Posts Tagged: beetles
Wow, woolly whitefly covered with waxy, curly filaments , Aleurothrixus floccosus.
One of the consequences of fire and the resulting ash is that the biocontrol agents that keep whiteflies, scale, mealybug and other pests in balance is that they will spend so much of their time preening that they don't have time to go after their prey. Lacewing larvae, minute pirate bug, ladybird larvae, parasitic wasps and others rely on moving around to get at their food sources. When they cant move fast, they stop and clean their joints to stay limber. Whitefly and scale insects just hunker down and don't need to do a lot of moving. They just breed, and without actively moving biocontrol agents, their populations can explode. Or that's my human analogy. In dusty areas or areas affected by ash, the particles get in their joints and they need to spend time cleaning in order to move fast.
Whiteflies suck phloem sap, which in some cases can cause leaves to wilt and drop when there are high numbers of whiteflies. However, the primary concern with whiteflies is the honeydew they produce. Honeydew excreted by nymphs and adults collects dust and supports the growth of sooty mold; large infestations blacken entire trees, including fruit, as well as attract ants, which interfere with the biological control of whiteflies and other pests. The sooty mold can also affect tree yields by reducing photosynthesis and requiring extra handling time for cleaning.
So pests under good control prior to a fire can get out of hand. This is a good example of a tree in the town of Ventura where ash was a problem. A seemingly clean tree, free of whitefly, started to defoliate with blotchy leaf spots. On the undersides of the leaves corresponding to the blotches are colonies of whitefly. And looking closely you can see that some of the nymphs have exit holes, indicating that they have been parasitized by a wasp. So nature is kicking in and taking it's course. The whitefly should get cleaned up soon too by some forager, such as lacewing larvae or pirate bug. No need to spray because it would just be a further disruption.
See more about whiteflies at:
Photos: Defoliating 'Meyer' lemon tree, blotches on upper side of leaf, whitefly colonies with exit holes in some of the nymphs
You always wanted to know what pollinated rambutan, litchi, blueberries and all those other plants dependent on insect pollen movement? O yes, and also what is pollinating avocado?
Insect Pollination Of Cultivated Crop Plants
by S.E. McGregor, USDA
Originally published 1976
The First and Only Virtual Beekeeping Book Updated Continuously.
Additions listed by crop and date.
This book is out-of-print, but can be found on-line at ABE Books and then you can get the images that are missing from the online version of the book
This is an old book with a lot of old information, but a lot of it is still good. There is definitely more up-to-date information, but this is a good starting point. For avocado, another good source, or course is AvocadoSource which also has quite a number of articles on pollination of other tree species
Recently a group of UC Riverside researchers met to align themselves around the topic of pollination - The biology, effects, interactions of the various pollinator and pollinizers and how they are affected by our environment and how we might be able to manage them better. The participants in this pollination group have all manner of expertise and hopefully their interaction will bring a synergy of understanding to this very complicated subject.
Photos: Syrphid (hover) fly, bumblebee, honeybee, thrips carrying pollen
So you're in a quandary. You have no idea what to get the nature lovers/insect enthusiasts on...
What happened in our pollinator garden on June 3 probably would have promoted a standing ovation...
It's that time of year for a riot of aphids on new growth cheeseweed (malva) and wild radish and with that food source to see ladybird beetles go to town, chowing down. There's ladybugs in both their larval and adult stages doing the feeding. Some of the larvae look like mealybugs which is a food source that they mimic and also feed on. The mealybug destroyers was introduced from Australia at the turn of the 20th century to fight citrus mealybug and when there is no disruption, they are effective at keeping the population down. Another mealybug mimic is the dusky ladybird which also feeds on scales, aphids and mealy bugs. These are generalist predators, even cannibalizing their own, when other food sources are not present. The dusky has not been common in the Ventura area, but recently, PCA Jane Delahoyde spotted one. As our weather changes, we are bound to see other insects and invertebrates move into the area.
Check out this University of Florida ladybug website:
Mealybug-like larval stage surrounded by aphid food (above) and adult (below)