I have been bemoaning the absence of ladybirds in my garden this year, so you will understand how excited I was when last night I spotted a flash of red on one of my roses. Unfortunately, when I stopped for a proper look, I saw a lot more little red bugs and it was clear that although these were indeed red with black spots, these were no ladybirds. They are about the size of ladybirds, but they were looking and behaving suspiciously like something else.
The image immediately put me in mind of the little red bugs I had recently looked at on a Roselle in Bangchik’s lovely ‘My Little Vegetable Garden’ blog which at the time had reminded me of one of my arch enemies in the garden. Hmmm…
Sure enough when I looked closer still I noticed that an adult Harlequin bug was amongst the little critters. Some comparisons between body shape and markings could be made. The little critters have red boddies and vague black markings on their bodies unlike the distinctly pattered adult Harlequin, but share the same body shape as the adult and a little white dot half way up the antenna (which you can’t really see in the photos, sorry).
I blame Harlequin bugs for some badly damaged rose buds in my garden, but in fairness I’ve never spotted them doing the damage. The bud they are clustered on in the photo looks none the worse for wear for them being there, but we shall see!
Apart from the fact I’m not keen on insecticides and figure things generally balance themselves out bug wise in the garden, I’m staying my hand to learn a few things…
Question one – Can I find any more evidence to confirm if these little beasts really are young Harlequin bugs?
Question two – Will they chew through my rose bud and prove they deserve my wrath?
Question three – Will a natural predator turn up and deal with them? If so who and how?
I’ll update as investigations develop!