Based on searches directing people to this blog, adult aspen borers (Saperda calcarata) are very active in people's yards and on their quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) trees right now. The insects themselves are fascinating, beautiful and downright crazy-looking. And although I love the intrinsic value of having the borers using the trees in our yard to complete their life-cycle, the complexity of their relationship to other species is enormous. As I have mentioned, aspen are probably the most important plant species in our yard for attracting and providing the needs for diverse species of insects and birds.
The photo above is of an adult Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini) in the picture it is feeding on the sap from the damage the larval borers cause. Likely it is also drawn to the aspen to lay eggs; Populus species are the host plant for Lorquin's Admiral caterpillars.
Adult borer activity probably peaked in our yard a week or so ago, but a few adults (see below)can still be found mating and gravid females laying eggs (like the one above). I have received some wonderful comments from people (some on some blog posts and some via email), that are finding a new appreciation for these animals.