Bugs, come & go

digitS'

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From year to year, there seems to be consistency with some but not others. I'm no entomologist so this may be different species within the same family. They may arrive at plague levels because conditions are right, or were right the previous season, for a population explosion.

This isn't all about pests. The predatory Lacewings must be a beneficial bug. There was one on the storm door, yesterday morning. I think that makes 5 that I have seen this year. There were none sighted in 2021 - often there are scores of them around the place :hu.

Consistently, there are few grasshoppers. I scared up 4 running the tiller the other day. That probably doubles the number that I have seen this year. I'm sure that I am lucky that the population stays low.

Flea beetles are always, or nearly, a problem in the big veggie garden. Thinning a late planting of mustard greens yesterday sure highlights that fact! I almost can't grow brassicas out there. The damaged broccoli has made something of a comeback and are producing a crop but the transplants that went in late still haven't made buds. Honestly, I thought those late ones were likely to die about a month ago but they now have clean leaves and look healthy.

The aphids in the yard this year were the tiniest green things - plenty of them, tho. About 5 years ago, a HUGE population of black aphids showed up in the entire neighborhood. I think that they were on every tree everywhere around. Crawling all over under the trees ... And yet, not only haven't I seen any black aphids since but, at the time, I don't know that I had ever seen them up until then.

Steve, who rescued a Lacewing out of the house this year and tried to make a friend out of a Praying Mantis, yesterday :)
 

flowerbug

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From year to year, there seems to be consistency with some but not others. I'm no entomologist so this may be different species within the same family. They may arrive at plague levels because conditions are right, or were right the previous season, for a population explosion.

This isn't all about pests. The predatory Lacewings must be a beneficial bug. There was one on the storm door, yesterday morning. I think that makes 5 that I have seen this year. There were none sighted in 2021 - often there are scores of them around the place :hu.

Consistently, there are few grasshoppers. I scared up 4 running the tiller the other day. That probably doubles the number that I have seen this year. I'm sure that I am lucky that the population stays low.

Flea beetles are always, or nearly, a problem in the big veggie garden. Thinning a late planting of mustard greens yesterday sure highlights that fact! I almost can't grow brassicas out there. The damaged broccoli has made something of a comeback and are producing a crop but the transplants that went in late still haven't made buds. Honestly, I thought those late ones were likely to die about a month ago but they now have clean leaves and look healthy.

The aphids in the yard this year were the tiniest green things - plenty of them, tho. About 5 years ago, a HUGE population of black aphids showed up in the entire neighborhood. I think that they were on every tree everywhere around. Crawling all over under the trees ... And yet, not only haven't I seen any black aphids since but, at the time, I don't know that I had ever seen them up until then.

Steve, who rescued a Lacewing out of the house this year and tried to make a friend out of a Praying Mantis, yesterday :)

i try to explain natural cycles as this, there are few straight lines in nature and so too with population dynamics. when you have all sorts of animals vying for food and other resources not all of them reach prime reproductive rates at the same time, it would be impossible in some cases because of the competition. so things take turns, some need less and so can come back more quickly, etc.

i have gardens here where there are always flea beetles and 20ft from them another garden won't have any at all. sandy and damp spots seem to help them more. i basically ignore them because the damage they do is early and fades as the season gets going. i don't do brassicas... i don't know if they do clay well... i don't recall them being a particular pest here in the more heavily clay gardens.

grasshoppers are usually big by this time of the year so we notice them around. the bluebirds enjoy eating them. i once thought that it would be great if farmers could have a vacuum for all the bugs they don't like that would go along their fields and then bury them behind as free fertilizer - an advanced version would let the good bugs back out before burying the rest...

aphids are rare here. so many lady beetles around all the time.
 

Phaedra Geiermann

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The pests I had this year are quite similar to what Steve mentioned. Still having a lot of flea beetles in August is surprising as they should have already disappeared much earlier. So I have to use the mesh on most of the brassica beds. As long as the mesh covers properly, the damage can be minimized.
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The temperature dropped a lot these few weeks, and we have had rain almost every day since Monday. All the rainbutts are again full, near 2000L. So finally, flea beetles left, and I also removed the mesh from several beds. I have more brassicas seedlings that need to be transplanted soon, and now it is much safer.

This year, we also have a lot of rhododendron leafhoppers, more than whatever I have ever seen in the past few years. So are the gophers. The dry spell (maybe drought?) might be the cause.
 

Pulsegleaner

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I have noticed a few absences over time. Some are explicable like when the Norwegian Pine Borers (giant 3 inch black beetles) stopped showing up on our side yard (they had been eating the remains of the oak stump on the side, and when the oak stump finally collapsed and disappeared, they no longer had anything to eat, and moved on) or the spicebush swallowtails (when they built the new house, they cut down all the spicebushes, so again, no food supply).

Others are harder to explain. When I was a kid I used to see LOTS of two spot ladybugs. I don't think I have seen ONE in at least 10-15 years (maybe those imported Asian ladybugs out competed them). And despite us having a lot of EXTREMELY bitter winters, I haven't seen a backwards one in even longer (that actually how it works with two spots, the colder the winter is when they pupate, the more of them will "flip" their colors and come out black with red spots.)
This year, I also noticed an unusual dearth of caterpillars. I think I've only seed TWO this year (and summer is nearly over), some sort of moth (looked like a wooly bear that had let it's fur grow long and then dyed it blond.) and some green hornworm like one (that was already dead when I found it, or nearly so). I'm not even sure I've seen a tent moth caterpillar this year, or a gypsy moth (sorry "sponge moth") and there's usually some of those EVERY year.

Been a while since I saw a Cicada killer either.

On the show UP side, we've recently gotten a few of some other very large beetle flying into the window wells from time to time, and, of course, the bugs that LOOK like half pint cockroaches, but don't BEHAVE like cockroaches (in that they fly everywhere, and seem to be ATTRACTED to light.)

Actually, now that I think of it, the number of camel crickets coming up from the basement has gone down as well (maybe we're getting better at keeping it dry down there, and they have less moisture to drink.)
 

digitS'

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This year, we also have a lot of rhododendron leafhoppers,
Leafhoppers were quite a problem in past years. The reason, I think, was that there were several acres of alfalfa just a skip and hop away. There are still a few acres of alfalfa nearby but it no longer surrounds the garden. A person can walk through alfalfa and end up with slime from the leafhopper larvae all over their pants! Yuck

Fruit flies are a nuisance in the house and not just because they like my anise hyssop/lemon verbena tea enuf to drown in it!

They show up especially during “melon season.” It’s certainly melon season and they like peaches. DW brought about a dozen in from the tree, yesterday. Well, if they are fruit flies this year - they are tiny. I mean, fruit flies and small but they look like little flies. Most of these guys are so small that I can’t see them if they are more than 18” inches from the end of my nose. They are of fungus gnat size but have an interest in fruit.

Fortunately, there are very few in ‘22. And, I have still not put out my vinegar fly traps.

Steve
 

Phaedra Geiermann

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Leafhoppers were quite a problem in past years. The reason, I think, was that there were several acres of alfalfa just a skip and hop away. There are still a few acres of alfalfa nearby but it no longer surrounds the garden. A person can walk through alfalfa and end up with slime from the leafhopper larvae all over their pants! Yuck

Fruit flies are a nuisance in the house and not just because they like my anise hyssop/lemon verbena tea enuf to drown in it!

They show up especially during “melon season.” It’s certainly melon season and they like peaches. DW brought about a dozen in from the tree, yesterday. Well, if they are fruit flies this year - they are tiny. I mean, fruit flies and small but they look like little flies. Most of these guys are so small that I can’t see them if they are more than 18” inches from the end of my nose. They are of fungus gnat size but have an interest in fruit.

Fortunately, there are very few in ‘22. And, I have still not put out my vinegar fly traps.

Steve
By the way, the root aphids are so annoying, too! This is the first time that I still have to pay much attention to flea beetles and root aphids in September, sigh.

One funny thing, the first moment I saw this thread, I thought it was "Bus, come and go" and believed that there must be something funny. :lol:
 

ducks4you

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It is strange--we used to drive on vacations and have tons of dead bugs on the windshield. We live in the country and NOW we never see insect populations like that. I don't believe that the lovely barn swallows and dragonflies are reducing local mosquito populations down to nothing. I also know that any bugs that run out of the farm fields that are sprayed end up feasting on MY gardens.
There are studies that ALWAYS blame this on people, in one way or another, people=global warming=insect decimation=end of the world.
Dunno where I stand, just that this September it's been in the low 50's at night...unusal.
Farmer's Almanac says Cold with a lot of snow this winter.
That will kill off insects, too.
Given the right conditions, insects can rebound pretty quickly.
 

digitS'

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There are very few swallows around in 2022.

Several bird species are in low numbers this year.

Mostly, I have blamed the extremely hot weather in late June, 2021. The years-long drought had to be hard on them also. We were supposed to be out of that drought locally with very near-normal Winter precipitation. However, I can't imagine the meteorologists continuing to think that way when we had an official "T" for a "trace" of August 2022 rain and nothing but a scattered hailstorm (which missed that airport weather station). Meanwhile, it's September and this continuing dry weather is "normal." That weather station also had an official 113°f (45°C) during drought conditions on 29 June 2021. That must have taken out lots of bird families.

Steve
 

ducks4you

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Depends on where you are. We have a large number of barn swallows, judging by the evenings when they are swarming to catch mosquitoes. Still, we are in a drought where I live, too, though we still get high dew points and wet grass in the mornings.
 

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