Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Bug: We're back!

Native Bug & Exotic Flower
Tarnished Plant Bugs (Lygus lineolaris) have featured before on the Home Bug Garden and now they are back. Adults overwinter and emerge early. You could say they belong here, because they are one of those moderately rare insects that were in North America before my ancestors arrived and are now major pests of crops and gardens. Truly polyphagous (eating many) - well over 300 species of plants are attacked - and they are insidiously damaging to shoots and buds and vector of plant viruses. Just the kind of native bug no one really wants in their garden.

The flower this bug is perched in,Tulipa tarda, is a 'species tulip' - one that is much like its ancestors and has not been hybridized into something large and showy. Although the flowers are rather small (~5 cm diameter), they are early (unlike its name would seem to imply) and prolific. Native to Central Asia, where they would be a 'wild flower', the Tarda Tulip seems content not to spread into the wild in North America. Another happy alien in the HBG.

For anyone with a general interest in the insects that attack our vegetable crops, this excellent online source is worth a look:

John Capinera's Handbook of Vegetable Pests

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