gardener in the Mid-Atlantic, I learned long ago to think of spiders as important members of my Read More →

Can you find the Praying Mantis?

Can you find the praying mantis in this photo? Yesterday, while watching butterflies on my asters, I found these two creatures, who were looking for lunch. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out if the mantises in my garden are the native variety. The individuals I find most often in my yard are small, but I’m not yet Read More →

Can Aphids on Milkweed Plants Harm Monarchs?

Will Aphids on Milkweed Harm or Deter Monarchs? Almost every afternoon for the last two weeks, monarch butterflies have been spotted flying through our urban garden here outside of DC.  Sometimes I see them from my home office window.  Other times, my kids will run in from playing outside and announce they’re seeing one on our Read More →

Beautiful Honey Bees, Made Even More Beautiful

  Okay, so it is August, and the weather outside is absolutely idyllic here in DC.  Maybe you, like me, wish you could just go outside and play.  Maybe you, like me, wish you could just spend all afternoon in the garden, or working at your beehive, or hiding under the sunflowers eating raspberries fresh Read More →

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