Hello, bug.

greedygh0stFebruary 4, 2013

See that little guy there, on one of my baby Mathildes? I've had these bugs for a while now, and I've tried endless ways of extinguishing them - everything from neem oil to full on Bayers and I haven't really seen any effect. That said, they seem to diminish or disappear if my soil dries, kind of like fungus gnats.

Here's their behavior. I rarely see them on my mature plants, unless I've been watering a lot and their soil isn't really drying out. They always appear in containers that stay damp. They are fast moving and they crawl around on the plants, but they don't seem to linger or congregate. Mostly they are wandering around on top of the soil. If I dig into the soil, I might find some more, but not in any greater quantities than on the surface. As far as I can tell, they aren't really dragging the plants down, but they still freak me out.

So, what is this and how terrified should I be?

Thanks for your help!

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
Mark Twain

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Kamikakushi

Hi GG!

I'm quite positive this is the predatory mite Hypoaspis. Doesn't do any harm to your plants. I usually se my bugs scurry around the top soil while watering.

It's a good friend to have, since they eat the larval stage of fungus gnats.

So no need to worry!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Kamikakushi

Some info:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hypoaspis

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:40PM
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greedygh0st

That does look like it, and sounds very much like its behavior. After I failed to kill it, I observed its behavior for a while and decided to let it do its thing. It just acts like a hunting versus grazing kind of bug, you know?

Still, I always wanted to ask you guys about it, in case I would live to regret making peace. It just took me a while to get even a so/so photo, since it doesn't stay still for a second!

Thank you so much for your helpful response!! :) I will have to get the bugs some kind of present to apologize for my mean behavior.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Kamikakushi

Glad to help!

I found mine some two or three years ago, in my first batch of ordered hoyas. I as well tried to eradicate them, but to no avail. So as you've stated, it's just best to let them be and go about their thing.

There's also this other fella', of the family Oribatidae, that might hang around your pot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oribatidae

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:51PM
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greedygh0st

Haha. It makes me feel better that I'm not the only one to temporarily overreact... ;)

Wouldn't it be great to be dating an etymologist at times like this? Actually, at any time. I'd be like: honey, I'm putting you on mealy patrol...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:24AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Hello Greedy!

Looks to me like you have made yourself a nice friend there"-)

I am getting some Praying Mantis this spring and going to let tones of them go.

Mike

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:04AM
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greedygh0st

That's so cool!!! I was just reading up on friendly buy-able bugs and thinking that if I had a garden I would start a mantis infestation.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:22AM
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teisa(6)

I have a TON of lady bugs! We live in the woods. Even when it's 10 degrees outside, they are in my house! But from what I understand, they are harmless to plants and kill bad insects, is this correct?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:39PM
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greedygh0st

Ladybugs (the bright red ones) are mostly helpful carnivores that eat aphids, but there are some herbivore varieties that are considered adorably cuddly pests.

Asian lady beetles (the orangey ones) are all lovely helpful carnivores that eat aphids, but they also like to hibernate in houses during the winter. They are attracted to pale colored buildings, especially the sun-facing sides, and congegrate in herds. Once they are in your house snoozing they do not reproduce, thankfully and will leave in the spring, I guess. We get a ton of these at my parents' farm, and they drive me craaaaaaaaazy because they're always losing their grip and falling right into your hair or on your pillow or down your shirt. But I guess they could be worse.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ladybugs vs. Lady beetles

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Kamikakushi

Well GG, I think that the idea about the etymologist might backfire. He'll be all about preserving the bugs and your plants will be the perfect growing medium.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:12PM
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greedygh0st

Haha. I did think about that, but surely etymologists are like plant people and prefer some bugs over others. He could use the plants as a lovely habitat for friendlies.

It sure would be terrible to add "arguments over mealy rights" to the long list of potential couple arguments. Although it would make for very entertaining couples counseling sessions.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:49PM
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moonwolf_gw

Congrats, GG! I must admit, in the summer I like to find the ladybugs and put them on my rose bushes to help fight off the aphids. :-).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:24PM
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greedygh0st

lol You're like a ladybug travel agent, Brad. :P

OT: Does the site redesign rock or what? It's music to my eyes.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Kamikakushi

Nice transition GG; starting with a bug and then end up at couples counseling...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:14PM
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greedygh0st

lol!

I guess that gives you a little peek into the state of my subconscious!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:34PM
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moonwolf_gw

LOL "ladybug travel agent" I like that! You also forget that I am (no pun intended) a blossoming butterfly gardener. Could I also be called a butterfly caregiver? You guys know how much I love them besides wolves and dolphins ;-).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:38AM
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Kamikakushi

So Brad, do you only provide the nectar or do you cater the 'pillars as well (sorry, I just couldn't help myself)?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:35PM
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moonwolf_gw

LOL that was a good one! I have both host and nectar plants in the garden. So far, the only caterpillars that I have observed are the Monarchs. There's lot of Queen Anne's Lace that grows wild around here and I see the Swallowtails fluttering around them in the spring and summer very often.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:38PM
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