Monday, April 23, 2012

Are you seeing painted lady butterflies?

Last week, I had several people ask me about painted lady butterflies in Iowa. They reported seeing high numbers and were wondering if this was an insect we should keep an eye on this summer. The last time I remember seeing high populations was in 2003 (while I was a grad student up in St. Paul, MN). Of course the adults are beautiful butterflies, but farmers care about the larvae (called thistle caterpillars) that are defoliators in soybean.