Caterpillars on my Dill!

By Barbara Walvoord, Aug. 4-17, 2018

Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post, Aug. 4-17, 2018

Cute little caterpillars have appeared on Daphne Stevens’ dill plants on the north campus.  Her neighbor Carol Neubert sent me a photo, asking, “What are they?”

They’re Eastern black swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes).  Let’s call this one “Pap.” Continue reading Caterpillars on my Dill!

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A Butterfly Reveals All

By Barbara Walvoord

Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post for July 28-Aug. 3, 2018

When you humans see us butterflies flitting from flower to flower, you may think we’re playful and carefree.  But actually we’re frantic.  As a butterfly, there’s a lot to do before you die, and for most of us, 2-3 weeks is it.

First, ya gotta eat.  Flowers are your only food.  And not all flowers.  Those tubular flowers?—you have to be one of the species of butterfly with a long tongue.  And some of us males, like the tiger Continue reading A Butterfly Reveals All

Wanted: Skunks

By Barbara Walvoord

First published in Lathrop Lamp Post of July 21-27, 2018

Skunks seem to be on homeowners’  “most wanted” list of criminals. The internet is full of ads by companies that will get rid of them for you.

At Lathrop, though, we want our skunks.

We do?  But won’t we get sprayed?  Not likely.  Skunks are not aggressive.  They move about mostly at night and try to avoid contact with us. When threatened, they spray their scent only as a last resort.  First they will hiss, growl, and stamp their front feet.

A Canadian government website calls skunks one of the most beneficial animals for gardeners and farmers.  They eat chipmunks, voles, mice, and rabbits, as well as grubs and insects that destroy crops.  In fact, skunks proved such an efficient enemy of the hop Continue reading Wanted: Skunks