Friday, February 9, 2007

Hippeastrum and Fungus Gnats

I enjoy studying insects and their role in the synergy of a garden. I do not believe in chemical insecticide because there are many beneficial insects that are killed along with the pest insect you have sprayed. Call me weird, but because of this interest in garden insects, I try to photograph them whenever possible. Take a look at my posts from this summer titled
"Garden Insects: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"
"Tomato Hornworm or Space Alien" to see what I mean.

Well, below is one more insect picture for you: A Fungus Gnat.

What, you don't see it? It is right there at the base of our Hippeastrum. Here's a closer look!

Closer still:

You might think this picture is gross or weird, but it was very difficult to take. A Fungus Gnat is only 2-3mm in length - very small! The adult females (pictured above) lay eggs in the soil and the larvae feed on fungus in the moist soil. We only have a few gnats with this Hippeastrum and they are really not a bother. Sometimes Fungus Gnats are a nuisance indoors, but outside they help in organic decomposition.

We have enjoyed this Hippeastrum for its big colorful flowers since it is colorless outside. (we have 6 inches of snow on the ground right now). Here are a couple more pictures of the blooms:

This one is still my favorite:

Maybe I should have been an entomologist!



"Gross or weird"? No way. Who doesn't love pictures of bugs?

Nice shots. I take a lot of closeups with a macro lens and it's definitely not easy.

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