I’m lucky to live in an area where Dainty Swallowtail butterflies occur. The larvae of these native butterflies have adapted to feed on cultivated citrus (such as lime and lemon) as well as native plants of the family Rutaceae.
So what do you do when big caterpillars are chewing chunks off your citrus leaves? Not a lot!
There is a line in my book Garden Pests, Diseases & Good Bugs which says: A citrus tree with a few chewed leaves is a small price to pay for the pleasure of observing beautiful swallowtails in the garden.
I hope you enjoy the video.
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There I was testing out some video equipment in the garden and later realised that I had enough footage to edit into a video story. The story teller has put himself in the video as well!
In this video I talk about controlling/suppressing tomato russet mite (Aculops lycopersici) so that the last of my tomatoes can ripen.
Tomato russet mite is a widespread, microscopic but serious sap-sucking pest of tomato plants particularly during hot weather. The pest may enter your garden on hot winds. Adult mites are minute (about 0. 2mm long), torpedo-shaped and white to yellowish in colour. Nymphs are similar in shape, white and smaller.
Tomato russet mites usually feed on the underside of leaves. The first symptoms are usually seen on the lower leaves and progressively move up the plant. Leaves initially turn a silvery colour, but later turn bronze, curl downwards and become dry. Stems and leaf stalks become smooth and brownish.
Tomato russet mites breed extremely quickly and can complete their life cycle in less than a week during hot weather. Each female lays about 50 eggs, which combined with their rapid life cycle means numbers of mites increase very rapidly. The mites can be controlled with sprays of insecticidal soap, lime sulphur, or wettable sulphur.
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Sooty mould is not a plant disease as such but various species of fungi, which grow on the sticky honeydew excreted by many species of sap-sucking insects. A very thick mould layer on leaves may cause a reduction in photosynthesis in plants, which can result in leaves falling prematurely. The main concern to gardeners (apart from the sap-sucking pests which caused it) is that a thick covering of sooty mould on a plant’s leaves is downright ugly.
Sooty mould is a serious problem for the horticultural industry. Ugly plants are unsaleable. Similarly in the citrus industry, the main economic damage caused by mealybugs is by the downgrading of fruit quality due to sooty mould growing on mealybug honeydew. The picture below shows a leaf infested by soft scale insects and the sooty mould they cause – pretty ugly eh?