Monday, September 02, 2013

Beautiful pests, beautiful pest control specialists

A couple of days ago, I noticed a few leafhoppers on one of the rhododendrons. I went out to look for them this afternoon, and there's been a population explosion; they're on all the rhodos now, hopping away merrily.

Rhododendron leafhopper, Graphocephala fennahi, a little under 1 cm. long.

These insects feed exclusively on the sap of rhododendrons. They may carry rhodo fungus disease, and may cause the shrub to drop its leaves, as well. But they're so pretty! I can't force myself to kill them, as a pest.

No matter; the eight-legged exterminators are on the job:

Happy cross spider, with leafhopper wrap.

The spiders are on every rhododendron, and on the evergreens around them. I checked about a dozen  webs this afternoon; the spiders are fat, and about half of them had a leafhopper in hand at the moment.

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4 comments:

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Bugs are exploding this year. Last year, in the drought, they were scarce!

Cicero Sings said...

Those leaf hoppers ARE pretty.

Susannah Anderson said...

Jennifer, we had very few bugs over the summer; too dry, I guess. Now that it has started to rain off and on, they're everywhere.

Eileen, yes, they are. It's too bad that they damage the rhodos; the leaves turn yellow and drop off. I've been raking them up.

Judy said...

Both of them are so pretty, though...