Mention of agriculture brings visions of lush green fields, happy cows and leisure lifestyle but it is far from that. Bugs are one of the numerous factors spoiling our fantasy.
If we weren't selfish, we would find Bugs fascinating, well-adapted and civil. From countless bugs that call our farm a home, let me introduce you all to the famous five in this writing.
First up, meet Aphids.
Aphids are sap-sucking insects attaching themselves to young shoots hindering the plant growth. I thought Ants that usually accompany Aphids are there to feast on them but later learnt that they are actually protecting them. Aphids secrete honeydew that attracts Ant which guard them from other predators. Humans are not the only dairy farmers you see.
Cowpeas & Black gram plant seemed to be Aphid magnets, leading me to believe they are host plant specific.
Next up, Thrips.
Thrips show up their existence by the curled leaves caused by galls, sac-like bore created by them when they injecting saliva into the cell that break down the food outside. This semi-digested food is then sucked up by Thrips. As commonly found amongst insects, they reproduce asexually making them very successful colonizers. Gently tapping a curled leaf on a white paper will knock the Thrips off and they can be seen running around. Thrips destroyed our Green Chilies crop a few months back.
Next up are super tiny bugs that live under the leaf surface called Plant Mites.
You can spot Mites from the damage created by them, and they leave patches of coloration on the leaves. When you turn that around you will notice tiny dots which are mites. We usually need a magnifying glass to see mites. Simple water spray can get rid of these temperate bugs.
Thrips and Mites struck us by surprise during our Watermelon crops and taught us some basics on pest control in organic farming.
Next is Blister Beetle,
Beetles are generally friendly bugs, but even friends have to eat! Blister beetles feast on the flowers & buds and reduce the fruit baring ability of the plant. In the larva stage they feast on other insect eggs controlling the population of other bugs.
Last of the famous five are Root grubs,
These are larva of not so friendly beetles found under ground. During the larva stage, these bugs eat away the roots of the plants. We got these in the farm yard manure and they destroyed a portion of our Tomato crop.
Bugs are a marvel of nature, they are designed to survive the odds and out live us. Some of these bugs have developed resistance to our weapons of war, and are having the last laugh on warmongers.