Currently viewing the tag: "What’s on my Woody Plant?"
Gardeners are frequent contributors to our site because of concerns they have differentiating beneficial insects from injurious species. With more and more gardeners attempting to cultivate Cannabis, we started noticing more identification requests from growers. We hope we are offering a public service by responding to our readers’ questions without sensationalizing or taking sides surrounding the legalization of marijuana.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Type of bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles
Date: 10/18/2017
Time: 06:04 PM EDT
Found this bug on the main stem of my woody plant. What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Abel Z.

African Painted Bug

Dear Abel,
This is
Bagrada hilaris, the African Painted Bug, a recently introduced, invasive Stink Bug that is normally found on plants in the cabbage family, including wild mustard.  Daniel first found African Painted Bugs in his own vegetable garden in 2009, a year after they were first reported as an Invasive Species.  According to BugGuide:  “2008 – CA – earliest NA record: Los Angeles Co., CA 2008” and “hosts on members of the mustard, nightshade, mallow, legume, sunflower and grain families, causes substantial damage to cruciferous crops such as broccoli, cabbage, mustards, and cauliflower, as well as infests a wide range of other crops and weeds species (Palumbo and Natwick 2010). It has become a serious agricultural pest in the sw US.”  It seems the hemp family Cannabaceae can be added to the list of plant families affected by this “serious agricultural pest.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Subject:  What’s that bug?
Location:  Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:42 PM
Found it on my cannabis plant.
It’s sticks to a surface very well and is not easy to detach
az-j

Scale Insect

Dear az-j,
Though we have not had any luck locating any images that look exactly like the creature you submitted, we can’t imagine it is anything but a Scale Insect.  Beyond the Human Eye has some nice Scale Insect images.
Continued searching might have resulted in an identification.  Thankfully your situation has not escalated to this stage pictured on BugGuide of Chinese Wax Scale.  According to BugGuide the Chinese Wax Scale is  “Non native. Introduced from Asia.”

Scale Insect

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Please don’t be a Budworm
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 09/10/2017
Time: 05:56 PM EDT
Dear Bugman,
Today while inspecting my medical marijuana plants, I discovered this caterpillar. I also discovered some brown buds. Is this a dreaded Budworm?
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Tobacco Budworm

Dear Constant Gardener,
According to Rollitup:  “The tobacco budworm varies greatly in appearance so it can easily be confused with other species. Making an accurate ID of your attacker can be important because some species have built up resistances to certain treatments. Luckily for us growers, if you find a caterpillar on your plants you can be 99% sure its a tobacco budworm. If you live in Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Australia or Asia its going to be the species
Helicoverpa armigera. If you live anywhere else its going to be the species Heliothis virescens. The distinction between these two species is not important however since they can both be treated using the same methods.  Most people find the larval form (caterpillar) on their plants so I won’t spend much time describing the adult moth. The caterpillars are initially pale green and often have black dots covering their body. Thin dark lines run down the length of the abdomen and tend to be darker around the second and third segments. As the larva ages (progresses in instars) the black dots may develop a red border around them. The abdomen is also covered with numerous microspines that give the caterpillar a rough feel. The head capsule is nearly always a light brown color. Again I wouldn’t worry too much if this description doesn’t completely match up with the caterpillar you find. There is great phenotypic variation in the tobacco budworm so there can be different colors and designs.”  According to Featured Creatures:  “Tobacco budworm is principally a field crop pest, attacking such crops as alfalfa, clover, cotton, flax, soybean, and tobacco. However, it sometimes attacks such vegetables as cabbage, cantaloupe, lettuce, pea, pepper, pigeon pea, squash, and tomato, especially when cotton or other favored crops are abundant. Tobacco budworm is a common pest of geranium and other flower crops such as ageratum, bird of paradise, chrysanthemum, gardenia, geranium, petunia, mallow, marigold, petunia, snapdragon, strawflower, verbena, and zinnia.”  No mention is made of Cannabis being a host plant.  When we searched that BugGuide, we found an image very similar to your own, and according to BugGuide the food plants include  “Cotton, tobacco, roses, ground cherries, soybean, and many others.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  California Mantis patrolling my Woody Plant captures marauding Grasshopper
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  09/09/2017
Time:  10:37 AM EDT
Dear Bugman,
Last week I sent you pictures of the female California Mantis that is patrolling my Woody Plant.  Well, today I am happy to report that she is doing her job.  I found her eating this large green grasshopper.  I wish I could have seen the actual capture, but I didn’t arrive until after the Grasshopper had its head eaten away.  Much earlier in the summer, I removed some small green Grasshoppers that you identified as a Gray Bird Grasshopper, a funny name since it was green.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Female California Mantis eats Gray Bird Grasshopper nymph

Dear Constant Gardener,
The prey in your image is indeed a Gray Bird Grasshopper nymph, and it is much larger than the individual in your submission from early July of a Gray Bird Grasshopper nymph.  The reason these green nymphs are called Gray Bird Grasshoppers is because that is the color of the mature adult.  Nymphs feeding on fresh green leaves need to blend in or they will be eaten.  Your female California Mantis is beautifully camouflaged among the leaves of your plant, especially when she is downwardly hanging.

Thanks Bugman,
Do you have any further advice regarding caring for my guard insect?

Hi again Constant Gardener,
If a mature, mated California Mantis finds a safe plant where the hunting is good, she will remain there.  She will eventually produce and attach to woody stems, several oothecae, the egg cases that each contain dozens of eggs that will hatch into mantidlings in the spring.  When you harvest, keep a diligent eye peeled for the oothecae.  In our own garden, we tie the oothecae we discover while pruning in the fall and winter onto trees and shrubs where we would like to have predators that keep injurious species at bay.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Look what I found patrolling my Woody Plant
Geographic location of bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  9/1/2017
Time:  11:32 PM
Dear Bugman,
From searching your website, I believe this is a California Mantis.  Can you confirm?
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Female California Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
You are correct that this is a California Mantis, and the short wings indicate that it is a mature female California Mantis.  Congratulations on having such a good security system to protect your plants from critters that might want to eat them.

Female California Mantis

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider on woody plant
Location: Mt Washington, CA
August 21, 2017 5:59 pm
Dear Mr. Bug,
There is a lovely green spider living on my woody plant. My boyfriend insists that this spider is just guarding the plant from other, more nefarious bugs. It is quite a beautiful spider and has black hairs on its legs. What is it? And will this spider eat my stigmas?
Thanks!
Signature: Lady Nugs

Green Lynx Spider

Dear Lady Nugs,
Goodness gracious, Mt. Washington seems to be a fertile environment for growing woody plants.  Your boyfriend is correct.  Spiders are predatory and not phytophagous, so your plants are safe.  This is a Green Lynx Spider, and the shape of the pedipalps indicates this is a female.  We did need to brush up on our botany regarding the “stigma”, so we headed to Encyclopaedia Britannica to rediscover that “The gynoecium, or female parts of the flower, comprise the pistils, each of which consists of an ovary, with an upright extension, the style, on the top of which rests the stigma, the pollen-receptive surface.”  Your images are gorgeous, and the detail is incredible.  It is our experience that Green Lynx Spiders gravitate toward plants where they will be well camouflaged.  Your Green Lynx Spider blends in perfectly with the inforescence also visible in the image.

Green Lynx Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination