Garden Detective

Jessica Damiano's award-winning garden blog gets to the root of things.

Zombie cockroaches inhabited by ants?

Ampulex compressa, also known as the emerald cockroach


Because you're all gardeners, something tells me not only do you notice insects when you're digging in the dirt, but you might even be fascinated by them. It doesn't matter how many times I see an ant carry a crumb away, it just never gets old. But I just came upon a whole new level of entomological discovery that stopped me in my tracks.

I'm familiar with the inner workings of the aphid's...

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A high-tech way to follow butterflies

A Monarch butterfly perches on a lantana flower

(Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

If you love butterflies, chances are you've planted Monarda (bee balm), Buddleia (butterfly bush), Asclepias (butterfly weed) and other perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs known to lure Lepidoptera. But this is 2012, so you probably won't want stop there in the real world; you'll likely want to max things out in the virtual world.

A new app, Journey North, from Annenberg Learner, will let...

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Zipper spiders: the circle of life in Islip

A zipper spider zips her web in reader

(Credit: Handout)

Dear Jessica:

A few weeks ago you published a picture of a zipper spider from one of your readers. A zipper spider was living in my garden a few years ago. When we got up one morning the following June, we got a surprise: baby zippers! The sac had been put in a sheltered corner near our garage and front porch.

There were hundreds of babies. When we got home from work one day,...

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