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Brown Lacewing

Brown lacewing pest control
As the sun was setting one day I went out into the garden looking to photograph bugs. And like is common for me I got down on the ground and close up to the foliage and waited to see what moved or landed. Moments later this rather boring looking bug landed on some foliage and I decided to snap a photograph of it.

Recently while clearing out my hard drive I came across the photo and was pleasantly surprised by the effect of the setting sun on it's wings. To me it looks like the sun streaming in through a stained glass window and aside from this "aint it cool" effect I didn't think much of this bug that I've seen a lot around Chicago.

That all changed today when I learned that this brown lacewing bug is actually very beneficial in the garden. I don't know if it helps with pollinating flowers but I've learned that in the larvae stage and even as adults they are voracious eaters of aphids and mites. Like ladybugs they are a biological control of pests that we should encourage instead of using insecticides.

One really cool (to me at least) factoid about this bug it is that it's also known as "trash bug" because Green Lacewing larvae cover themselves in debris and insect carcases as seen in this photo. I'm guessing this is a method of camouflage that helps the larvae avoid becoming a meal .

Chalybion californicum- Mud Dauber Wasp

Chalybion californicum Metallic Blue Wasp, Mud dauber wasp
I was photographing some butterflies in my garden when this metallic blue wasp landed near me and startled me. The blue green color of this bug is striking and I'd never seen one like it in Chicago before. After some Googling I've learned that it is a Chalybion californicum or commonly called a Mud Dauber Wasp.

Adenium Obesum: Fertilizer Damage

Adenium Obesum Fertilizer Damage
A couple of weeks ago I somehow mistook my liquid houseplant fertilizer for my bottle of liquid cacti & succulent fertilizer when I decided to fertilize my Adenium Obesum plants. The next day the leafs starting showing signs of fertilizer burn and were browning at the tips.

Atteva punctella-Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Atteva punctella-Ailanthus Webworm Moth in ChicagoAtteva punctella or Ailanthus Webworm Moth is thought to be native to South Florida and the American tropics. How it made it to my garden is a bit of a mystery because it isn't suppose to over winter in cold climates.