|Schinus molle blossom Inspected By Ant|
May Garden Updates
It's kind of hard to find things to write up in separate posts when most of the things in the garden are tracked by separate pages. Pages are for perennials. I guess we'll stick with insects and annuals for the postings.
That is quite alright. I really enjoy getting photos of insects in the yarden as the seasons change. I had no idea how many varieties of insects are in the home yarden until I started taking photos and trying to figure out if we have friends or foe.
Organic Control Milestone
|Ramshorn willow with aphids|
I hesitate to write this up. As soon as I smugly post how great my organic non-pesticide garden is going I'm sure to be hit with a plague. However, it was quite interesting to monitor some activity with bated breath... on the brink of using pesticide only to have a garden predator completely decimate the foe. We have friends.
As the story goes, we have this adorable little ramshorn willow. Little willow is coming along great this year. April 30 comes and the top leaves are smothered in dark colored aphids. I was not happy. It was distressing. I waited... we had all these syrphid fly adults buzzing around everywhere.
|Syrphid fly adult on fig leaf|
As an aside, the best first defense is having healthy plants. This is done by ensuring they are well watered, and receive all the proper nutrients to develop healthy roots, strong branches and delicious fruits or vegetables.
Anyway. We waited. The hover flies were all over the place at the end of April. I haven't seen them all that much since then.
We have seen several different assassin bugs. Assassin bugs are awesome. I believe we have two
|Zelus Renardii adult assassin bug|
We have had the adult and nymph versions of the Zelus renardii assassin bug (Leafhopper assasin bug). These guys like aphids. They can eat quite a bit and are pretty opportunistic.
|Zelus Renardii nymph|
As the abdomen testifies, they are doing pretty well in the food deparment. No shortages here.
Becoming accustomed to where these guys decide to play house, we started checking daily to see how the prey and predator are doing.
This morning, aphids and assassin were gone. All that was left was this
|Syrphid fly larvae|
Conclusion... I really like the syrphid flies. Hands down the absolute best natural aphid assassin. The other great benefit of the syrphid fly larvae is that ants don't seem to care if it is around their aphid farms or not. I've seen a couple of posts covering this, but no explanation why this happens.
|Lacewing larvae or 'aphid lion'|
In April, we get a lot of the green lacewings flying around. Then they lay the eggs on these long threads to prevent the eggs from getting eaten.
We believe we have a different type of assassin bug. It looks much like the Zelus renardii but the
|Assassin bug nymph|
We have another larger assassin nymph that housed itself up in the attar of roses plant.
I see it just sitting there, with the long forelegs folded up mantis style just waiting for a flying insect to show up.
The assassins tend to hunker down and try to find hiding places when the camera comes out.
|Assassin bug nymph|