My mystery bugs - how to get rid of them?!

Forgive me if this discussion has already been addressed - I'm not too sure how to search on ooooby yet.  A few different bug questions here - I hope someone can help!

I have a small thornless blackberry bush (about 20cm high) and I've just noticed a few of the bottom leaves have lots of small holes in them.  I had a hunt to see if I could find any culprits and all I found was one of those little 'fluffy bum' hopper bugs (not sure what their real name is but I remember them on our passion fruit vine as a kid - passion fruit hoppers maybe?).  Also lots of midges flying around but not sure if that is related to this problem or not.

Would that little thing be the culprit and does anyone know how I can protect my plants from them?

I also noticed lots of holes appearing on my new brassica seedlings (don't think I'll bother growing them in summer next year!).  Went for a hunt on them as well and only found one tiny caterpillar (now deceased) so don't think the white butterfly is the culprit there.  But I also found patches of what looked like grey ash - much smaller than aphids but it did look a little like what an aphid infestation looks like. Nothing moving so I'm assuming they're some kind of egg colony?  Any ideas would be happily received.

And (to add to my woes) I noticed a bug I've never seen before - a tiny light brown beetle - on a basil plant. I went to squash it and it jumped away with what sounded like a little click, much like a flea.  Not sure if it's doing any damage but I'm interested to know if anyone knows what it is.

Thank you!

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  • Thanks Tiffany - I don't think we have praying mantis here, much to my dismay. I thought some had hitched a ride when we moved here but they seem to have disappeared! I'm wondering if they don't like living here (we're in Manawatu and had some bitter frosts winter past) or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Any tips on encouraging mantis to my garden, if they are around somewhere?
    • Really, are praying mantis good to have? I saw one the other day, but they are my most feared bug, especially since I have seen flying ones...... they once followed me round a trip up North...... but I guess if they ar good bugs, i'll be kind!
    • Definitely great bugs to have in the garden - eat lots of nasty bugs, I believe! Bryan would be horrified to know you don't like them - they're his absolute favourite. And if I'm not mistaken, I think they can all fly :)
  • Hi Vicki
    My Raspberry has been the victim of the passion vine hoppers as well. They suck the sap out of the leaves and can do a fair bit of damage. The best way to reduce their numbers is to look for the eggs on the underside of the leaves and scrape them off. They will also try to overwinter there so remove affected bits of the plant during winter. In the meantime, kill as many fluffy bums as possible because once they're adults they're very hard to kill. You can try a pyrethrum spray at night (so you don't harm bees etc) but check to see if you have anyone else in your corner dealing to them first, like a praying mantis.
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