Small Surprises In The Vineyard

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Gary Schulte
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Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#1 Post by Gary Schulte » July 31st, 2020, 6:54 pm

Just thought I would share something a bit unusual I noticed in the vineyard today. While working in a section of the young chenin blanc block I noticed something unusual on one of the top catch wires. One thing looked familiar to me as insect disc eggs from something similar, but smaller, than the polyphemus moth eggs we saw last year in the chardonnay block. The other looked like symmetrically laid out metal filings on the 12.5 gauge wire. Turns out on closer inspection it's another set of eggs. Both egg masses are within a few centimeters of each other. Have not had much time to figure out what each is but it's the spikey one that gets me. I have a feeling one is of a predator(spikey) that will hatch slightly earlier than the disc eggs and wait for the larvae to emerge from the discs to be eaten. I'll do a bit a more detective work but we have seen many instances of this in the vineyard where in many cases the good bugs will help take care of the bad bugs. Here's the photos.
Two sets of insect eggs 1.jpg
Two sets of insect eggs 2.jpg

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#2 Post by Gary Schulte » August 1st, 2020, 3:34 am

Well my better half figured it out. Turns out both of these objects come from one insect......the owlfly. The owlfly adult looks like a small dragonfly but is in the same order with other 'net-winged' insects like antlions, lacewings, and others. They are good guys and eat other insects. What you see in the photos are fertile eggs that lead to owlfly larvae(discs) and infertile eggs called trophic eggs(spikes) that serve as food when the discs hatch to the first instar larvae. If the food was not there the instars would feed on the other fertile eggs or emerging young larvae. There is some thought that the trophic eggs might also be a barrier to ants as these eggs are normally laid high on a stem with the spikes on the "downside". Smart parent. The larvae of the owlfly are very alien looking.....see below.
Owlfly Early Instar.jpg

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#3 Post by leslie renaud » August 6th, 2020, 11:48 am

That's amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#4 Post by Gary Schulte » August 6th, 2020, 2:01 pm

Leslie - Every year we find a lot of interesting insects and their eggs since we do not nuke the vineyard of insects. The other fun fact for the trophic eggs is that they have some type of ant repellant in them and are deposited like a whirling fence line. Last year we found some polyphemus moth(large silk moth) eggs in the chardonnay. That would be bad for the chardonnay as the hatched egg larvae eat a lot of greenery. My better half brought them home on a chardonnay shoot.....After much discussion on what to do with them she found a caretaker in the local nature center that would use them in their kids education program. Win win situation. All good fun to learn about what shows up in the vineyard. There's good guys and bad guys and they for the most part settle their scores on their own or with help from the bird population.

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#5 Post by Wes Barton » August 6th, 2020, 5:41 pm

Gary Schulte wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 2:01 pm
Leslie - Every year we find a lot of interesting insects and their eggs since we do not nuke the vineyard of insects. The other fun fact for the trophic eggs is that they have some type of ant repellant in them and are deposited like a whirling fence line. Last year we found some polyphemus moth(large silk moth) eggs in the chardonnay. That would be bad for the chardonnay as the hatched egg larvae eat a lot of greenery. My better half brought them home on a chardonnay shoot.....After much discussion on what to do with them she found a caretaker in the local nature center that would use them in their kids education program. Win win situation. All good fun to learn about what shows up in the vineyard. There's good guys and bad guys and they for the most part settle their scores on their own or with help from the bird population.
That reminds me of an old Tomatoville.com discussion about tomato hornworms. They can do a lot of damage, but you can just move them. (I see one every several years.) A couple people requested "If you see one, don't kill it, ship it to me." Classroom/terrarium use were suggested. Then... one woman posted a series of pics. Her young daughter had adopted one as a pet and took it everywhere. The pics were fun and creative, out on the swing set together, out for a walk with the worm riding in a wagon, etc.
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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#6 Post by Gary Schulte » August 7th, 2020, 6:22 am

Your story Wes has me laughing. We do find the green and red species of the hornworm occasionally on our vines and they do eat a massive amount of foliage. If they are parasitized and on a larger plant we let it be. If on smaller younger plants we move them along to another location.

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#7 Post by Wes Barton » August 7th, 2020, 4:57 pm

Found it, but most of the photos are unavailable. It was way back in 2006. http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.p ... php?t=1593
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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#8 Post by Merrill Lindquist » August 7th, 2020, 5:05 pm

You guys are a lot more tolerant of those big tomato caterpillars than I am....
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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#9 Post by Gary Schulte » August 7th, 2020, 5:15 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 4:57 pm
Found it, but most of the photos are unavailable. It was way back in 2006. http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.p ... php?t=1593
Wonder what it felt like for the hornworm to drop down the slide?

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#10 Post by alan weinberg » August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 5:05 pm
You guys are a lot more tolerant of those big tomato caterpillars than I am....
the one time I grew tomatoes, these guys ate more than I did. There were so many it was ridiculous. They are, I believe, a tobacco larva that also loves tomatoes. Now I buy tomatoes.

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#11 Post by Merrill Lindquist » August 9th, 2020, 12:42 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 5:05 pm
You guys are a lot more tolerant of those big tomato caterpillars than I am....
the one time I grew tomatoes, these guys ate more than I did. There were so many it was ridiculous. They are, I believe, a tobacco larva that also loves tomatoes. Now I buy tomatoes.
Have not seen one this year. I look every day. They can chew a lot very quickly
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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#12 Post by Wes Barton » August 9th, 2020, 4:00 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 5:05 pm
You guys are a lot more tolerant of those big tomato caterpillars than I am....
the one time I grew tomatoes, these guys ate more than I did. There were so many it was ridiculous. They are, I believe, a tobacco larva that also loves tomatoes. Now I buy tomatoes.
Well, there are two similar species - tomato hornworm and tobacco hornworm. They both eat both of those plants and others. It sure is amazing how much damage one can do in a day, but they're easy to find and move. I've just moved them to my vitis californica 20 feet away and they didn't go back to the toms or do noticeable damage to the vines. People don't want them killed because they're important specialized pollinators of some native flowers in their moth stage. One of my cats caught a moth. Huge thing, 5 inch wingspan.
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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#13 Post by alan weinberg » August 9th, 2020, 6:19 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:42 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 5:05 pm
You guys are a lot more tolerant of those big tomato caterpillars than I am....
the one time I grew tomatoes, these guys ate more than I did. There were so many it was ridiculous. They are, I believe, a tobacco larva that also loves tomatoes. Now I buy tomatoes.
Have not seen one this year. I look every day. They can chew a lot very quickly
If you put some white paper on the ground the worms poop like small poppy seeds and you will see it on the paper.

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#14 Post by Merrill Lindquist » August 9th, 2020, 6:30 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 6:19 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:42 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:38 pm
the one time I grew tomatoes, these guys ate more than I did. There were so many it was ridiculous. They are, I believe, a tobacco larva that also loves tomatoes. Now I buy tomatoes.
Have not seen one this year. I look every day. They can chew a lot very quickly
If you put some white paper on the ground the worms poop like small poppy seeds and you will see it on the paper.
Believe me, I know how to find them. And what to do with them.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

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Re: Small Surprises In The Vineyard

#15 Post by alan weinberg » August 9th, 2020, 7:00 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 6:30 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 6:19 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:42 pm
Have not seen one this year. I look every day. They can chew a lot very quickly
If you put some white paper on the ground the worms poop like small poppy seeds and you will see it on the paper.
Believe me, I know how to find them. And what to do with them.
I have trouble seeing them till they move.

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