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Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

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Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Fiz on 7/4/2017, 6:18 pm

Anyone know what this little bug is and whether I should be happy, indifferent, or alarmed? I'm seeing a few here and there around my plants. Thanks in advance!

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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/4/2017, 8:50 pm

Any plants in particular it's hanging around?
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/4/2017, 9:12 pm

Beneficial, so you should be happy. It's good! cheers
Here is a similar fly (might be the same species, might not - there's a bunch of them that are hard to tell apart):
http://bugguide.net/node/view/414709

This fly belongs to the Long-Legged Family of flies (Dolichopodidae). Of this family, Kaufman's Field Guide to Insects of North America says, "These flies are predators, especially on mites, aphids, and smaller flies."
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Fiz on 7/4/2017, 9:43 pm

Wahoo! Thank for the ID, Beetles! I credit my fungus gnat population for bringing theee guys around. I'll keep an eye out and see if I can catch any action. :-)

As far as plant preference goes, I haven't noticed any patterns but the one I snapped the picture of was one a eggplant leaf, if I recall correctly.


Last edited by Fiz on 7/4/2017, 9:45 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Smart phone keyboard woes.)
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/11/2017, 8:05 am

I have a feeling this one is likely not beneficial... on my delicata squash.


Los ood tiny bugs around what would appear to be a nest.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/11/2017, 8:44 am

I've had some mistaken identity issues like this, too, so don't be embarrassed - but I think that's bird poop with seeds in it -- which may well have attracted some bugs. Wash it off and you should be good to go.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/11/2017, 8:48 am

Oops. Well I was right it wasn't beneficial! Just nothing to worry about...
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Fiz on 7/11/2017, 12:57 pm

Haha, I was quite alarmed when I saw that. Looked plague-ish! Glad to hear it's just poop.

In the meantime, is this what I think it is (read: cabbage moth?), and if so, I hope they're not laying eggs anywhere.

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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/11/2017, 1:21 pm

It is a white cabbage butterfly. The plant it's on looks like an eggplant? If so it's not laying eggs there, but it could actually be pollinating your eggplants! It's kinda strange, but the adults are valuable pollinators (we'll take what we can get) but the larva are pretty destructive to brassicas. If you got any brassicas nearby that aren't covered I work keep an eye out for the eggs and caterpillars. The caterpillars are TINY! I've found that like to hide on the underside of the leaves and in the "rib" of the leaves. They blend in very well.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  sanderson on 7/12/2017, 6:22 pm

In the summer, I don't have any brassicas, but the white butterfly still visits. I have found the green caterpillars on bean, tomato and cantaloupe leaves. Shocked Emergency maternity wards?

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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Fiz on 7/12/2017, 10:49 pm

Yeah, hopefully it was pollinating! I don't have any brassicas either right now.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/14/2017, 2:51 am

Went out at night and caught this guy red handed munching on my carrot tops.

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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/14/2017, 9:08 am

Cutworm. Rather voracious, and not picky. There are many kinds - they all turn into moths.
This one might be the Variegated Cutworm... but as with many groups of insects, there's a bunch that all look very similar.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/1222879/bgimage
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/15/2017, 10:55 am

?
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/15/2017, 4:15 pm

Nice find! Rather Victorian in style... I haven't seen that one in person yet, but it is a Virginia creeper clearwing moth.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/961785/bgimage

The moths in the clearwing-borer group are active during the day time rather than at night, and have larvae that are borers, rather than leaf-feeding caterpillars. Several are wasp mimics. The dreaded Squash Vine Borer is also in this group. (But the hummingbird clearwing and snowberry clearwing moths belong to the sphinx moth group, not the clearwing-borer group.)

Virginia creeper is a native plant many consider to be a weed. Some people get contact dermatitis from it, so it gets confused with poison ivy even though it has leaves in groups of 5, not 3. So unless you are trying to grow Virginia creeper, this moth is neutral from a gardening point of view.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 8/8/2017, 8:08 am

Found this guy on my squash plant last night. I'm not thinking he's bad, but I don't see
much of the nocturnal bugs so I'm not sure.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/8/2017, 9:05 am

She. I'm pretty sure, based on the wings elsewhere on the leaf, that you've photographed a queen ant who has just de-winged herself.

But as to beneficial, neutral, or pest, it depends on the species (I don't have a clue about what species yours is) - and the gardener. Some ants kill other pests, other ants 'farm' them (often aphids are the livestock, sometimes leafhoppers and scale bugs.) Some ants bite/sting gardeners, others don't. Some ants chew cavities into wood that people are still using for houses and raised bed boxes. Ant tunneling in the earth/MM helps naturally 'plow' and aerate your soil.

I personally draw the line at house invasion; ants in my garden/yard are free to do whatever (but I may kill their livestock if they are on my garden plants). However, my ants aren't fire ants, and I haven't had them bite me.
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Re: Beneficial, Neutral, or Pest?

Post  Robbomb116 on 8/8/2017, 9:39 am

Thought it might be a queen ant. And as far as where so draw the line on ants, I think we are exactly on the same page.
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