Sunday, May 25, 2014

Farming Aphids In The Yarden

syrphid flies - dioprosopa clavata - four spotted aphid fly - hoverfly - syrphidae - ants - formicidae - aphid - aphidoidea - yardlong beans - fabaceae - v.u. subsp. sesquipedalis
syrphid flies - dioprosopa clavata - four spotted aphid fly - hoverfly - syrphidae - ants - formicidae - aphid - aphidoidea - yardlong beans - fabaceae - v.u. subsp. sesquipedalis
Short Story:  This is an extremely fortunate photo capture of a small group of aphids being herded and farmed by ants and a syrphid fly (four spotted aphid fly) finding it a handy place to lay eggs.

syrphid flies - dioprosopa clavata - four spotted aphid fly - hoverfly - syrphidae - ants - formicidae - aphid - aphidoidea - yardlong beans - fabaceae - v.u. subsp. sesquipedalis
syrphid flies - dioprosopa clavata - four spotted aphid fly
 - hoverfly - syrphidae - ants - formicidae - aphid - aphidoidea
 - yardlong beans - fabaceae - v.u. subsp. sesquipedalis
Longer Story:  We have a lot of ants in our yard.  The ants like to take care of the aphids in our garden to ensure they have constant access to a high energy food source (aphid nectar). Aphids cause a lot of damage to our garden plants and can devastate a small home garden if not kept in check.  Having ants around to protect aphids from many natural predators makes the damage even worse.

Luckily, we have a four spotted aphid fly that is very interested in laying eggs somewhere close to a great food source... like aphids!  With the ants protecting the aphids, I'm not sure the aphid larvae will be helpful in controlling these little aphid farms as well as a chemical intervention.

We'll just have to keep a close eye on the garden to see what works best.