Currently viewing the tag: "gardening blog"

larval stage of what bug?
Location: Temecula, CA
August 23, 2011 9:19 am
This morning I found many of these dead under a hanging petunia basket, many dead in the family pool, and one crawling and almost ready to drop in the pool. They’re all about 3/4 inch long. I don’t know if they dropped from the basket because I had sprayed ant insecticide onto the slab(boy, we have been overrun with ants!)so they may have wandered into the dead zone from somewhere else.
They crawl like maggots but these don’t look like the housefly white larva.
Signature: Gene

Black Soldier Fly Pupa

Hi Gene,
We have categorized this as a Maggot on our website.  It is a Black Soldier Fly Pupa.  The Larvae of the Black Soldier Fly are very common in healthy compost piles, and they often wander away from the compost when it is time to pupate.

eggs on a tomato leaf
Location: Canterbury, NH, USA
August 22, 2011 10:52 am
I live in New Hampshire in the US. Today in my greenhouse I found an array of tiny pinkish-tan eggs laid on top of a plum tomato leaf. I have never seen these before – the color is wrong for squash bug eggs and as I said, they were on the top of the leaf at the top of the plant. Anyone know what laid these? I put the leaf in a jar to see what hatches, but I garden organically and like to practice preventive care, so if I can take some preemptive action soon if they’re bad guys, I’d love to.
Signature: Hilnel

Whose Eggs are These???

Dear Hilnel,
We believe these are Moth Eggs, but we are not certain of the species.  The two species of
Manduca typically associated with tomatoes, Tomato Hornworm and Tobacco Hornworm, lay green eggs singly on leaves.  This is something else.  We found a blurry photo on Our Engineered Garden that looks similar, but they are not identified.  We would really love to know what you have.  Would you consider allowing them to hatch in a confined location and then photographing the critters when they emerge?  We would love a followup report as we continue to research this.

source that id’s eggs, young and adult of common garden insects
August 19, 2011 10:31 am
I am looking for a source that will help me identify the eggs and young of various garden insects, preferably in side-by-side presentation. I am an organic gardener and want to smush only the bad eggs and leave the good!
Love your web site, the pics and info are so fascinating that I sometimes lose track of time. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Frances Korunes

Hi Frances,
Thanks for your interest.  We have much of that on What’s That Bug? already,  but we do not have it located in a single place.  We just started a Gardening Blog tag that we want to devote to bugs from the vegetable patch, but it hasn’t much there yet.  We are going to begin tagging old posts to help populate that tag, but any new project on our website takes time.  Meanwhile, we can suggest Dave’s Garden and the BugFiles section

Ed. Note:  If you write to us and you do not use our standard form, please include a location.

Evil stinkbug – what kind?
Location:  Unknown
August 16, 2011
Dear Bug People,
Some background:  I am a new, very naive gardener, growing tomatoes and bell peppers for the first time.  Like my entire yard, my herbs and vegetables haven’t been treated with any pesticides or herbicides – not only do I have sympathy for the organic lifestyle, but I’m extremely lazy 😀
I got so excited about my developing crop, only to be crestfallen when, just before ripeness, my peppers and especially my tomatoes started showing all these little round sores and going bad.  I knew they weren’t bird pecks; those would go all the way through the skin.  I had no idea what was going on, and chalked it up to some kind of disease I knew nothing about.
I’m generally very tolerant of insects – in fact, I love them, even if I’m sometimes at a loss as to what they are – though I do squish anything I definitely recognize is a pest, like tomato hornworms, of which I’ve had only a few.  I know some shield bugs prey on pests, and so when I’d see these yellow- or chartreuse-bellied guys around – their population slowly growing larger – I let them be, thinking they were on my side.
Boy, was I wrong!

Stink Bug

A little while ago, while I was watering my tomatoes, I noticed two of them clustered on one of the fruits, unmistakably sucking the juices out.  I saw another sucking out of one of those mysterious sores on another fruit.  Needless to say, I went on a soapy water rampage, feeling very sorry for myself, my plants, and even those evil bugs.  Though I like their colorful bellies, I like fresh veggies more.
Here are some pictures – one of the insect, one for your carnage page in a cup of soapy water, and one of the damage it can inflict on a yellow bell pepper, so that other visitors can recognize the cause of this type of damage.  I’ve looked through yours and other sites; so far I’ve figured out that they’re probably stinkbugs (which I somehow didn’t know sucked plant juices!), but I haven’t found out what kind of stinkbug has a bright yellow or yellow-green underside.  I’d love to know!
Thank you!
R. Thompson

Dear R. Thompson,
Thank you for your very thorough letter, however, you left our one critical item.  You did not provide us with a location.  You want us to identify your Stink Bug, we suppose to the species level, yet you did not supply us with critical information as to where on the planet this problem is occurring.  Second, though you provided us with several images of the Stink Bug, the best view for a species identification is a dorsal view that clearly shows the shape and markings.  We do NOT consider dispatching creatures that are feeding on your food to be unnecessary carnage, though we do not recommend shooting at birds and small mammals that visit your vegetable patch.  We waged war with the
African Painted Bug, Bagrada hilaris, when it appeared on the collard greens in our garden two years ago, and we are proud to say that this year we have none.  Hemipterans, including Stink Bugs, are among the biggest threats to a bounteous home harvest and we support removing the offenders from your vegetable patch.  Hemipterans have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they often inject saliva with enzymes that causes blotching and other damage to fruits and vegetables, rendering portions of them inedible.  You can always cut away the blighted areas and eat the remainder of the pepper or tomato.  For your own benefit, you should learn to recognize local species of Predatory Stink Bugs in the subfamily Asopinae so that you do not mistake them for their plant feeding relatives.  BugGuide has some excellent photos of the Predatory Stink Bugs that live in North America, though you may be in Australia or Peru for all we know.

Thank you for your response!  I’m located in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Sorry, I guess it just slipped my mind!
As to the dorsal view, I guess I figured the bright belly color alone would be di-stink-tive enough to identify it 😉  They didn’t seem to have any really obvious markings on the back – just a solid-seeming brown or brownish-grey, maybe with a little subtle mottling – but then again, I probably don’t know what to look for.
I suppose I must’ve done a really good job with that soapy water, though, because I actually haven’t found any more on my plants since then!  If they do make a comeback, though, I’ll be sure to send you a photo that meets your criteria.
Until then, if this limited information helps, let me know!
Many thanks,
R. Thompson
P.S. – I did cut away the blighted areas, and it was a delicious pepper 🙂

Hi again R. Thompson,
Thanks for the followup report.  You created an immediate urge to create a garden blog tag for our site.  Now we will need to hunt out goodies from the archives, but your letter was the catalyst.  Quite frankly, isn’t the fact that it is a plant eating Stink Bug that might be introducing a virus to your peppers and causing them to blight sufficient? 
Biting True Bugs and other Hemipterans are among the leading disease vectors in plants.  So many Stink Bugs look alike to us.  We haven’t tried a “yellow bellied stink bug” search yet, but that seems like it would be a good common name.

Ed. Note:  August 19, 2011
Upon doing a web search of “yellow bellied stink bug” we were led to the genus
Euschistus on
BugGuide and this image of Euschistus tristigmus looks pretty close to your specimen.



leaf cutter tragedy
Location: western Washington
August 15, 2011 8:33 pm
This year I planted hanging buckets of tomatoes and peppers. One of the planter types turned out to be disasterous as they failed one, after the other. The last one, with pepper plants well along, exposed one dead bee and around ten little cigar tips. I recovered the plant, then scooped up the (mostly peat) filling and cases into a ceramic planter. Is there anything I can do to encouage the larva to continue?
Signature: kimmiee

Leafcutter Bee Nest Tragedy

Hi kimmiee,
We are sorry to hear about both the loss of your produce garden and the resulting tragedy of the Leafcutter Bee nest.  You have probably done all that you can do.  We would suggest keeping the peat and the nest in a sheltered location and ensuring that it does not dry out and desiccate the nest.  As long as the individual cells were not damaged, there is a chance the bee larvae might survive.  Even if your well intentioned intervention fails, we are awarding you a Bug Humanitarian Award for your valiant efforts.

Before I accept this award, I’d like to thank all the little bees……
For providing me with beautiful flowers, tasty fruits, a myriad of grains, and hours of enjoyment in my garden.
;-> Kim

We love short and sweet acceptance speeches.

gardening blog update:  August 18, 2011
In our opinion, peppers and tomatoes should not be planted in hanging baskets except for ornamental purposes.  Do not expect the kind of harvest you will get out of tomatoes planted in the ground in a favorable location.

Update:  August 29, 2011
You said (re:Leaf cutter Tragedy)
gardening blog update:  August 18, 2011
“In our opinion, peppers and tomatoes should not be planted in hanging baskets except for ornamental purposes.  Do not expect the kind of harvest you will get out of tomatoes planted in the ground in a favorable location.”
Normally I would agree with you.  Living on the Western side of Northern Washington, it is often tricky, to get tomatoes to ripen.  This year was especially hard because unlike the rest of the country, we were very cool well into the middle of July.  So I’ve been pretty pleased that I am getting ripe tomatoes and, in fact, I’ve gotten two peppers off the plant that tried to suicide with the leaf cutters nest.  I stuffed it into an other (fabric) hanging pot and it has recovered better than I expected.  There are other pepper varieties in that planter, and while they have done fairly well vegitatively, I suspect I won’t get any peppers off them.  But, hope springs eternal, and if we get decent weather through October, there could be some.
The hanging planters have enabled me to place multiple plants in a small corner of the yard which achieves maximum sun exposure.  I’ve been religious about watering them solidly every day.

Kim’s Hanging Tomato Plant

Thanks for the update Kim.  Watering a hanging basket would be an important factor in getting a yield out of plants.  We did not mean to imply that vegetables should not be grown in hanging baskets, just that planting in the ground will most likely give larger plants and a better harvest.  Did you get positive results with the Leafcutter Bee nest relocation?

Update:  August 31, 2011
All I can say regarding the nest is that some of the tubes are still intact.  I sort of assumed that they may not hatch (fledge? emerge?) until next spring, or at all.  The peat was disturbed right after I picked them up by the squirrels in the yard, and a couple of the tubes were ripped open but I’ve now inverted the bowl and propped it to provide both cover and ventilation…  It is in a brick planter, under an evergreen.  So, it’s not being dried out, and it doesn’t get enough direct light to bake… But I haven’t disturbed it since to inspect the tubes.  Maybe this weekend I’ll work up the courage to look and see if I can identify any changes….

Thanks for the update.  Let us know if there is any activity next spring.

Update:  September 9, 2011
I said I would look, so I did.  What I found was… not much.  It appears that most of the wonderful cigar tips were just gone, although I did see an occasional hint of a tube or the lacy leftovers of one of the cut pieces.  I also found the little beads you see in the picture.  Again, not knowing enough about the life cycle, I’m not sure at what I am looking.
I know in some of the the original tubes which were destroyed, there was a definite layering effect visible which I took to be piled up pollen with an egg or larva on top.  I should have attempted a picture of that.  These don’t seem to be the same, is it a pupa?
If so, I would surmise at least some of the original group are already out there pollinating again.

Is this related to the Leafcutter Bees?

Hi Kim,
We are not certain what your new photo depicts, but we will post the photo and try to do some research.  This might not even be related to the Bees.


Interesting moths and butterflies?
Location: Windsor, ON, Canada
August 2, 2011 12:10 pm
This doesn’t seem like a question you would normally get, but I am quite interested in Lepidoptera and I am wondering what are some easy ways to attract interesting and beautiful species?
I am currently raising a Black swallowtail caterpillar, which is about to pupate, that I found on my parsley,in my garden.
Next year, I am going to plant a strawberry plant, and I know it will attract many moths, including the Emperor moth. Anyway, are there any nice species that I can attract easily with a host plant? Preferably not a tree. A shrub, plant, flower ..etc will work.
Signature: Sincerely, Dante

Pre-Pupal Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Dante,
Thank you for submitting your lovely photo of a Pre-Pupal Black Swallowtail Caterpillar.  There is nothing unusual about your request.  It would be really helpful to know what species you are trying to attract, and also if you are wanting to provide just nectar for the butterflies, or host plants for caterpillars.  Butterfly Bush,
Buddleia species, are famous for attracting butterflies.  As a youngster growing up in Ohio, Daniel used to give his mother a bit of grief for damaging her tall perennial Phlox flowers in an attempt to catch butterflies.  The Phlox would attract numerous species of nectaring butterflies, including Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails and Pipevine Swallowtails as well as Fritillaries, Monarchs and diurnal Sphinx Moths.  Zinnias are another excellent flower to attract nectaring butterflies, but they are annuals that need to be planted each year.  Coneflowers and Monarda are also good choices for perennials.  You can always add native milkweed to your garden to provide the host plant for Monarch Caterpillars and the blossoms attract numerous butterflies.  Good luck.

Thank you for replying, I want to provide host plants for caterpillars,  preferably simple plants, not trees.
I was thinking about planting strawberries to attract Small emperor moths , but I am not sure if they live in Detroit, MI. Are there any silk moths, sphinx/hawk moths or butterflies that I can attract easily with a host plant?
Sincerely, Dante

Hi again Dante,
We are not certain where you heard about strawberries, but we have our doubts.  Regarding Giant Silkmoths, they do not feed as adults.  Lights will attract them, but you need host trees and you are not interested in planting trees.  Hawkmoths can be attracted by flowers with nectar, like bee balm, honeysuckle and nicotiana.  Tomato plants will attract species that feed on tomato leaves.  Good Luck.