Posts from the ‘Insects’ Category

Nymph to Adult: Red Shouldered Green Stink Bug (Thyanta Pallidovirens) Growth

Thyanta pallidovirens 1st Instar Nymph
Poor focus quality was due to the bug being so tiny and running around so quickly!
I can’t blame them at that stage. One wasp kept dining on them a la carte. I even got to watch the wasp eat a nymph at such close proximity. Definitely a downtown San Jose National Geographic moment!

Thyanta pallidovirens

Thyanta pallidovirens

Thyanta pallidovirens – 5th Instar Nymph.
Notice the defining of the “shoulders”

Adult Thyanta pallidovirens

First time I’ve seen a coccoon!




The Hover Fly

Hoverfly 2

Hoverfly 1

Hoverfly 3

Hoverfly 4

Yarrow flowers attract itty bitty Carpet Beetles!

Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles on Yarrow Flower

Making love for 2…making love for 2 minutes! Soldier Beetles mating caught on camera!

Two Soldier Beetles mating

Soldier Beetles mating

Beneficial Insects Poster By UC Davis

Click on the link to download

PDF Download

What are you? Unusual insect visits my garden.

The Soldier's a beneficial insect that eats aphids and their larvae! Woot woot!

Every Rose has it’s thorns and is super high maintenance!

Weird pattern generated from Black Spot fungus?

I had given up on roses since my failure to keep a rose alive and disease free about a year ago.  What I later decided was that the garden centers in San Jose sell roses that are inappropriate for San Jose’s weather conditions.  My conclusion stemmed from the fact that at the end of the gardening season (late fall) the roses that remained in the stores had all this powdery mildew and brown leaves.  So this observation led me to decide, never again would I purchase a rose!

In December of 2011, I discovered Rosa Californica, the California Rose.  I had to add this rose to my native California plant collection and give roses another go.  I made sure to place it in the sunniest spot in my patio so as to create the best conditions for it to thrive in.  I have carefully built my garden specifically to attract beneficial insects to dine on the aphids would surface.  Sadly today I found many aphids (green, black, and purple) on my rose.  I also found that my plant has the Black Spot fungus.  This is a symptom of the plant being in humid/wet weather for too long.  Well it has been rainy and very humid.  But as a native plant, this rose has really disappointed me so far.  I mean, there’s no one spraying fungicides on California roses out in the wild!  What the heck!

Rose leaves with Black Spot fungus

Browning leaves caused by Black Spot fungus

According to, “the fungus becomes active in a wet environment with a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius (approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit). It needs about 7 hours of these conditions to germinate and then symptoms will begin to appear on rose foliage within three to ten days. From then on spores are produced every three weeks. If unchecked, black spot can affect the entire rose garden leaving an unattractive appearance of many ‘bare-naked’ plants. Spores can over winter in the garden so autumn cleanup is crucial otherwise the entire cycle can repeat itself the following spring and summer.”

Black Spot fungus...a quite representative image

For the treatment Rose Magazine offers a solution:

” The worst case scenario can be avoided with some preventative measures, a keen eye and diligence. While plants are dormant in spring, spray thoroughly with fungicidal soap and wettable sulphur (both readily available at the local plant nursery). Sulphur is actually a historical remedy used for hundreds of years by farmers for their crops. It definitely has a place in the chemical-free garden. Fungal spores cannot germinate in the sulphur film and thus cannot get a chance to attack the plant. To be effective the sulphur must be on the plant and leaves before the spores land on them. Sulphur washes off in rain and so must be reapplied repeatedly. The product is sold in powder or liquid form and also works well against mildew and rust. Other preventative measures include keeping the leaves dry when watering (try soaker hoses or drip irrigation methods), water in the morning so that foliage has a chance to dry off throughout the day and pruning plants to improve air circulation.”

Greaaaat!  Where am I going to find Sulphur?!  I think for now, I’m just going to relocate the rose to the middle of the garden, and clip off the diseased leaves.  Then I’m going to have to coyly ask Henrik for my Fungicide back and I’m sure he’ll make fun of me since I sort of bashed his dudleya kind of recently…

Honey Bee Pollen Sacs

Honey Bee Pollen Sacs

Beehold the European Honey Bee!

European Honey Bee on the purple Anemone Flower

Honeybees are social insects that live in hives. Like all insects, bees have six legs, a three-part body, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, jointed legs, and a hard exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax, and abdomen (the tail end).

Bees can fly about 15 mph (24 kph). They eat nectar (a sweet liquid made by flowers) which they turn into honey. In the process of going from flower to flower to collect nectar, pollen from many plants gets stuck on the bee’s pollen baskets (hairs on the hind legs). Pollen is also rubbed off of flowers. This pollinates many flowers (fertilizing them and producing seeds).

All the members of the hive are related to each other. There are three types of honey bees:

  • the queen (who lays eggs)
  • workers – females who gather food, make honey, build the six-sided honeycomb, tend eggs, and guard the hive
  • drones – males who mate with the queen.

Bees undergo complete metamorphosis. The queen lays an egg in a cell in the wax comb (all the immature bees are called the brood). The egg hatches into a worm-like larva, which eventually pupates into an adult bee.

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