Monday, May 19, 2014

A growing community

In previous years I have had more than a few problems with bugs and pests. So far this year there has been surprisingly little. With any luck the cold winter we had here has knocked down our resident bug population a little. We've also had fewer in the way of mosquitoes so far too, so fingers crossed. This doesn't mean that there have been no signs of damage though:

This is the worst of what I've found so far, which really isn't that bad in relation to the whole. I haven't been able to spot anything doing this kind of damage. The suspects so far:

I'm reasonably sure that this is a juvenile stink bug of some sort. Apparently the brown marmorated version has become a particular problem in Maryland and Northern Virginia. It does sound like they particularly target fruit rather than the plant itself, so I'm quietly hopeful that it does not pose that great a threat. Still, having said that, this one was eliminated with extreme prejudice.

I also found this:

No idea what this is or who it belongs to but it gives the impression of being eggs laid by an unwelcome pest. A fair bit of prejudice was used in disposing of it too. Hopefully I wasn't eliminating something that might help me. Speaking of which, I have observed these guys:

This looks like what I would call a hunting spider, which in this case appears to be dealing with a red mite of some description. Always happy to see bug predators to help keep down the numbers of things that might damage the hops. I've also seen spiders of the web-making variety:

As well as this one that also looks like a hunting spider of some sort but with a bright red spot on its abdomen:

It's not just spiders that seem to be on my side. I found this and was initially unsure:

I now think it's a two-lined leather wing. This reference says that their larvae eat others insects, so again, very welcome.

All told, this year has seen very little in the way of damage to the hops from bugs and pests in general. The presence of these predators would indicate that there is certainly enough for them to survive on. I will just have to hope that they keep on top of their numbers. 

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