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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Be Aware of the Renardiis of March

Zelus renardii, the leafhopper assassin bug (so say the natural historians at Natural History of OC) hangs out among the flowers, awaiting the unaware. These general predators feed on all manner of insects, but according to the literature specialize their appetite toward the glassywinged sharpshooter. The sharpshooter, a kind of leafhopper, not only damages plants by sucking their juices, but can also spread xylella fastidiosa, a very serious bacterial disease of vascular plants. So, if you become aware of Zelus renardii hunting in your garden in March or any other month, be also aware they are good; do not harm them with sprays or swatters, but leave them alone to do their work.

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