We hope that you had a weekend filled with bug-related activities! Even though National Insect Week is over, we’ve got one more post for you. Last week’s blog was heavy on insects and a bit light on vegetables, so we’ve combined the two! Here are a few insects that share their names with vegetables & fruit:
Adult cabbage root flies resemble house flies. The larvae are white, legless and headless maggots that feed on the roots and can kill seedling and recently transplanted brassicas. There are three generations of cabbage root fly during the summer but it is the first generation in late spring-early summer that is often the most damaging to crops and garden vegetables.
Adult cabbage root flies resemble house flies in size and appearance. Later generations are less damaging to cabbages and other leafy brassicas, as older plants have larger root systems and are better able to tolerate the damage. Host plants where the root is the edible part, such as radish, turnip and swede, are damaged by any of the generations.
When fully fed, the larvae go into a brown pupal stage in the soil, either emerging as adult flies a few weeks later or remaining in that state overwinter.
Lesser Pumpkin Fly
It is similar to a fruit fly but, as its name suggests, it parasitises members of the pumpkin family. Its larvae can be found living in the flesh of pumpkins, courgettes and squash.
Apple Maggot Fly
The adult form of this insect is about 5 mm long and is slightly smaller than a house fly, with a white dot on its thorax and a characteristic black banding shaped like an “F” on its wings. When threatened it turns its wings 90 degrees and moves them up and down whilst walking sideways; the combination mimics the appearance of it being a spider due to the wing pattern in the new position appearing as additional legs!
The apple maggot fly is native to North America.
Adult pea moths are plain grey/ brown in colour with small pale yellow markings on their sides. They are tent-shaped, have a 15mm wingspan and long antennae. Larvae are small yellow/ white, dark headed caterpillars up to 6mm long.
Caterpillars wander the host plant for a day before entering a developing seed pod in which they feed for up to a month. Caterpillars emerge from the pods by eating their way out and over-winter in the soil as pupae in silken cocoons. You may find some of these in your garden if you grow vegetables as they’re native to the UK.