Your Extension Experts
June 17, 2015
June 4, 2015
May 19, 2015
26 July 2000
Volume 8: no. 3
The Dog days of summer are coming on and it's mostly `hot' in Mississippi. That means most of us are happiest inside, both day and night. I've been seeing some different insects this year than in many years in the past. Tiger beetles have exploded on the scene and they are almost everywhere you look. I've even had calls from folks wondering what kind of new pest these fast moving critters are. We have also had a larger than usual number of `Green hunter' ground beetles this summer. A few weeks ago they were climbing into the oak trees feeding on the outbreaks of oak leaf caterpillar and we had some calls about controlling those large beetles which were attacking the oaks. A number of folks were both surprised and pleased when they discovered that the beetles were good guys helping us with a problem which was almost impossible to address, otherwise.
As summer comes to an end, it's time for 4-H collections to be touched up and gotten ready for traveling to the fair. County Fairs are ideal places for displaying insect collections and fall show days are already here in some counties. 4-H Entomologists should take advantage of every opportunity to display insect collections.
There are a few tips to remember when submitting collections:
Tiger beetles are voracious predators, chasing down and flying after their prey and using their sickle-shaped jaws to secure the victim. Many species have iridescent coloration. They are usually found on or near bare ground and often run afoul of people and their activities. These beetles may be making a comeback because of changes in farming practices, i.e. no-till farming. Tiger beetle larvae are also highly predaceous and sit in burrows waiting to ambush passing prey which they drag underground to devour.
There are approximately 100 species of tiger beetles in the US, included in four genera: Amblycheila, Omus, Megacephala, and Cicindela. The tiger beetle is referred to as the butterfly of the beetles.
Identification: Adults are to æ" long and are iridescent in colors ranging from blue to green to black. They are usually nocturnal and often easily caught in pitfall traps. Larvae are S-shaped, with dorsal abdominal hooks (segment 5) which are used to hold position in their vertical burrows.
Parasites and Predators: Tiger beetles are parasitized as larvae by the Diptera family Bombyliidae and the Hymenoptera family Tiphiidae. They also are regularly preyed upon by robber flies of the Diptera family Asilidae.
Additional information about this unique creature may be found in - The biology of tiger beetles C.B. Knisley & T.D. Schultz.
Front / Back View:
Cutting The Lumber:
In recent weeks I have received a number of requests for general plans for a butterfly house. I found these on the WWW. Build the house out of untreated lumber and set it up in your garden prior to the fall. This is supposed to serve as a site for adult butterflies to hibernate. Place the shed bark from a tree in the box for the butterflies to attach themselves.
Needed Materials: thick cardboard (10"X 10") to cover trap, hand spade, several plastic containers with lids or resealable plastic bags, empty large (6 oz.) glass baby food jars (larger containers may be used); 1/2 oz. of one or more of the following baits: apple, meat, cheese, peanut butter, syrup; small flat stones, rubber stoppers or blocks of wood approximately 1/2" square, larger rocks to keep cardboard covers from blowing away.
This idea was taken from Students in a Project-based Learning Approach to Schoolyard Habitat Development (SPLASHD) Bellvue, Illinois.
`Greenhunter' ground beetle
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837