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.

Subject:  What is on my woody plant?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 2, 2017 9:21 pm
Dear Bugman,
I just noticed this green bug on my woody plant, and I didn’t see any other ones, so I left it, but I am getting a sinking feeling that that might have been a mistake.  So tell me What’s That Bug on my Woody Plant?
Signature:  Constant Gardener

True Bug Nymph

Dear Constant Gardener,
This is an immature True Bug, and nymphs can be very difficult to identify as many publications only provide images of adult specimens.  The incredibly long antennae lead us to believe that this is probably a Plant Bug in the family Miridae, and that is supported by the images posted to the Natural History of Orange County website.  Your nymph really resembles this BugGuide image identified as being in the genus
Neurocolpus.  According to BugGuide:  “Associated with various plants, including Buttonbush, Basswood; adults visit flowers.”  This BugGuide image identified as Cephalanthus occidentalis is another possibility, and according to BugGuide:  “Apparently predacious on small arthropods”  which would mean it is a beneficial insect on your woody plant.  Though you did not intervene in its existence in any way, we are none-the-less tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award because you waited for an identification rather than acting rashly by killing things you don’t know. While we cannot with any certainty provide you with a species name, we are still confident we have the family correct.  Perhaps when this little guy matures, you can submit another image and we can provide a more conclusive identification.

True Bug Nymph

Subject:  Lady Bug on my Woody Plant
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 27, 2017 8:58 AM
Last week I found this Lady Bug on my woody plant.  Can you identify it?
Signature:  Constant Gardener

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

Dear Constant Gardener,
The white markings on the head and pronotum of this Lady Beetle identify if at a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, which you can verify by comparing your image to this head-on image on BugGuide.   According to BugGuide:  “The adult is highly variable in color and pattern. The base pattern of the species is red to red-orange with 18 spots. These spots may be exaggerated, or eliminated, on an individual basis. The common red form, succinea is dominant in most areas. Melanic forms conspicua (two red markings) and spectabilis (four red markings) are less common, and only starting to establish in the country. Rarely, other forms may appear. Any pattern involving red-orange and black may potentially occur in this species!  Although variable, the combination of large size and specific pattern details generally allow easy identification. Darker forms are most commonly mistaken for other dark species. In these cases, look at the white pattern on the head and pronotum (per. J. Bailey).
”  The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is an invasive, exotic species that is competing with and beating native species, leading to decreased sightings of native species of Lady Beetles.  For this reason, we must tag this posting as Invasive Exotics.  Your “woody plant” looks quite healthy, and though it is an exotic species, this Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle should help keep your plant pest free.

Subject:  Green Lynx Spider on my Woody Plant
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 27, 2017 7:20 PM
Dear Bugman,
Several weeks ago, you identified a tiny Gray Bird Grasshopper for me.  I have noticed many chew marks on the plant’s leaves, and I noticed that the little guy has grown quite a bit, so I captured it and relocated it elsewhere in the garden.  At the same time I found this well camouflaged predator that I have learned is a Green Lynx Spider.  What can you tell me about this spider?  I’m presuming it will not harm my plant and I am letting it stay where I found it.
Signature:  Constant Gardener

Male Green Lynx Spider

Dear Constant Gardener,
Because of your kindness to the young, hungry Gray Bird Grasshopper nymph, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  Your Green Lynx Spider is a male as evidenced by his pronounced pedipalps and long legs.  Male Green Lynx Spiders of breeding age will wander in search of a mate, and he will most likely move on as that is his primary goal.  If you had discovered a female on your “woody plant”  and if the hunting there was to her liking, she might remain and even raise her young, all while keeping unwanted insects from feeding on the plant.  You have quite a thriving ecosystem on your “woody plant”.

Immature Gray Bird Grasshopper, shortly before relocation.

 

Subject:  Will this Grasshopper eat my buds?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 19, 2017
Thanks Bugman, for identifying my young Gray Bird Grasshopper.  It is still living on my woody plant and it is growing larger, but now I am worried that it might eat the buds forming on my plant.  Do grasshoppers just eat leaves or will they eat other parts of the plants?
Signed:  Constant Gardener

Immature Gray Bird Grasshopper

Dear Constant Gardener,
According to BugGuide, the Gray Bird Grasshopper,
Schistocerca nitens, will eat “Apparently a wide variety of plants.”  We also looked at what BugGuide has to say about the genus and we learned:  “The locust of the biblical plagues (well-known and dreaded throughout the Middle East and Europe in ancient times) is the only Old World member of this genus, Schistocerca gregaria (Song, 2004). North American species are much less prone to swarming behavior.”  According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin:  “The light green nymphs attain noticeable size in late summer.  Both stages feed on various garden crops and ornamentals.”  We are relatively confident that a Grasshopper feeding on leaves may continue to eat if presented with buds.  If you are concerned about the flower production of this plant, as we stated in an earlier posting, you should consider relocating this young nymph.  Luckily you do not need to worry about a plague of locusts descending on your crops, but a large Gray Bird Grasshopper might noticeably affect your yield.

Subject:  What’s Eating my Woody Plant?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
July 8, 2017 6:47 PM
I have several woody plants in my garden and I am very concerned with them being eaten by insects.  What is this on my plant?
Signature:  Constant Gardener

Gray Bird Grasshopper Nymph

Dear Constant Gardener,
This is a very young Grasshopper nymph and considering your location, we suspect it is a hatchling Gray Bird Grasshopper.  Though this nymph is quite small, adult Gray Bird Grasshoppers get quite large, with a wingspan well over four inches.  According to BugGuide, they feed upon:  “Apparently a wide variety of plants” and “Apparently overwintering primarily as eggs, hatching over an extended season from spring to late summer (perhaps hatching is related to rainfall events?), and maturing from late spring till late summer or early autumn. Some adults overwinter, and perhaps nymphs too (?).”  There appears to be a notch chewed off the leaf upon which this little Grasshopper is resting, which is a good indication it is feeding off your “Woody Plant”.  Since Gray Bird Grasshoppers are not limited to a single plant species as food, you can probably safely relocate this individual if you are concerned about your “Woody Plant” being eaten.

Gray Bird Grasshopper Nymph

Facebook Comment from Jennifer
LOL…. all I see is pot! lol
oh wait… now I see it! lol

Facebook Comment from Michael
I know, they keep saying that. I’m like, damn, just grow some balls and say marijuana.

Subject: What is this?
Location: Midwest. Elevation 5200
July 5, 2017 8:16 pm
Found this crawling on the stems of woody plants in my garden. Denver, CO. No clue what it is.
Signature: Caitlin

Exuvia of a Buffalo Treehopper Nymph

Dear Caitlin,
We hope helping you identify these immature Treehopper nymphs will benefit your “woody plants”.  First, this does not look like a living insect, but rather it looks like the cast-off exoskeleton or exuvia that is left behind after metamorphosis.  We believe this is a Buffalo Treehopper nymph in the genus
Ceresa, which is pictured on BugGuide, or a closely related species.  Like other members of the order Hemiptera, Buffalo Treehoppers have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and if they are present in large numbers, they may have a significant negative impact on the health of your “woody plant” by depriving the plant of necessary fluids and nutrients for optimal development.

Exuvia of a Buffalo Treehopper Nymph

An immediate Facebook comment from Michael
HAHAHAHA “woody plant.” If that’s not a marijuana plant I’m the Pope.

Daniel,
Thank you for your help identifying these! I’ll have to look into these buffalo tree hopper nymphs. They were very much still alive when I found them on my plants. I have a video of one crawling on the soil after knocking it off the plant to get a better look. Again, thank you for your help and your very fast response!