Big Find in the Bug world at Giltner Tree Farm
by George Giltner, LA Master Gardeners & Tree Farmer
On this rainy day, Microscopy was in order, and a big discovery was made here at the Treefarm. A ten flower sampling of Tickweed Sunflowers (the yellow flowers similar to Swamp Sunflowers) revealed that they were occupied with Minute Pirate Bugs (Orius insidiosus). OK, the big deal is that on the micro level these predators are indicated to be in heavy levels to control two spotted spider mites, European Red mites, most aphids, thrips, white flies, European corn borers, and even small caterpillars.
To the average farm this is good info. Don’t mow all of those pretty yellow flowers that are blooming everywhere now. They are loaded with beneficial wasps, bees, and micro pirate bugs, that all consume pests.
George Giltner wears several hats. He is a Tree Farmer and manages his trees sustainably. He is also a Louisiana Master Gardeners and a self-taught entomologist.