Posts Tagged: thrips
The result was a good one: more damselflies.
Damselflies lay their eggs in water, whether it be a pond, underwater vegetation, or in water-filled cavities in trees. If they lay their eggs in a fish pond, fish feast on the eggs and larvae.
But not this year, not in our pond. One egret. No fish. And now damselflies are no longer in distress.
On any given day, 20 to 25 damselflies flit around our bee garden, searching for food as they land on the stems of the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia), catmint (Nepata), and oregano (Origanum).
They also search for mates and occasionally collide with a bee or butterfly.
Most of the damselflies we see carry the parasitic water mites (Hydracarina), which look like red caviar.
Damselfles and dragonflies belong to the same order, Odonata. Damselflies, however, are typically much smaller than their dragonfly cousins. Wikipedia tells us that damselflies, suborder Zygoptera, can be distinguished from dragonflies "by the fact that the wings of most damselflies are held along, and parallel to, the body when at rest. Furthermore, the hindwing of the damselfly is essentially similar to the forewing, while the hindwing of the dragonfly broadens near the base.
We've never seen a damselfly eat anything or anything eat the damselfly, although our resident praying mantis seemed quite interested--or perturbed--when a damselfly bumped into him.
Damselfly with water mites (see egglike mass). The insect next to it is probably thrips, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Damselfly resting in the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A blue damsefly brightens the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
They're under attack by entomologist Diane Ullman of UC Davis and her team of eight other investigators.
Ullman just received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses.
Yes, you've seen thrips or the damage they've caused. Probably on your tomato or red pepper plants, for example. They pierce a wide variety of agricultural crops, ranging from tomatoes and grapes to strawberries and soybeans. They're direct pests. And they transmit plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus.
She's been researching thrips and tospoviruses since 1987.
Ullman and co-principal investigator John Sherwood, head of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., will alternate years as program directors. Sherwood, a past president of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), is a former program leader of the Plant Biosecurity Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services (CSREES) and the USDA program leader for the joint Microbial Observatories Program with the National Science Foundation.
Read more about the grant on the UC Davis Department of Entomology website and who's involved.
This is massive nationwide effort against pests that cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops. Let the grant begin!
Western flower thrips. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, courtesy of entomologist Diane Ullman)