Archive

Misc. Insects

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: http://www.aphidsonworldsplants.info/C_HOSTS_Seq_Sop.htm#Solidago

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: http://bugguide.net/node/view/451333/bgimage

Larval host: goldenrod

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

My take:
Aphids are Good? Wait.WHAT???
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/aphids-are-good-wait-what/

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

aphidExoskeletonGoldenrodAug2016

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)

Circle of life. My Bidens alba has had a bevy of signal flies mining honeydew from the aphids and leafhoppers. Although the ant is not a Florida native, he is helping keep a balance.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/ants/elongate_twig_ant.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take:

Ant Supermodels in the Garden?
http://web.archive.org/web/20140221181618/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/ant-supermodels-in-the-garden.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)

aka Mexican Twig Ant

feeds on live insects (especially lepidopteran larvae), fungus spores, and tends aphids for honeydew

Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in752

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SALTBUSH (Baccharis sp.)

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20140221181618/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/ant-supermodels-in-the-garden.html

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