Welcome to the eagerly anticipated second annual Winter Solstice Bug Count from wonderful Tustin, CA. We've had about a week of coldish weather, with night lows in the 40s. This afternoon it's mostly cloudy and around 65 degrees F. The pickins were slim . . .
* Shed exoskeleton of Hololena curta; poked around in the funnel web but nobody seemed home, or willing to poke back.
* Cobweb spiders (4), Pholcus phalangioides, taking shelter as usual on my covered porch.
* Unidentified predatory mite (3). This is a big (almost 1/16th inch), solid red, and conspicuously active. Found running around like crazy on kumquat and marguerite daisy.
* Lacewing eggs, Chrysoperla sp. I officially saw 2, but know in my heart there are many more tiny stalked eggs waiting among the foliage.
* Keelbacked treehopper (Antianthe expansa) nymphs (1 small colony, maybe 15 individuals)
* A very beat-up looking Asian ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) barely tottered when I brushed its side with my mechanical pencil. Just a few weeks ago there were lots of these emerging.
* One lonesome mealybug, looks like Pseudococcus citri but looks don't mean much to mealybugs, hunkering down on the Fremontodendron.
* On the marguerites I just planted there is evidence of what I call those Damned Daisy-eating Beetles, probably Buffalo carpet beetle, Anthrenus scrophulariae. They chew the inner disk flowers of daisies down to the nub. None of them was present this day to claim responsibility, but I know their ways only too well.
*Found some ants, Iridomyrmex humulis, cruising the Leonotis leonurus alba I recently planted . . .
* Knowing that can only mean one or two things, I looked for aphids and found them (not too many, a few small colonies, maybe a couple hundred or so in all) also on the lion's tail. Not sure, probably the ubiquitous green peach aphid?
Cheers all, and happy Yule.