Friend or Foe?

We had great hopes for our cherry harvest this year. There were lots of cherries on the tree in May and the tree looked healthy and

Until it didn't. First we noticed some of the leaves curling and darkening; then the fruit was dying on the vine. Laurie thought we had some kind of cherry mite. It looked like we wouldn't get any fruit at all.

Last week I noticed some really evil looking bugs on the leaves - and lots of them. We were prepared to have a smashing party (we won't use insecticides in our yard) - but we decided to take samples of the bugs to our favorite local garden shop, Portland Nursery, first. I'm so glad we did before we resorted to extermination!

This is what we were looking at. I was particularly freaked out by the one on the upper left (better photo below, courtesy of What's That Bug?). It turns out these are all ladybugs in various stages of life! I would never have guessed that! The experts told us that at these larval stages, they're actually eating more of the bad bugs than they do at the mature stage.

We have a terrible aphid infestation on the cherry and plum trees, so the ladybugs are having quite a feast. Unfortunately, we probably won't have any fruit this year.

Would you trust this bad boy with your fruit trees?

The good news is, the aphids are leaving the cabbages and artichokes alone this year.


Dewey said...

I wonder if the person you talked to about the bugs was a tree specialist, because we had a similar thing happen with our cherry tree, and it turned out that the tree was sick in some way, and emitting some sticky sap that the bugs loved. I don't remember what the bugs were, but I do remember ladybugs coming to eat them, so it might have been aphids. I don't remember what we did, but I do know we also wouldn't have used pesticide, and I know the tree got better.

Andi said...

Awww, good luck to your tree! Sending out the anti-bad-bug mojo.