Ravenous bug eating hong kong orchid tree and loquat

oldfloridaAugust 6, 2008

My garden is a mess this year, I noticed a couple of plants that were really taking it hard: my hong kong orchid tree and a loquat. I discovered bugs on the undersides of the leaves of the HKO tree that I think are responsible but I don't know what they are. They have three segments and six legs. They look sort of ivory/brown and have longish antennae for their body size. Each is about 1/4" long and they can fly. Their bodies are hard, you can't 'squish' them.

Any idea what they could be? I've done some searching and can't seem to come up with an ID.

Interestingly enough, I have a nice big pipevine and usually there are small parasitic wasps all around it that keep the pipevine swallowtail larvae in check. Just enough mature to become butterflies without decimating my vine. But this year, larvae ate EVERY LEAF off the thing, and I've noticed an absence of the parasitic wasps this year. I wonder if there's a coincidence. I don't use any pesticides in my yard and have never had the problems I do this year. I don't know what's up.

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joyful_garden(9b-St. Cloud)

If you could take a pic of the bugs it would probably help a lot. I bet you would have a very quick answer if you did. Good luck-Joy

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:12AM
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I don't have a camera that will take a good picture of something that small. I thought someone might be able to ID it from having HKO trees or loquats with lots of leaf margin damage.

I have had three in a plastic baggie for several days and they are still alive. I think they might be white-fringed beetles. I'll take the baggie to the nursery later today for ID.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:48AM
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Sorry I couldn't help you, so far mine is fine. Did you ever find out what is was? I'd like to know in case my tree gets them. :o)

I am sure the Bayer systemic for tree and shrubs would help.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:00AM
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Yes here is the culprit. It's a weevil from sri lanka.

My nursery suggested an insecticide with spinosad, sprayed on it lasts 6 weeks and only will affect chewing insects.

Here is a link that might be useful: weevil pest

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 9:56AM
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I called Sarasota County and talked with someone in the horticultural department, and apparently this is more serious than I even thought. There is no known control for this weevil, the University of Florida is looking to find something but at this point there's no known solution. They suggested trying Sevin or a systemic. I think these would work (for non edible plants) but I have a feeling that we're facing a very serious problem here and there will be no easy answer. They told me that without treatment, it would kill my hong kong orchid tree.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 10:14AM
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Oh no! I visited your post last night and thought about the Sri Lanka Beetle that has caused significant leaf damage on some of my ornamentals, but I don't have a Loquat or a HKO.

Our county extension agent recommended Sevin but said to change pesticides on your next attack because Sri Lanka Beetles quickly grow immune to whatever you spray on them.

I called a lawn service to spray because there was no way I could get to the tops of Tibouchinas or Powder Puff. A week later, I'm spotting those critters down low, like on african iris. This year I've squished hundreds of them. Oh, and they're mating now.

Thanks for posting the link, Oldflorida. Good luck with your Orchid Tree and Loquat. You stated before that you have a pesticide free yard: that is really great, so I know this has to be heart wrenching for you.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:12PM
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