Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Year of the Pests...

First it was the ants. Then it was more ants. And then more ants. After about 10 cans of Terro Outdoor Ant Killer Spray, they've stopped coming into the house. And, I just topped off the Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait in 4 KM Ant Pro Units, I finally seem to be winning the battle against insects.

Or so I thought.

Yesterday, as I was brushing past the hibiscus plants, dragging out the garbage totes, I notice a small cloud of whiteflies. Looking closer, I also noticed what look like tufts of white threads coming out of some leaves, and others with spiral white designs on the bottom side. Seems like I have 1 or 2 infestations of whiteflies:

Common Greenhouse Whitefly (common because they don't do anything special)

and the Spiraling Whitefly -

that lays it's eggs in white spirals, generally on the undersides of leaves.

Of course, the wooly whitefly lays eggs in a spiral, but the eggs are brown, which doesn't match what I have, and my leaves have more "white hair" than "white wool", like this

. And then there's the leaves w/ white flys and white fly eggs below, that don't have wool or spirals.

Still reading?

Now - should I go w/ the general pest predator, the infamous Lady Bug? Or the ravenous Green Lacewing? Or maybe the Whitefly specific predator, Encarsia Formosa? Or maybe the new Delphastus (Scary thing is that I knew 3 of these 4 "beneficial insects" already!). Since to get 1 or 2 of them, I'd have to pay for FedEx shipping anyway, why not get the lot?

Why not spray, you ask? I have. I can probably knock the population down by ~80% by spraying. But, they like to live on the undersides of leaves, and they like to fly, so unless I can buy gallons of insecticide, and use my pressure sprayer to enable me to get under the leaves, it'll never get them all. I'll use the stronger pesticide on the infestation to knock it down, mix up a gallon or two of Safer Insect Killing Soap, which is much less harmful, to cull out many of the rest, and then go predator on the rest, to keep things in check.

But, it all boils down to have I killed enough ants so that I can now control the whiteflies, or while I'm distracted by the whiteflies on the hibiscus, they'll just start farming some sucking insect someplace else?

Annoying thing is, I'm pretty sure the whitefly problem stems back to the ant problem. Argentine ants farm insects that produce "honeydew" (sweet excretion from sucking insects, such as Aphids, Whitefly, Scale, Leafhoppers, plant lice, etc). I don't know if the ants "planted" these whiteflies themselves, or if they just kept the natural predator population down, and that's what allowed the whiteflies to take off on this one plant.

I think I'm already doomed - I just realized that the ants have had me distracted for 2 days now, and I'll soon discover their nefarious plan is already underway.

Good thing they're just sweet loving ants, and don't want anything important, like my beer

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Nava said...

Judging by the picture, the Encarsia Formosa wasp dude, though tiny and utterly unseen, have purple wings.
And thus, for that profound scientific and purely reasonable reason, I vote for them!!!

CherkyB said...

And maybe post some pictures of what you had for dinner, too.

CherkyB said...

I dunno. I see The JohnnyB trolling around and leaving comments on other blogs, but his own blog is completely neglected. That's can't be good for ad revenue.

75286 Termites said...

It is a must to find pest repellents to stop them from attacking us.

seo leads said...

pests make me crazy.

start a web design company said...

Call a pest management service.