Monthly Archives: August 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Two-lined Spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta)

This species of spittle bug can be damaging to St. Augustinegrass grass, which speaks well for eliminating your lawn or setting one up with a more diverse selection of native grasses. In my natural setting I don’t notice any damage.

County extension services reports that No chemicals or biological agents are currently registered for control of spittlebugs on pasture. So pouring chemicals on your grass in the hopes of getting rid of them is only killing the environment. They are in protective spittle, so the poison never reaches them. There are also no known effective natural enemies of spittlebugs. Burning the thatch is an effective method of control….just like mother nature intended but that is best left to professionals knowledgeable in prescribed burns.

Soooooo, remove thatch and dial down the amount of area you allot for lawn or allow more varieties of green ground covers to grow together and eliminate a monoculture that will show damage.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLUESTEM GRASS (Andropogon sp.)

Photo from 2010 just prior to emerging:



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sycamore Lace Bug (Corythucha ciliata)

New to my buggy life list. This native, miniscule true bug feeds on leaves.

larval host: sycamore


Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN SYCAMORE; AMERICAN PLANETREE (Platanus occidentalis)


photos of nymphs:


Sycamore Lace Bug nymphs are about the size of a pinhead


closeup of a single sycamore lace bug nymph


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Aphids (Likely Uroleucon sp.)

Too many people worry about aphids on their ornamental plants in the garden. My theory is that this comes, in part, because aphids on a houseplant can lead to the demise of the plant because there are no aphid predators flying around the inside of your house to control the problem. This is not the case of the outside, natural world of your garden.

Aphids are much like butterflies in that they flock to particular host plants. I identified mine by using the aphid host database and looking up Solidago fistulosa:

They are an important food source for many arthropods who will find them in good time. This photo reflects the initial find of the aphids. Less than a week later I have scads of ladybug and lacewing larva clearing the stems and few aphids are left. The plant is fine. A balanced garden maintains itself. Had I washed them off or squished them there would be less predators to handle other potential pests.

Family Aphididae – Aphids
Subfamily Aphidinae
Tribe Macrosiphini
Genus Uroleucon
Subgenus Lambersius

You can see an outstanding photo of a winged adult here:

Larval host: goldenrod

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

My take:
Aphids are Good? Wait.WHAT???

Aphids molt several times and leave their exoskelton (skin) behind:



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea) laying eggs

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.
Diet: aphids. The larval stage may be even more beneficial than as adults since the larvae have voracious appetities. If you wash your aphids off your ornamental plants, you remove the food source for the beneficial so they will go elsewhere to reproduce. Be patient.

Keep in mind that Not all ladybugs without spots are native. Harmonia is an introduced species which can outcompete our natives, especially the species in the photo. (source:

If you buy ladybugs, check what species you are introducing. Many sold commercially are non-native species.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)


One Egg hatches

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle


The balance hatch. You can see that there are already exoskeletons from aphids. If there were no aphids these guys would starve

My take: There are Different Types of Ladybugs? (includes side by side photos to tell the exotic from our native species)


As the larva grows it moves on to bigger bounty such as the cocoon of a leaf eating goldenrod beetle.


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Rice Stink Bug (Oebalus pugnax)

larval host: “grasses (including wheat, rice, corn, and other crops); may attack caterpillars”


“Stink bugs have many general and specific natural enemies. Rice stink bug eggs are often attacked by egg parasites, particularly Telonomus sp. (Scelionidae). Stink bugs are also attacked by a variable group of insect predators. A benbicid wasp (Bicyrtes quadrifasciata) provisions its subterranean nests with green stink bugs and other pentatomids. The assassin bug (Zelus bilobus) feeds on nymphs as well as adults. Among several species of spiders….”

From 2013: circle of life in action….feeds spiders:

My take: It Just Stinks…or Does It?


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pygmy Chafer Beetle (Strigoderma pygmaea)

I’m thinking this tiny coleoptera is there to munch on the seeds of the spent Bidens alba. Possibly mom nature keeping things in balance so not as many seeds are spread?

Family Scarabaeidae – Scarab Beetles
Subfamily Rutelinae – Shining Leaf Chafers
Tribe Anomalini

Adults in the Subfamily Rutelinae (Shining Leaf Chafers) feed on foliage and fruit. Larvae feed on roots and decaying vegetation.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba