Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Woolly Aphids, lady bugs, and hymenoptera musings

Posted by Nika On July - 15 - 2007

We have been very lucky to have few aphid problems. I have found aphid mommas surrounded by many aphid babies on the undersides of my tomatillo plants but I kill them right away (by hand, right on the leaf so their little juices, in my theory of things, might be attractive to predators). I check the tomatillos every day and kill these colonies every few days (as in, I don’t find them every day).

Yesterday I found a woolly aphid on the poor tomatillo and shot it with the 100mm macro lens.

These bugs leave a woolly residue on stems.

Woolly aphids (subfamily: Eriosomatinae) SOURCE

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Superfamily: Aphidoidea
Family: Aphididae
Subfamily: Eriosomatinae

This aphid was not happy when I brushed past the woolly area and she went on to wollify some place else on the plant. :-/. From what I have read, you want to encourage ladybugs and lacewings, spray with water, etc. I squish them.

I am not too worried about aphids because we, like everyone else around here, are besieged by massive swarms of ladybugs every year. This year they will have extra meaning to me because they will be helpful. Already we have lady bugs in the garden busy laying their eggs every where.

We have not seen any honey bees, at all. Thankfully we have several industrious bumblebees who are quite busy.

Before the bumblebees were on the scene, we have had a lot of other pollinators, especially around the tomatillos!

Like anyone else into gardening, I know about colony collapse disorder (CCD) in the bees here in the US. We have several local hobby beekeepers (one sells honey the other has them because he adores them and he has a nice big garden) and I know that at least one of them is having a hard time with his queens.

If I were to get into the bee thing (I do worry about my kids being near hives because I would never forgive myself if they were stung and died, we have severe allergies to nuts so we need to determine if the kids have a proclivities to allergies to bee venom) I think I would not do it for the honey (only for home use tho we are not big into honey – hurts my teeth) but to breed queens and to pollinate my own garden.

I would prefer to help with the restoration of the annihilated wild bee population but I am not sure yet how or if I could.

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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