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Monday, May 15, 2006

Gentlebugs, Start Your Engines

The sun has been shining at least half the day for the past week, so the bugs are getting active. They are everywhere, making up for lost time. These two are no gentlebugs, but notorious agricultural pests. These are thrips larvae newly emerged, feeding on this mallow flower. There were also some adult thrips in this flower, presumably laying more eggs.

This is a cabbage looper, one of the most despised agricultural pests in California. This one is innocently eating my pelargoniums: no harm, no foul, but these guys can really make a mess of these plants. The adult form will be a drab brownish moth. You can ID loopers by their 3 sets of prolegs on the abdominal
The so-called inchworms have only 2 sets, while other caterpillars have 5.

Once the pest species start increasing in numbers, you can count on the predacious and parasitic species (wasps, spiders, beetles, bugs, mites, flies, etc etc) to start showing up in larger numbers. So far I've seen parasitic wasps, predator wasps, a few ladybird beetles, syrphid flies, long-legged flies and predatory mites in small numbers, just getting their engines started.

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