Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Katy Did It!

The good news is that the aphids are all but gone. The little wasps are still busy doing their gruesome alien emergence thing, but that’s fine with me because it works. No chemicals and (very nearly) no aphids. Lovely.

The bad news is that no flotilla of ladybugs appeared. I’m starting to wonder if the little wasps are too much competition for them. Something I read (can’t remember where now) did say that the parasitic wasps were a more effective biological control for aphids than ladybugs or lacewings. I wonder if being out-competed is the real cause for the loss of my ladybug population.

I’m going to have to look into that, but today I’ve been on an identity search for prime rose chewing suspect number one. Did you see her perched there amongst the roses?

Who is this fiend?

Because I work hard (stand back and let nature take it’s course)  to avoid using insecticides on my plants, the occasional bug does come along and do some damage. It’s never as bad as you might think and I only loose the occasional bloom. I think that is a small price to pay to have the bees, the butterflies and the creepy little parasitic wasps visit.

But I think this critter has been taking big mouthfuls out of some of my blooms and I’ve been trying to figure out who she is since January.

A harlequin bug copping the blame

In January I was still considering blaming the Harlequin bugs (Dindymous Versicolour) for my rose bud damage, but my suspicion was aroused when the creature  below was found near the scene of the crime.  I’ve since found it loitering nearby on two or three more occasions, so it has become prime suspect number one. It has taken me ages to figure out what it is exactly as it looked to me like a cross between a grasshopper and a leafhopper.

Caedicia simplex?

Turns out grasshopper was closest to the mark and some of you probably recognised it instantly as a Katydid, who has both British and Northern American cousins. I think this one is an Inland Katydid (Caedicia simplex).

Turns out they like to munch on flower buds. Hmm.


Comments on: "Katy Did It!" (29)

  1. I’d say it’s guilty; I know nothing of bugs, but it sure looks guilty!

  2. As in life itself, we generally take the ‘good’ with the ‘bad’ and do our best! Your critters–unless intensely and unrelentlessly destroying your garden–are part of the package that nature brings. Glad you are able to have butterflies and bees too, and I hope you’ll get more ladybug visitors.

    • Hi Jan – overall none of the bugs I have seem to do much damage. Clearly this one will destroy a bud given the chance, but I have seen the bug several times in the garden and have only lost a few flower buds, so I don’t worry too much!

  3. Hurrah for Katy doing the job! A great natural pest control. I hope your Lady bug populations grows though. Love your March Bouquet!

  4. I guess nature finally balances itself out on its own eventually. Unfortunately, we have to put up with the pests in order to get the beneficials.
    She really had a feast. Your roses are beautiful when she doesn’t have them for lunch! They are such pretty colors.

    • Hi Amy, at least when she has a bite to eat she tends to devour most of a bud rather than have a little nibble out of lots of different buds! So I’ve still got plenty left over to bring inside 🙂

  5. Also, great post title..:)

  6. Elephant's Eye said:

    If your aphids are all gone, what are the ladybirds supposed to eat? Ain’t going to come, if there’s no dinner.

  7. It seems she appreciates your roses as much as we do. I hope she’s had her fill now, and decides to move on.

  8. They appear to do the same kind of damage we suffer each year with the Japanese beetles. It is so frustrating.

    • I’m going to have to look up Japanese beetles Tina, I haven’t heard of those before! I just hope it’s not something else that will be lining up for a chew on my roses!

  9. Lovely roses…. cant wait for mine to bloom!

  10. We often get these in our house and they make quite a racket! Not sure how they get in, but I will put one out during the day, and that night BAM! Another one is in the house! Sneaking little devils.

    • Hi Sylvana – I’ve never had one in the house, apart from the one in the photo that hitched a ride in on the roses, and I think it was just as happy to be returned to the outdoors!

  11. I can tell you where all the ladybugs are — they are in all the corners of my house! They came inside at the start of winter and have just woken up. I hope they find their way outside and do their thing when the aphids arrive.

  12. Wow, Ladybugs hibernating in your house Pam?! I’ve never heard of that happening here! I wonder if it is because it doesn’t get that cold in our area. My daughter would be absolutely fascinated (as am I)!

  13. Now to find and introduce that creature which dines on Katydids! There is always a bigger mouth out there to gobble up some smaller one. Birds would be your best allies! Plant lots of shrubs and food for them and they will clean out your pests. Well many of them. Lovely blooms!

  14. Clever title! I’m certain Katy is guilty. Fantastic photos of this lady!

  15. Those pesky things seem to eat everything….and they’re so good at hiding 😛

  16. Reminds me of the damage done by Japanese beetles, or June bugs, as we call them here. If it gets really bad, you might consider a “trap crop” for Katy and her cousins, i.e. something you plant nearby that her species finds a delicacy, and that you don’t mind giving her free rein in, to save the rosebuds.

    Here the katydids make music for us at night. Do they do so there in Australia, I wonder? You might also consider the lost buds as giving the musician a bouquet in gratitude for the nightly concerts. 🙂

  17. I just looked up Japanese beetles and found a photo of hundreds of them all piled up together – I hope they don’t arrive in the garden in those numbers Meredith!
    Overall I think the katydid’s make a good meal out of the occasional bud, rather than having a little nibble out of a lot. So I’m not too worried and a meal for the musicians sound good to me 🙂 But I must get my ‘ear in’ for the song of the katydid as we have cicadas humming and crickets chirping too!

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