Priscilla Smith, a rising fourth-year student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, peers into a group of holly bushes on the University of Georgia's South Campus. Nestled between the leaves, she spies a young Joro spider clinging to its web. With her hand, she gently guides the spider into a plastic container — web and all.
Joro spiders are polarizing figures. If you live in Georgia, you’ve likely seen the massive-but-harmless spiders hanging between power lines or from the eaves of your house, their golden webs glistening in the sunlight. While some find them a fascinating effect of globalization, others don’t care how they got here. They just want them gone.
Standing in the new darkness of a 100-acre wood on a recent summer evening, a group of University of Georgia entomology graduate students witnessed magic in the air — literally — as thousands of fireflies of different species rose from the forest floor to flash their luminescent love songs to hopeful mates hiding below.
As solar farms pop up across the U.S., researchers at the University of Georgia are working to improve the biodiversity on solar sites as part of a larger, multidisciplinary research program designed to support both sustainable energy and ecosystem health.
“What’s wrong with the leaves of my oak tree? Is my tree dying?” Over the past several weeks, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices across north Georgia have been flooded with calls from residents asking about their oak trees. Whether white, red or chestnut oaks, the question has been the same.
For years, scientists have warned that monarch butterflies are dying off in droves because of diminishing winter colonies. But new research from the University of Georgia shows that the summer population of monarchs has remained relatively stable over the past 25 years.
There are many things you come to expect living in the Southern U.S. You can count on sweetened ice tea being available at every restaurant, there will always be festivals named after fruits and vegetables, and the weather after Easter will never make any sense. You can also count on fire ant mounds appearing in late spring.
Georgia is home to more than 50 species of fireflies — or lightning bugs — more than any other U.S. state. The dancing light patterns we enjoy in our gardens and landscapes are an important, and nostalgic, part of Georgia summer evenings. To protect these insects and ensure that we continue to enjoy them, it is important to understand their lifecycle and habitat needs.