tedln
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Bug School!

I built a large planter box for my garden this year strictly for herbs. I planted lavender, sage, basil, lemon thyme, and curly leaf parsley. I've noticed the bugs are most attracted to the basil.

I was interested in identifying one bug out of many. He started a few weeks ago at about 1/4" long and is now 1/2" long. I haven't been able to tell that he damaging the plant in any way. He has rear legs like a grasshopper and long black and white stripped antenna. He normally isn't shy and simply sits on top of the basil leaf while I am messing around in the herb box. I thought today I should photograph him and find out what he is. After I got my camera and set up to take his portrait, he disappeared.

Since he decided to become camera shy, I decided to photograph some of the other bugs which find my basil plant to be very attractive. If you can identify them, please do so. Click the photos and they will enlarge.

Bug #1
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2193.jpg[/img]

Bug #2
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2196.jpg[/img]

Bug #2 with eggs in the lower right corner
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2197.jpg[/img]

Bug #3
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2200.jpg[/img]

Bug #3 another view
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2201.jpg[/img]

I will check again in a few hours and if my normally not shy bug is back, I will post his portrait. There were also a couple of other beetle type flying bugs that simply wouldn't sit still long enough to get their photos taken. I will keep trying.

Thanks

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

sciencegal
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Bug #1 looks like a tiger beetle probably of the genus species Megacephala virginica although they are usually nocturnal and live in the east. Tiger beetles are good guys. They eat the bad guys. Bug #2 is actually the larva of bug #3 which is a red lady beetle. Another good guy.

tedln
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I checked again for my camera shy bug, but he is gone for awhile. I did take the following photos of a very common fly that is always buzzing around my gardens. I know fly's have a larval stage. I don't know if the larval stage of this fly is harmful or not. This fly has a bronze colored back carapace. Again this fly was on my basil but I see them on all of my garden plants. Can anyone identify it? Click photo to enlarge.


[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2204.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2214.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/Bugs/IMG_2216.jpg[/img]

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

sciencegal
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This is a long-legged fly of the genus Condylostylus. There are about 40 different species including one with the common name Texan Long-legged fly. The adults eat small soft-bodied insects including aphids and mites. Larvae are aquatic preying on aquatic organisms. Another good guy. Karin

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nes
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The third is, of course, a lady bug :). Although I may be a bit of an expert on naming them as I have one with no-spots, ones with lots of spots, orange ones, red ones & just about everything in between both in & out of my house :).

Lovely photos!
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

tedln
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Thanks Karin. I guess my photos are evidence that a gardener shouldn't randomly spray insecticides every time he or she sees a bug. I would have killed more good bugs than bad bugs.

Ted
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tedln
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nes wrote:The third is, of course, a lady bug :). Although I may be a bit of an expert on naming them as I have one with no-spots, ones with lots of spots, orange ones, red ones & just about everything in between both in & out of my house :).

Lovely photos!
nes, Thanks!

It used to be easy for me to identify Lady Beatles or more commonly called Lady Bugs. A few years ago, the USDA started trying to introduce a variety I believe originated in India. They wanted to start a self reproducing population. For many years they were unsuccessful. In their native habitat, they over wintered in cliff sides. In the areas of the U.S. where they were introduced, they could not find suitable habitat in agricultural areas. A few years ago, some were released in Georgia which did over winter and reproduce. They have now spread into North Texas and have become a pest in the fall because they mistake upright buildings for cliffs and enter homes from the smallest of holes. Unlike the native Lady Bugs, they also bite and it hurts. Scientists say they don't actually bite, but simply deposit an acidic liquid which burns the skin. I actually watched one take a pinch of my forearm skin and crunch on it in his mandibles. I call it a bite.

The introduced Lady Bug is more predatory on other insects than the native Lady Bug. It also has a genetic anomaly which allows the same population to produce offspring in colors ranging from yellow to brown to orange. All have spots.

Add to that the fact that the Spotted Cucumber Beatle and the Mexican Bean Beatle also closely resemble the Lady Bug.

I now have to ask someone which is which.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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nes
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The invaders also STINK when you kill them :x.

I've gotten one or two in my drink before as well - none to tasty!!
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

sciencegal
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tedln wrote:
Add to that the fact that the Spotted Cucumber Beatle and the Mexican Bean Beatle also closely resemble the Lady Bug.

I now have to ask someone which is which.

Ted
The Spotted Cucumber beetle is a little easier to distinguish from the various lady bugs because it is more flattened and elongated. The Mexican Bean Beetle can be similar to the lady bug but is more uniform in color. Its "head" is the same beige/pinkish color as the body. The good lady bugs usually have a black head or black markings on the head. There are dozens of good and bad beetles which is why I keep several different insect field guides on hand. I spend most of my summer hand-picking Colorado Potato Beetles. They are my worst problem bug, if you don't count the woolly bears. Karin

tedln
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Karin,

The Colorado Potato Beetle has stripes instead of spots doesn't it? I also forgot to mention. "Welcome to the Helpful Gardener forum". Since you are in Datil, do you have a source for some roasted Pinion Pine nuts? I love them still in the shell.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

sciencegal
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Ted,

Yes, the Colorado potato beetle has stripes and is large so it's easy to see. It also lays very bright orange eggs on the underside of the leaves. If I see a bunch of eggs I just pluck off the entire leaf.

I have 65 acres of land covered with pinon and juniper trees. Two years ago the pinon nut crop was huge. I gathered gallons of them. I sent most of them to friends and family, but I'll keep you in mind if we get another crop. Doesn't look like we will get one this year, but with the moisture we've had this winter, next year should be a good one. It takes two years to set and then form cones.

Karin

tedln
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sciencegal wrote:Ted,

Yes, the Colorado potato beetle has stripes and is large so it's easy to see. It also lays very bright orange eggs on the underside of the leaves. If I see a bunch of eggs I just pluck off the entire leaf.

I have 65 acres of land covered with pinon and juniper trees. Two years ago the pinon nut crop was huge. I gathered gallons of them. I sent most of them to friends and family, but I'll keep you in mind if we get another crop. Doesn't look like we will get one this year, but with the moisture we've had this winter, next year should be a good one. It takes two years to set and then form cones.

Karin
Nope, I wouldn't think of taking part of someone stash of nuts, but thank you. I have been known to drive a few extra miles to make it to the square in Sante Fe and buy a few lbs. from the locals. Don't know if I can afford a few lbs any longer. Tiny little zip-locks cost about $5.00 the last time I was there. When I have them, I eat them the way ball players eat sunflower seeds. Fill the mouth with nuts in the shell and sit around spitting empty shells.

If you have sufficient water available, your area could be great for tomatoes.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

garden5
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Hey, this is a great idea. Posting different pictures of bugs and their descriptions.
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