Posts Tagged: aphids
Aphids, don't you just hate them? Especially those oleander aphids that suck the very lifeblood out of our milkweed plants that we're struggling to save for monarch butterflies. Just call aphids "The Enemy of the Gardener" or "The Enemy of the...
Oleander aphids clustering on a milkweed stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Aphids magnified on a Leica DVM6 microscope, operated by Lynn Epstein, UC Davis emeritus professor of plant pathology.
Just call them the "incredible aphid-eating machines." That would be the lady beetles, commonly known as ladybugs (although they are not bugs; they're beetles belonging to the family Coccinellidae, and they're not all "ladies"--some are male!). How...
Lady beetle larva dining on aphids on milkweed, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle, aka ladybug, tracks down more prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
See those red spots on your milkweed seed pods? Lady beetles (aka ladybugs or "garden heroes") are feasting on aphids. And they're having a ball. We've been watching the critters on our milkweed, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, for the last couple of...
A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Peek-a-boo? Or peek-a-beetle? A lady beetle, resplendent in red, crawls through the spiky hairs of milkweed seed pods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hurry! A lady beetle snags aphids on a milkweed seed pod, while other aphids try to escape (far right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ladybug! Ladybug!Fly away home.Your house is on fireAnd your children are gone. How many times have you heard that nursery rhyme? Better yet, how many times have you seen a lady beetle (because they're beetles, not bugs) take off? Look closely...
A lady beetle positions itself on a tropical milkweed leaf, poised for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
All systems go! The lady beetle opens its elytra, revealing its wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ready for liftoff? This lady beetle is good to go. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
And we're off! The lady beetle spreads its wings and is off. Photos taken with 105mm lens on Nikon D500; ISO 2000; shutter speed, 1/1000, and f-stop 16. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
So, here I am, an Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) perched on a rose bush in Vacaville, Calif., as dawn breaks. I'm eating aphids and minding my own beetle business, which consists of gobbling aphids and more aphids. And more aphids. Did I say...
A large syrphid fly, Scaeva pyrastri (as identified by Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture), heads for a lady beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Touchdown! The large syrphid fly, Scaeva pyrastri, lands next to the lady beetle.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The syrphid fly licks honeydew from the lady beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the anus of the aphid.