phyllocnistis citrella

The citrus leafminer is a very small, light coloured moth that arrived in California from Mexico in 2000 and has now spread throughout most of California. I’ve never seen an adult, but the larval action is very evident in my yard, especially on the young lime trees. They only infest fresh growth, which of course is just about all a little tree has!

I’ve been removing the affected leaves, but today I read that it’s not a good idea, because it just creates even more fresh growth for the larvae to mine. Apparently the insects will die off over the cooler months; here’s hoping, too, that natural predators come along to help create balance.


Americans have a tendency to call all insects “bugs”. I first thought the terms were interchangeable, but I’ve learned that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs.

The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs have rigid piercing/sucking mouthparts that look like a long beak and act like a straw. Most suck plant juices, but some feed on animals. Water bugs are venomous; they liquify then drink their prey. Yum!

Thanks to Trisha Nichols for another fun and informative lesson.

hyalophera cecropia

Another one for National Moth Week. The cecropia moth is North America’s largest native moth, and can be found all across the continent. Females have been documented with a wingspan of five to seven inches (125 – 175 mm) or more. Like other members of the giant silk moth family, the cecropia moth lacks functional mouth parts and a digestive system. Due to this, they survive approximately two weeks. So if you get to see one, rejoice!