A female two-striped walking stick mating with a male (top).
Mary Keim [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This insect can be found from North Carolina into Florida.

The Dobsonfly

Aug 20, 2018
A female Dobsonfly
Andreas McKay [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The female Dobsonfly has strong pincers, though they are smaller than the male's.


Jul 13, 2018
The larvae of the Dusky Birch Sawfly are often mistaken for caterpillars.
Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University,

The Dusky Birch Sawfly is a stingless wasp. As the common name implies, its prefered food plant is the River Birch.

The Ichneumon Wasp

Jul 9, 2018
An Ichneumon wasp laying its eggs. Inside the wood is the larva of another insect, possibly a Horntail wasp.
Igfugl [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Ichneumon Wasp lays its eggs in the larvae of other insects.

An Eastern Lubber grasshopper nymph.
Colinblenis [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The nymph of the Eastern Lubber grasshopper is almost black, with a yellow stripe down the back.

The Wool Sower Gall

May 17, 2018
A Wool Sewer Gall.
Jessica Lucia [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

This fuzzy gall is always found on White Oaks.

Wheelbug nymphs and eggs.
Fat Gordy at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

A gang of recently-hatched wheel bugs emerge from their egg mass... "Kinda scary."

Gall Wasps

Apr 10, 2018
 A gall wasp (Cynipidae) oviposits into an existing oak gall.
Alex Wild, University of Texas at Austin, "Insects Unlocked" project. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Varieties of Gall Wasps often have strict preference for the kind of plants they chose to host their young.

According to Clemson University biologist Peter Adler, two thirds of the approximately 60 mosquito species in South Carolina don't bite humans.  This Aisian Tiger mosquito, however, does.
James Gathany, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Mosquitos are among nature’s biggest pests.  Their bites itch, they’re annoying and they can carry diseases.  But surprisingly, says Clemson professor Peter Adler, of the approximately 60 mosquito species that inhabit South Carolina, two-thirds of them DON’T bite humans.  Some are adapted to reptiles, others to birds, and some don’t feed on blood at all.  Of those that do, different things about people attract them:  size, the amount of carbon dioxide they produce, even blood type!  (Type A, you’re lucky.  You’re their least favorite.  Type O, sorry about that.  They love you.)

A Southern Yellowjacket.
Bob Peterson (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

A listener is surprised to see Yellowjackets devouring an animal carcass. Unusual? Not really: Yellowjackets  are omnivorous.

The egg mass and some newly hatched wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus).
Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

A listener finds the egg mass of a Wheel Bug.

A Leaf-Footed Bug
Lyle Buss, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida

Leaf-footed bugs often over-winter as adults in South Carolina.

Mantis Fly

Jan 10, 2018
A Mantis Fly.
Pavel Kirillov [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The front legs of the Mantis Fly resemble those of a Mantis.

Ant Lion Pits

Jan 4, 2018
Ant lion larva (Myrmeleontidae).
NPS/Robb Hannawacker

The indentations around the nest of an Ant Lion larva are for trapping prey.

Mantis Egg Case

Dec 20, 2017
The egg case of a Carolina Mantis.
Tom Potterfield [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Here's a good suggestion for what to do with that mantis egg case you found on your Christmas tree.

Types of Honey

Dec 14, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The value of the European honey bee’s contribution towards pollination of crops in the US is estimated to be fifteen billion dollars. That doesn’t include the value of honey gathered and sold by bee keepers. There are two main types of honey – The first is poly or multi floral varieties that results from honey bees visiting whatever flowers in their neighborhood are in bloom.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The European honey bee industry in the United States is credited with totally or partially being responsible for the pollination of certain crops at a value of fifteen billion dollars. At a recent meeting of Certified Crop Advisors, Gilbert Miller, watermelon specialist at Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center, told us that watermelons are among crops completely dependent on pollinators for fruit set. Watermelons have separate male and female flowers on the same plant.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clemson’s Public Service & Agriculture division publishes a magazine called Impacts available by request to South Carolina residents. A recent article focused on the efforts of the US Department of Agriculture, the state land grant universities, and bee keepers themselves in collecting data on the causes of the national decline in honey bee hives.

Grizzled Mantis

Nov 21, 2017
Grizzled Mantis - Gonatista grisea
Richard Crook [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener makes a rare sighting: a Grizzled Mantis.

Saddlebag Dragonfly

Nov 7, 2017
A black saddlebags dragonfly.
David Cappaert,

The markings on the base of the hind wings are reminiscent of saddlebags bouncing on a horse in motion.

A female two-striped walking stick mating with a male (top).
Mary Keim [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The male two-stripped walking stick is much smaller than the female.

Marbled Orb Weaver
Ben Jackson/Flickr

A listener finds a marbled orb weaver spider recycling an Illinois river cruiser dragonfly.

An Eastern Lubber grasshopper.
Derrickchapman, via Wikimedia Commons

A young nature lover finds a large grasshopper at Brookgreen Gardens.

An Ant Lion.
Larry and Teddy Page [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Ant Lions are common in South Carolina. Before the undergo metamorphosis they are commonly called Doodle Bugs. As with the caterpillar and the butterfly, the differences between the larval and the adult stages are striking.

Inchworms a Threat?

Sep 7, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We enjoyed the solar eclipse from the comfort of our Saint Matthews yard. Although lots of people searched out and set up camp in open fields, I’m not a sun lover and we simply  made periodic forays from our  covered porch out into an  open area of the front yard to observe the progress of the blackout. Numerous shade trees help keep our eighteen eighties home cool, a  value familiar to residents of cities with active urban tree programs.

Spittle Bugs

Aug 31, 2017
A spittlebug nymph, paritally uncovered.
imarsman [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The Spittle bug nymph blows bubbles in sap to hide under.

A listener reports finding a really large katydid.

A Cicada Killer Wasp with a Cicada.
Bill Buchanan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These solitary wasps rarely sting a human being.

A Giant Leopard moth, Hypercompe scribonia, 1.25 inches long, in Austin, Texas.
Ronnie Pitman [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

Listeners report sightings of several of the distinctive moths living in South Carolina.

Neoclytus acuminatus - Red-headed Ash Borer, one of the many beautiful wood boring beetles in the Cerambycid group. Collected in Prince George's County, Maryland.
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The Ash Borer beetle lays its eggs in dead, dying, or freshly cut trees.