Growing Pains: Red Bug in semp bed

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Growing Pains

By valleylynn
January 1, 2010

A plant clinic for Sempervivum, Jovibarba and J. heuffelii. This is a companion article for the Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum.

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2010 1:39 PM CST
Dr. Houseleeks, I found several of these very tiny red bugs running around the semp bed. I don't seem to find them on the semps, just running around on the ground. Can you tell me what they are?
Thumb of 2010-07-29/valleylynn/d7b0f3 Thumb of 2010-07-29/valleylynn/09ffa7
Just hope they are semp eaters. I am finding now damage to any of the plants.

Thank you Kin for identifying the nymph, it is a Boxelder nymph. It won't eat my semsp.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 29, 2010 4:37 PM CST
I assume you meant to hope they are not semp eaters.

Well, sorry to disappoint you but these look like weevils to me. There are a lot of bugs that can dine on semps, but usually they do not do a great deal of damage and can be tolerable. I am not an expert on semp insect problems. However, I do know that some species of weevils will lay eggs around the base of the plant, which hatch into maggots. The maggots can eat the roots of the semp but typically will be found near the ground level munching on the tender leaves there.

Here's a pic of some root maggots that I found infesting one of my semps this spring. It was a single plant and I never did see the weevils. From what I've read, Thumb of 2010-07-29/twitcher/079840
infestation is typically opportunistic and will generally not do a lot of damage. However, in this case, I lost the plant because the maggots had done too much damage before I spotted them,

Always watch your plants daily for signs of poor health. If you see a rapid decline in health of a plant, then dig it up and give it a close examination. Maggots move and are generally easy to spot.

How to treat infected plants:

1) Dig, wash, (examine) and dry.
2) Spray with appropriate insecticide if found and be sure to discard soil and wash water in a way that won't spread infection.
3) Remove dead and dying leaves from plant stalk.
4) Wash and spray a second time a day later.
5) Examine carefully and if found pest free, plant in new soil and isolate.
6) Keep the plant quarantined until you are comfortable it is clean of problems.

Our gardens are always full of many different kinds of bugs, that usually do not cause any problems until the plants get stressed. The best defense is usually to grow the healthiest plants possible. This has definitely been a stressful year for many due to the weather, so it is not unreasonable to expect to see some problems. Seeing a few weevils is not a time to panic and probably doesn't mean anything. However if the plants start to show signs of problems, then action is needed.

If you do have a problem with insects damaging your plants, then you can spray them with the insecticide of your choice. I have not heard of any particular sensitivity issues with semps and jovis.. Always test on a few first, when working with any new chemical or pesticide, just to be sure. I have used Sevin, Insecticidal Soap, Neem and pyrethrins and not seen any problems with the plants not tolerating the application.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 29, 2010 5:35 PM CST
I think they might be Apion miniatum. I will get a better picture of what I have here. If it is the Apion, I might have trouble. This is the first time I have seen these little red bugs here.
Name: Kin
Willamette Valley, OR.
Zone 8a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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floraSeeker_OR
Jul 29, 2010 7:47 PM CST
Hi Lynn
To me it looks like a Boxelder nymph, well at least the first picture does.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Jul 29, 2010 8:26 PM CST
I have those here, Boxelder bugs. Hurray! Yay, it Boxelder nymphs. Hurray! They have never bothered anything here, just a pest.
Oh boy, I just went and looked it up on google. Thank you so much Kin, I can live with the boxelder bug. Big Grin
I found one of the nymphs when they are still all red and very small. There is one that is an exact match. It is with a cluster of eggs. Yippeee!!!. It's boxelder bugs. Group hug

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Jul 30, 2010 12:55 AM CST
Spraying your semps with insecticidal soap should help control any damage on those plants. Be sure to test on a few plants first for a few days.

For what it's worth, the adults are pretty for a bug. I saw an outbreak of adults here about 4 years back at a building with no box elders in the close area but have never seen any nymphs.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Jul 30, 2010 5:14 AM CST
Whew, thats a relief Lynn. We don't have any boxelder trees near our house, but every fall we get hundreds of the little monsters. They show up with the Asian beetles.
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Kin
Willamette Valley, OR.
Zone 8a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Image
floraSeeker_OR
Jul 30, 2010 5:31 AM CST
Glad to be of some help with the ID.
Sounds like it made your evening Hilarious!
Have a Fantastic time with your Family Big Grin

Thanks for the instruction on treatment, Twitch. Thumbs up

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Jul 30, 2010 10:12 AM CST
Thank you Dr. Houseleeks, and Kin. I am so relieved to know I don't have weevils, and also how to treat my semps if a bug problem does show up.

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