Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bug Gangs

The weather is getting cold in most of the country, but one of the rewards of living in Florida is the warm weather almost all year round. This week we are experiencing mid to high 70s during the day and high 50s to low 60s at night. PERFECT! Just PERFECT!

Of course when you get a freeze only occasionally (mostly for 2 days in January), our insect friends are with us year-round and are quite visible. I still see butterflies mating, caterpillars crawling and this week I was passing by goldenrod going to seed when I was drawn by bright redness on the top of one of them blowing in the breeze.

I got closer and saw a nymph gang of Leaf-footed Bugs (Leptoglossus spp. likely phyllopus). I half expected them to start snapping their fingers and humming da doo da doo daaaaaaaaaa, da doo da do da do da! to dramatic music as they slinked along.

This particular species of L.F. bugs can be a pest on citrus and berry producers as they suck the juices out of the fruits and cause premature drop or withering. I generally let nature take its course and hope that some bird or spider will come along to tend to this type of gang mentality. Thus far, my lemons escaped unscathed (6 years). A good thing about a gang of pest insects is that it is relatively easy to flip them into some soapy water as a means of control. No pesticides needed.

Behold the Green Lynx Spiders (Peucetia viridans) who as they age will acquire their “colors”. While technically spiders are not insects as they have 8 legs (they are Arachnids), most of us refer to them as bugs. I’ve seen the Green Lynx snare the leaf footed bugs, so I guess we know which bug gang will get the grip on my front yard territory.

When they get bigger, IPM at its best!
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