We are in the second week of autumn, the mornings have an edge of change and days are appreciatively shorter. No rain though and the garden is looking very sad. Most of the summer veg are over and the beds lie empty under their straw blankets. Comparatively lush compared to the surrounding bush, we have become a magnet for creatures looking for food and water.
A plague of rats and mice, ants and fleas has been followed by grasshoppers of all shapes and sizes and twenty eight spot ladybirds (henosepilachna spp.) One eating the snow peas (optimistically planted under shade), the other shredding the leaves of the eggplants.
A deadly night shade had been acting as my trap plant for the ladybirds. It had got to the stage where it was almost lace. When I went to pull it out I discovered a bug I had never seen before. Very sinister, looking like a cross between a giant mealy bug and a bright yellow slater. I waded through page after page of nightmares trying to identify it. Creatures that could eat, saw, cut nibble and suck the very life from your garden and only be controlled by toxic chemicals.
After some careful reading, I came across the answer...these little devils were the larval stage of the pesky 28 spot lady birds. Clustered on the base of the stem, they were biding their time to begin to head leaf ward as ladybirds. Another little mystery solved and another little snack for the chickens.
See more about natural pest control here.