Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ladybugs and Gypsy Moths

Had a visitor the other day.

This is a ladybug. Or it will be -- this is the larva stage.

My picture shows the little visitor bunched up, but it really looks like a tiny narrow fuzzy caterpillar. I have to resort to The Google to show what it actually looks like.

The big holes in this oak leaf were not chewed by the ladybug hatchling.  Ladybugs and their larvae eat aphids. The mother lays her eggs where aphids are plentiful, and when the larvae emerge they have food to eat.  So earlier in spring there must have been aphids around here. There are not any visible now, so the ladybugs did good work.

The aphids didn't make those big holes in the leaf before they were gobbled up by the ladybugs and the ladybugs only eat soft critters like aphids, so who is making Swiss cheese of the oak tree?

Ugh -- those holes are from gypsy moth caterpillars. Gypsy moth infestations are awful. On the garden tour earlier in June we saw them on some plants. Ugh.

Now here they are, or at least evidence of them. They particularly like white oaks like this young tree I planted a few years ago. It's becoming a handsome, leafy thing.

Please don't let this be an infestation year for gypsy moths. Lady bugs -- fine. Gypsy moths -- ugh.

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