Six on Saturday – W15/2020 – Bugs galore!

Apologies for my ‘no show’ last Saturday! Days blurr into one another, and when I realised it was Saturday I had nothing ready for my Six on Saturday! I’m a bit more organised this week. Apologies in advance for the poor quality of photos. I’m still trying to master the art of taking good photos. Without further ado here is my Six for the week.

1. The oh so bad bugs

This is the first season that we have been inundated with so many insects! Firstly the lawn moth, which appear in clouds before you as you walk through the garden. A local has since told us that these moths appear in vast numbers every fourth year. ( I featured them in a previous Six on Saturday).

Our citrus crop has been decimated by what we assume is the fruit sucking moth, and the fruit is just dropping from the trees. Not only our trees it seems; the whole district is under siege! We will strip our citrus trees of all remaining fruit this weekend, and destroy the fruit. Such a shame that our crop is wasted!

Our pawpaws have also been stung and it looks as if we will lose them too.

A few of my bottlebush trees have been stripped bare by caterpillars. These native trees will no doubt recover from this severe ‘natural’ pruning, and send out new growth shortly. There are two worms visible in the blue circle on the second photo. Their little black tails stick up into the air. I have no idea what type of worm they are. It is interesting too that the worms have left some of the other bottlebrush species alone.

Bottlebrush stripped bare of its foliage.
Close up showing the worms.

Not only is the garden under siege…….On Thursday morning I looked down at the kitchen floor and to my horror there was a leech!!

Leech. It’s head end is the narrow end.

As it moved across the floor it left a trail of blood! It had obviously gorged itself and could not hold a millilitre more of blood!

YUK! Mr S looked down to see blood trickling down his foot!!! He had not felt any pain at all when the leech had attached itself. Leeches inject an anticoagulant into their victim so that the blood flow does not stop. We have encountered the occasional leech in the garden under pots, in amongst bromeliads and in other damp places.

Wound from a leech bite.

The Good!

Just so this post is not all gloom and doom, I have included a photo of a really beautiful butterfly, one of many different butterflies seen during the week. This beauty is a Varied Eggfly, with the most beautiful blue and white pattern on the upper-wings.

Beautiful…….but oh so naughty!

Another beauty is this splendid solitary neon cuckoo bee (Thyreus nitidulus). It is stunning, and that is possibly its saving grace, for it behaves just like a cuckoo bird and lays its egg in the nest of a blue banded bee (another solitary bee). When the blue banded bee lays its egg, it leaves a supply of pollen to see the larva through its growth phase. If the neon cuckoo bee egg hatches first, it consumes the pollen leaving the little blue banded bee with no food. So, although the neon cuckoo bee is great for pollinating flowers in the garden, it is not good for the little blue banded bees!

The predators…..

With all these mean insects chewing up plants in the garden, it is good to know that help is at hand!! Firstly, the St Andrew’s Cross Spider, an arachnid, with 8 legs, which it pairs when sitting on its web. It usually sits along the central zig-zag section of the web which is shaped into the form of a cross. This central section reflects UV rays, which attracts insects! This particular spider was sitting just above the ‘cross’ – you can just see his legs at the top of the photo below.

Secondly, we found a robber (assassin) fly sitting on the washing line with its prey, one of the lawn grub moths. These flies catch their prey on the wing, inject enzymes into their prey and suck out the digested juice. Not only is the fly a predator, but so too is the larvae of the fly!

I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Easter. It will certainly be an unusual Easter weekend for everyone. I hope too you are successfully avoiding the virus and surviving lockdown. On the bright side, it is a great opportunity to get some gardening done! I will be enjoying all the other gardening posts the links to which are found at the home of ‘Six on Saturday’ at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com .

11 comments

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s been quite disappointing losing all our citrus as we were looking forward our daily dose of Vitamin C, via mandarins! Oh well, unusual times all round.

  1. Gosh that leech. That is so yuck. Carnage out there and so sad to lose your crops. But the beauty is also there. Thank goodness. Stay home stay safe

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