Friday, February 17, 2012
What are these Insect eggs?
I have wasted hours this week on one Dianthus leaf. Under the leaf was a beautifully patterned cluster of eggs. Who's Eggs? Have you tried looking for insect eggs on the internet? I have a well worked copy of Judy McMaugh's "What Garden Pest or Disease is that?", nothing amongst the images in there.
When we looked at the eggs under a hand lens we found a neat crown around the head of each one. This at least led to Google-ing insect eggs in neat patterns with a crown and I found ... Stink Bugs. Problem is that Stink Bugs appear to be a North American. I left the problem at this stage, too much time already.
Today I have returned to the now rather withered leaf and discovered the eggs are hatching... right now! I feel very paternal, all warm and fuzzy. The little "nymphs" are bright red but appear to darken soon after hatching. They look like Aphids, but as Minh quickly pointed out Aphids are born live not from eggs and there are no little horns on their backs. Well of course I'm all fired up again so more web searching leads to a distinct body shape but still frustration that I can't find anything definitively Australian. Back to Judy McMaugh, great resource and sure enough I have found Green Vegetable Bugs Nezara viridula. The Yanks call them Southern Green Stink bugs, so I think we are on the right track.
Sadly they are sucking pests so we don't want them in the nursery and a judicious spray of Confidor has been applied this morning. Confidor is a very valuable systemic insecticide for sucking pests like Aphids. I believe it is very safe to use but please always take great care with any garden chemical.
The children in the jar on my desk have been spared.... for now.
By the way, the yellow Apple Cucumbers I was puzzling over last week turn out to be a variety called Lemon! How 'bout that. I think there will be lots of Australian gardeners puzzling over their Cucumbers this year our seed supplier tells me ours hasn't been the first report.