Spotlight on… Insects! With Izzy the Inspector
Insects are everywhere! No doubt you’ll have seen them in your home and garden. While most are helpful, some insects can travel into the country in fresh food, timber or packaging. Some of these insects can cause damage to our plants. Young insects (larvae) are very small and we might not see them, but we can see the damage they cause. It’s often the larvae of insects that cause the most damage!
True bugs have mouths that act like a sharp straw which they use to pierce into plants or fruit to suck up juices. They feed on many different plants so if a plant is infected with a disease they can spread that disease to other plants. Plants attacked by true bugs often have a faded area where the juices have been sucked out.
Fruit flies are really good at finding fruit! The flies don’t feed on the fruit, but lay their eggs inside. Fly larvae are called maggots and they tunnel into fruit and feed on the inside. They leave behind small holes and bruises on the outside of the fruit.
This Colorado potato beetle loves to feed on potato leaves. The beetle larvae have very strong scissor-like mouths that cut away large pieces of the leaf to eat, leaving big holes behind. There are lots of different types of beetle with some feeding on roots while others feed on plant stems or fruits.
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies. Like beetle larvae, they have strong mouths to cut up plants to eat. Some like to tunnel inside fruit and vegetables to feed. Caterpillars are eating machines and if there are enough of them on a plant, they can eat all of the leaves!