Is there a giant orange aphid with black legs?

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)June 17, 2013

Ok, so my reference book is stored, and I am too anxious here to take time to google what I have no idea about identity.

Please tell me these funny critters on my Moonlight Sonata flower scape are pollenators and not sucking aphids bleeding off the fragrance!

Pictures at 10:00 (no...I jest...I just took them) from my cell phone.


HEEELLLLLLPPPPP!!!

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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Maybe boxelder bug nymphs? They look too big to be aphids, but yet too yellow to be boxelder nymphs. Maybe someone else will know.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I don't know what boxelder is, but will begin searching there for a way to determine their troublemaking potential. Never saw such a spidery looking thing before.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:06PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Mocc not sure what they are almost like termites. They look like they are getting a drink on the dew still on top of the flower. I have seen lizards and bees do it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:47PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Nymph of something. I'd need a clearer close-up. Perhaps boxelder bug, perhaps leaf-footed bug, perhaps something else.

tj

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

70% of insects are beneficial. Just keep watching. If there is no damage to your plants, then leave it alone. Maybe it's a predator that eats aphids. Can't tell anything from the photo.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:17PM
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donrawson(Z 5)

No idea...pic is not big enough...Here are some more possibilities:

Rosy Apple Aphid

Texas carpenter ant

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:44PM
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marricgardens
    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 7:44PM
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    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 7:59PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

The closest I could come to it, from flipping through pics in my Audubon Society Insects and Spiders Field Guide, is a "Rosy Apple Aphid"

hth,
Deb

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 8:13PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

see google link below
kinda rosy and not really orange, but... *shrug*

Deb

Here is a link that might be useful: rosy apple aphid pics

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 8:19PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

There is a Pest Forum that Ken and I frequent...uh, wait a minute, what did I say... don't say it, don't even think it...maybe I should say a Garden Clinic Forum and if you get a good pic the folks there should be able to ID it.

tj

Here is a link that might be useful: Name that Pest

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Thanks. Barring any dire consequences like being struck by lightning for what I did, I took things into my own (inept but effective) hands, and killed the little suckers.

Never saw anything like them before, like an aphid on steroids with black long spidery legs. When I approached, they hid behind the inflorescence. They gathered worshipfully at the top of the big unopened bud on Moonlight Sonata--a fragrant which is in the process of blooming now.

I put my hand over the top of the scape, closed my fingers and squeezed enough to demolish the colorful bugs. They were similar in composition to the soft-bodied aphids okay. They were not aggressive and did not bite me. Perhaps I could have exterminated them with a quick blast of water. I'd have preferred to let them be, but what if they were the kin of the wooly aphids which dropped in unannounced last week on the Yesterday's Memories.

Before any of the orange spidery aphid-looking bugs relatives come searching for these, I better find out if it was friend or foe. Hope it was not the last of its kind in the world, you know.

Perhaps it was the fragrance from Moonlight Sonata that drew them to this one plant, this one inflorescence that they seemed to dote on. Not on the open flower with pollen, on the exterior of the flower buds.

If I trust the sense of smell of these insects, it had a choice of several fragrant blooming hosta, all within a few feet of one another. Yet they CHOSE Moonlight Sonata. I'm thinking that this one is more fragrant of the early blooming fragrant flowered hosta.

Early in the season for fragrants as it is, finding which one carries the honey smell of the plantaginea fragrance, should not be a hard question to answer. Then I'll get a couple more Moonlight Sonatas!

The fragrance was so pronounced this afternoon, I easily detected it from 15-20 feet away. I was hoping it was lovely Holly's Dazzler with her unique purple/white flowers, but the bugs voted for Moonlight Sonata.

I'll have to write this observation in my notes for Moonlight Sonata.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:22AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Don, the rosy apple aphid was close, but my bugs had 2 parts. They had the rear part stuck up in the air. The legs were more spidery and not folded looking. The color is right though. But not the Schmoo body.

I could not find the Texas carpenter ant. Ant is a possibility, although I hope it is not an ant. The 2 body parts are ant-like. I'll do a search on that topic.

When I run across any insect life form with orange and black, I think of the butterflies, which color combo means to the birds this is not a good food source, may be poisonous or yucky. Some other insects adopt the color pattern but not the poisonous properties. I'm sure the wild birds SAW these insects, yet they did not pick them off as they could have. I think it may have to do with the color pattern.

Only finding what it is will reveal the nature of the critter.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:39AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I think picture #19 at the reference below might be our bug.
It is a milkweed assassin bug, nymph stage. Might be it.

The legs are right, the attitude of the rear end is right, could not tell any black on the body, only on the legs. Very bright orange.
Zelus longipes

Here is a link that might be useful: Milkweed assassin bug

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:06AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If it was an assassin bug nymph, that is a friend, not a foe.

tj

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

It is the milkweed assassin bug. When I went after them yesterday, I missed some, they went into hiding. So this morning they were back at work, whatever that might be. How long do they stay, such as that, and how are they benefiting my garden, or MY HOSTA?

Now I notice them, plain as day. The little guys are Schmoos in orange suits.

This picture was with my Android tablet, Yesterday.

Really thank you all for taking an interest, and learning something important....not all bugs are bad, so check it out.
Now what happens to these nymphs? Anybody know offhand, in 20 words or less explain it to me so I don't have to wade through google to know what they look like after they morph into another plase.....these guys are incredible insects.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:13PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Not sure of all the instars they go through, but a number of pix at the link. As the link states:

"They are generalist predators feeding on a wide range of soft-bodied prey in garden and fields such as mosquitoes, flies, earthworms, cucumber beetles and caterpillars (fall armyworm, rootworm etc.)."

tj

Edit: Are the legs banded like the pix at the link?

Here is a link that might be useful: Various instar pix

This post was edited by tsugajunkie on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 22:36

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:33PM
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chris-e(7 MD)

A little off-topic here, but I wonder how many people know what you mean when you say "schmoo shaped"? HAHAHA,

Gosh, how many years has it been since Al Capp stopped drawing Dick Tracy?

chris

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:30AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Well, it's been a LONG time.
It was in the Lil' Abner strips, done by Al Capp true enough.
Here is a picture of one. This is for educational purposes, you can see how the nymph's shape is very "schmoo"-like.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:00AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

May I ask TJ about where the milkweed assassin came from.

In the last week, I brought home from Lowes 5 $2 reduced price shrubs. One was a milkweed.

I also picked up 3 milkweeds from a neighbor lady who is an organic gardener. And, got a couple of the angel trumpets from her, and a loquat and a fig. Since they are a generalist predator, could they live on other shrubbery besides hosta, milkweed, or whatever?

It is my belief that the nymphs came from the neighborlady, not from a commercial site where plants in their care are generally sprayed to debug them regularly.

Now. If I had used the ammonia/water 1:10 solution to spray where these bugs were living, would it have indiscriminately killed the nymphs as surely as my hand swiping over them only did away with a few if any?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:18AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

This morning I moved another fragrant hosta in bloom beside the Moonlight Sonata. It was Hadspen White. I waited to see if any of the nymphs would migrate to the other hosta flower scape.

No, they did not migrate. They stayed totally on the Moonlight Sonata. I'm thinking these bugs have a fondness for the scent exuded by this particular hosta.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:15PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

They could have hitch-hiked on any of the plants or even came as eggs and hatched. Why they like the Midnight Sonata is anyone's guess. Perhaps its scent is similar to the milkweed in bloom.

tj

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 4:44PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

As a kid, I always thought a schmoo would be a grand pet to have! Come to think of it, I still do.

Glad your unknown is a good one and glad I will now know to leave it be should I ever come across one.

Cyn

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I still love Schmoos!!!!

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 6:19PM
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