The webworms are making themselves at home in my food forest right now:
They really aren’t that big of a pest, though. Yes, the bagworms/webworms will strip off some leaves now and again, plus they look creepy, but they really don’t seem to do much long-term damage.
Fortunately, along with the “bad guys”, various beneficial insects are back in flight and bringing some caterpillar control to the food forest.
This paper wasp, for instance, looks serene as she sips nectar from a milkweed blossom – but don’t be fooled! She’s also a ruthless hunter of insects.
Another creature that’s rapidly returning to pre-frost populations is the noble spider, thanks to the egg sacs that have been hatching in our yard.
Check this out:
Did I ever tell you guys I originally wanted a career as an entomologist when I was a kid?
I was reminded of that face a week or so ago when I was contacted by a very sharp entomologist at UF. He wanted to talk with me about a potential chaya pest that may be making its way across Florida and I was glad to oblige.
Every time I talk with scientists I start to think about my missed opportunities…
…I mean, right now I could be examining pill bugs in formaldehyde, applying for government grants to study cogongrass or pinning brown recluses to foam boards with tiny specimen numbers.
Yet here I am writing a gardening blog and hanging out with some of the greatest readers an author could ever have.
What a drag!
So . . . what do you know about a potential chaya pest spreading across Florida?
My chaya cuttings and I, and I’m sure other enquiring minds, want to know!
Apparently there’s a whitefly using it as a host plant. If you see any on your chaya, let me know and I’ll send details to the University.