American Robin

Nothing says spring like the American robin. Most years my mom and I will call each other when we see our first robin. There is something uplifting about seeing them. Maybe because they singal the end of winter and the promise of spring. American robins can be found throughout most of North America from the…

Looking Ahead: Plan to Help Pollinators Next Year

Kicking back to consider next year’s garden, let benefitting pollinators be one of your considerations. Of course pollination is important to us because we like to eat—one-third of our food supply exists because pollinators pollinate. Pollinators, specifically native bees, are real work horses of the pollination world—just 250 native bees do the work of thousands…

Falling Leaves

I love fall. It is my favorite season of the year. When I was a kid I loved walking to school so I could kick the leaves on the sidewalk. The sound and feel of the leaves crunching under my feet and the smell it generated was pure bliss. Then I grew up, got a…

Bugging out with Your Camera Phone

We get quite a few requests to identify a pest or diagnose a problem from a digital photo. Emailing a photo of a pest sample rather than finding a container, catching it and bringing it into our office can help you: Identify your pest. Contribute to the body of science by logging your sample in…

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The brown marmorated stink bug is a nuisance as well as a destructive pest and, like its name implies, puts off a nasty odor when crushed. This nonnative invasive pest has been in Nebraska since 2012. The damage the BMSB causes is from its needle-like mouthpart that punctures, resulting in sunken bruised areas on fruits….

A New Can of Worms!

Nebraskans are talking about an invasive worm. They are commonly referred to as “Asian jumping worms”, “jumping worms”, “crazy worms”, or “snake worms”. I like to call them crazy worms because whether they jump or move in a serpentine motion, they certainly behave in an uncharacteristic way for a worm. The short story is that…

Mosaic Virus on Squash

Viruses represent some of the toughest diseases to manage in cucumber, squash, pumpkin, and melon plants.  Often the disease doesn’t kill but does reduce the size and number of leaves, which in turn decreases fruit production. Cucumber mosaic, cucumber green mottle mosaic, watermelon mosaic, zucchini yellow mosaic, and squash mosaic are some of the viruses…

Fall Webworms – A Nuisance and Pest

If you have a fruit tree, mulberry or ornamental fruit tree, you may be experiencing an infestation of insects called fall webworms.  The first sign of them in a tree is a cottony mass of webbing, inside of which are dozens of 1 inch (plus or minus) sized white to tan fuzzy caterpillars.  The first…

Landscape Journaling

Landscape journaling, the art and science of keeping track of plants and gardens in the landscape, may seem like a fluffy idea, but the task has merit. Are you having your ash trees treated every other year to prevent an infestation of emerald ash borer? A landscape journal can be a record of when and…

Helen’s Flower

Helen’s flower, Helenium autumnale, is a native perennial of the sunflower family, producing show-stopping 2-inch flowers in colors of yellow, gold, orange, red or variations in between.  The notched petals, surrounding a yellowish brown globular cone, are a nice touch, giving the flowers the appearance of a ruffled skirt. The specific epithet “autumnale” refers to…