Lady Bug Larva versus the Red Aphid – Let the attack begin!
It was a nice July day and the daylilies were in fell bloom. In another part of the garden, however, a life and death struggle was underway! Each year some of my plants are infested with aphids. Since I’m not a great user of pesticides, I wait patiently for the natural predators to arrive and level out the battle field. Today was no exception. The aphids had already arrived and were sucking the juices from the stems of a number of my plants that were just reaching the flower bud stage.
Looking over the flower bed for a few moments and there it was – a lovely blue-purple larvae of a lady bug heading along the stem to meet the red aphids head on. The red spots on the stem are the signs of the previous successful attacks/meals of the larva. Notice how the aphids have moved back or moved to the underside of the stem. As the larva got closer, some of the aphids would wage a counter-attack and sometimes get the larva to back-off for a while.
Very interesting to watch the attack unfold. The ladybug larva would move down the stem toward the group of aphids and one or two aphids would move out and actually attack (?) the lady bug larva and force it back up the stem. However, when the chance presented itself, the ladybug larvae would strike out and catch the aphid from behind and after that it was meal time for the lady bug larva.
NOTE: I’m happy to say that the following photo was published in the January/February 2009 edition of California Garden published by the San Diego Floral Association celebrating the Association’s 100th anniversary year. The article was by Amy R. Wood and titled “Friend or Foe: Ladybug Larvae” and was intended to draw attention to the fact that both the well known spotted orange beetle (lady bird beetle/lady bug) as well as the larvae are very useful pest controllers in the garden. Although most gardeners are aware of the merits of the adult beetle Amy also wanted to point out that gardeners shouldn’t kill the larvae thinking that they are just some ugly creature. More info on the San Diego Floral Association can be found here: <a href=”http://www.sdfloral.org/”>San Diego Floral Association </a>
For the followers of the lady bug (ladybird) “Attack on the Red Aphids” series, the following shot shows closer to the true colours and to give some idea of scale.
I wasn’t the only observer of the activities, as many more bugs play a part in my garden’s web of life.
I.d not certain. Robber Fly?
Scarlet and Green Leafhopper (Graphocephala coccinea).
Having had a bit of a diversion, it was back to the original task of repairing the front steps of the house.