Help with several bug identifications?

kissingfrogs2003August 14, 2011

Found these guys in my container garden. Hoping the more experienced gardeners might be able to help me out :)

This guy was in my baby corn plants:

This beautiful insect was in my basil:

This odd fellow was also in my basil but I have seen others in my strawberries and corn:

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Your first insect is a grasshopper of some sort, and is not on your side. They will chew holes in your plant leaves.
Final verdict: Waste it.

The second, multi-colored insect is a type of cicada. Contrary to popular belief, these guys are NOT your friends either. The adults' diet consists of plant saps, which they get from trees, shrubs, and of course, our gardens. The females will cause damage to all sorts of plants by shoving her egg depositor deep into branches and stems. The nymphs then crawl into the ground, where they latch onto plant roots and start sucking sap.
Final verdict: Deep six it.

Your last little fella looks to be a juvenile bombardier beetle. I'm not 100% sure, but it's the closest I can think of. It is a type of ground beetle, and is a predator of other insects and larvae.
Final verdict: Keep it!


    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hey, kissing....I was sent over here by a friend to see your great images. You can usually find me in the Pests and Diseases Forum.

The top one appears to be a kaydid nymph; not usually considered too much of a pest though they do munch on plants. I don't usually do anything when I see a katydid.

The second one is one of the sharpshooters. That would be a type of leaf hopper. Unlike adult Cicadas, which cause very little problem for our plants by feeding, sharpshooters and leaf hoppers significantly weaken plants if in large enough numbers. They are most infamous, however, for being vectors of a variety of plant diseases. Leaf hoppers are related to Cicadas, but they are also kin to aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects! They don't live in the ground for part of their life cycle, however. I agree that it's beautiful...some of the prettiest insects on the planet are leaf hoppers of some kind, I think.

Don't know what the beetle might be. He's not a bombardier beetle, though. Whatever it is, it's not a juvenile (nymph). The juveniles of all beetles are some sort of grub or other odd looking creature that do not remotely resemble what they'll turn out to be after they pupate into their adult form. (Think about ladybugs and their youngsters, for example.)

Anyway, if I could see another picture or two of the beetle, I might be able to narrow it down. Of most interest to me are the details of the antennae as well as the elytra (wing coverings-the 'shell'). If you are able to get more images of the beetle, consider posting them in the Pests and Diseases Forum (aka Plant Clinic Forum). There are quite a few people over there who love a good 'bug search'.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 12:32PM
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Yep, I have to agree, katydid (grasshopper, close enough), and a leaf hopper. I misjudged the size of the leafhopper, thinking it was larger. It's an Oncometopia orbona, a sharpshooter, just like Dorie said. That last little beetle is a stumper. It likes like it could also be a flower beetle, but the red head says no. You gotta dandy there. I guess I missed on these, so I'll leave it up to the experts.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Whatever they are, unless you see a lot of them, there's probably no need to be concerned. Most pests require more than a few individuals to cause significant damage to a garden. Also, if 'bad guys' show up, 'good guys' usually arrive to even the score (unless you have a large monoculture.)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:13PM
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for those that were curious, another forum helped provide the following info as well....

"The odd fellow in your basil is a Handsome Trig, Phyllopalpus pulchellus. They are singing constantly around my garden these days. They have this interesting way of amplifying their sound by calling from a group of leaves that are shaped/positioned like a megaphone.
The insect in your baby corn is one of the meadow katydids, although I'm not sure which one. People also call these long-horned grasshoppers because of their extremely long antennae. True grasshoppers have short antennae.";

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:53PM
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Wow, I never noticed the big legs on that red & black bug. It looked like a beetle, so it's no wonder I was drawing a blank. Now that I know its a cricket, I totally see it. At least someone else said a little something about a grasshopper :)


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:56PM
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