Future Pest Control
I had a little macro safari around our weeping willow today. I was hoping to find some lady beetle (ladybird) larva and - bingo - I found several little clusters. Not sure if these are a native species or the introduced Asian species, but either way, they will help control the aphid population when they are older. In the meantime, they are dining on the willow leaves, as you can see from the tiny lacy chew-pattern.
Some insect larva, like these, stay in a tight little group, moving around the plant as they eat and grow. Eventually, when they are larger, they will separate, which probably helps to ensure that at least some survive. It's an interesting behavior to observe.
For context, that is my thumb. These things are unbelievably tiny and just look like a bunch of tiny black spots unless you can view them under magnification. I also found an egg cluster - I'll put that in extra. You can see that the eggs are oval shaped and a lovely shade of yellow.
Funny note...the other day, my SIL was asking me what I do about bugs eating my plants (something is after one of her exotic tropicals). I laughed and told her that when I find evidence that something's eating my plants, it makes me very happy. Usually the "eater" turns out to be something interesting and beneficial.
Just talked to Mom and Dad and they are going to be here over the weekend - yay! I can't wait to spend time with them.