The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Perspective is everything when attributing labels designating a level of beauty. Wandering in my community garden recently I had occasion to photograph some interesting insects. Most people would agree that while they may not enjoy being around ‘creepy-crawlies’ some are necessary for our human survival. With 100% certainty I can tell you that my unscientific impression is that there are fewer pollinators in our garden this year. There are a number of people who deliberately plant flowers designed to bring in bees and other pollinators. A gardener close to our plot has volunteer poppies that just keep coming every year adding beauty and are a definite bee magnet.

The next one meandering among the potato leaves is a quirky combo of a pretending spider with 8 legs but other characteristics not typical of spiders. These are an order of arachnids colloquially known as Harvestmen. Note the fused body and one pair of eyes. Apparently over 6,650 species of Harvestmen have been discovered worldwide. (Thanks Wikipedia). What a miracle of engineering. Wouldn’t it be fun to have legs that long with your body suspended in mid-air? In my books they fall into the ‘Good’ designation as they eat debris, dead and live small insects..

OK.. So what is a fly?? Good? Bad? Ugly? Well I think the colours are magnificent and the head is so intricate but I have been known to use a fly swatter before I started taking close up pictures.

The Colorado Potato Beetle will, in most minds, quite easily check off both the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’ boxes. They are a constant threat to potato growers. When a population explodes they can quickly devastate a whole potato patch. Our community garden potato plot has a dedicated group of squishers wandering among the plants flipping up leaves, spying eggs, larvae and adults and … well…you get the picture.

In this overall view you can just barely see some leaf damage and a few buggy dots here and there.

These eggs are about 1 mm. long and glued to the underside of the leaf waiting to hatch.

Here you can see recently hatched larvae scouring the egg sacs and eating holes in the leaves.

This orange and black beauty (??) is dressed up in its finest Halloween monster costume. Many leaf holes later this larve has grown and is quite soft and squishy. Have a look at the mouth parts chomping on a potato leaf in the video below.

Here is the adult looking for a suitable mate and continuing to eat many holes in many leaves.

Maybe there will be enough fodder for another Community Garden session in the future. Happy Gardening everyone.

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  1. Anita August 29, 2020 at 9:18 pm #

    Super pictures, Trent. You even made the Colorado Potato Beetle look not hideous!

  2. Earl Eidem July 28, 2020 at 9:59 am #

    WAY better than Science class. Thanks Trent.

  3. Ray July 28, 2020 at 6:34 am #

    That was really fun. Thanks Trent.

  4. Jan C July 28, 2020 at 5:28 am #

    The potato bug larvae look like orange jelly beans! Beauty of the beast! I am always looking forward to your blog Trent, thank you

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