Weird Insects - Knowledgebase Question

New Paltz, NY
Question by markise
July 6, 1998
What insect would cut out small pieces of a leaf (from a lettuce/greens mix), make an incision in another part of the leaf and insert the small piece into it? (And WHY???)


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Answer from NGA
July 6, 1998

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Sounds pretty peculiar! There are two possibilities - leafcutting bees (who normally take pieces of leaves back to their nests) and thatching ants who generally take dead plant parts, but might be exceptionally hungry and have decided to try out your lettuce. If an insect is intentionally cutting pieces of leaf from your plants it's possible that some fragments might be left as they harvest the gourmet greens, and that's why you'll find little pieces in other leaves. Insects aren't as neat and tidy as we'd like them to be. Try to observe your plants at different times of the day to see if you can discover which critter is visiting your lettuce patch.

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