Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Insect Overwintering

As winter nears, I look forward to my “long winter’s nap” where I catch up on reading, writing, various research projects, and processing photography. It’s generally a bit slower pace of life and I ready for it as the days grow shorter and chillier. [Read more…]

Insects and Milkweed

Authors: Marci Hess and MJ Hatfield

Insects and milkweed plants have been a topic of much conversation lately. It is wonderful that monarchs and their corresponding host plants, milkweeds, are getting the attention and grant money they deserve. Yet there are a number of insects that utilize milkweeds and depend on them for various reason; many of these are less well known by the general public. By planting, encouraging and appreciating milkweeds, folks will be helping these insects, too. [Read more…]

Bio Blitz-ing

I attended my first insect bio blitz last Saturday (26 Jul 2014) at the Erickson Wetlands in Argyle, WI. The Driftless Area Land Conservancy (DALC) is responsible for this fabulous new land legacy which encompasses 220-acres of diverse habitat which contains multiple sloughs and oxbow lakes and over a mile of Pecatonica River frontage. [Read more…]

Day of Insects 2014

Day of Insects is held at Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, IA. In the beginning it was an informal group gathering to discuss their current projects. This blossomed into an event that is open to the general public. Attendees include hobbyists, professionals, and academics. The mix of folks is impressive and makes it welcoming to everyone! [Read more…]

Signs of Concern or Not?

This picture was taken on February 19, 2014, the second day of 40ºF weather here in southern Wisconsin.  The picture shows a lot of dead bees and yellow spots in the snow where the bees pooped.  The question is should I be concerned or not? [Read more…]

Nymph or Larvae?

What’s the difference between a nymph and a larva? For years, I’ve heard both terms but hadn’t given it much thought. This year, I started photographing insects earlier than I have in the past years and as I was trying to identify some of the grasshoppers, I noticed they didn’t have wings. Call it either an AHA! moment or a DUH! moment, or both – either way, I realized these were nymphs! I was hooked and I wanted to know more. [Read more…]

July Fireworks

Happy July 4th!! Who doesn’t love nature’s fireworks, the lighting bugs (or fireflies). We have a prairie full of them, blinking off and on, lighting up the moonless night. It’s awe-inspiring to see! I thought this would be a perfect post for the 4th of July! Although I couldn’t get a picture of this, I was lucky enough to get some great close-ups of the underneath side as well as the top side. [Read more…]

Insects in the Prairie

One morning I decided the first thing I would do would be to walk around the prairie and photograph the various insects I found. I found a number of them but sadly, there are so many insects that we know little to nothing about, yet they are crucial to our survival and quality of life. Here’s the results of that morning’s walk. [Read more…]

What’s All the Buzz About?

Jim has had a fascination with bees since I’ve known him. He’s now putting that fascination into action with a new hobby!! After talking with some good friends who are beekeepers Jim learned of the Dane County Bee Association. It conducts 4 classes over the course of the summer on how to build hives, locate hives, introduce the bees, care for the bees, and harvest the honey. It’s certainly not a “build the hive and they will come” scenario.  [Read more…]