Good Bugs

The kids and I have been seeing these guys around since we moved in, but I was having trouble tracking down exactly what they are. After numerous yellow jacket stings on the farm, and a huge bald-faced hornets nest discovered/removed, we’re a little wary of flying creatures wielding stingers…

Turns out they’re not aggressive and are actually highly beneficial. The Digger Wasp flies low to the ground {we see them in greater numbers when the sky is overcast…?} and hunts for white grubs buried in the soil. The female Digger Wasp lays an egg inside the grub, and when it hatches, the new baby wasp eats the grub, reducing the numbers of Japanese Beetles. They also like nectar so they’re a native pollinator!

When not hunting white grubs, Scolia dubia is often found nectaring on flowers during August. Photo credit: Joann Pettinicchio

When not hunting white grubs, Scolia dubia is often found nectaring on flowers during August. Photo credit: Joann Pettinicchio

Bad Bugs

GROSS ALERT: I was in the front yard, chatting on the phone, picked a raspberry and was about to toss it into my mouth when I noticed a small spider on my finger. I shooed the spider and was again about to eat the berry when I saw three small bugs {fruit fly-size} on the berry. In my effort to remove the bugs I mooshed the berry a little bit and inside I found tiny little wormies. I freaked out a little, hung up the phone, and googled it. Spotted Wing Drosophila. The article linked with the photo below says they’re a problem “after late-July,” so I’m pretty sure we’ve eaten them since we moved in. I’m shuddering again thinking about it. My only question now is: what should I do with the remaining canes/berries as we prepare for next year? Will the nasty buggers be stopped now that frost is on the way?

I’ll let you know what I find out.

Spotted Wing Drosophila larvae in ripe raspberries

Spotted Wing Drosophila larvae in ripe raspberries