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  • Attack of the West Virginia Mountain Fig Wasp

    Or beetle...or stink bug...or....

    What do you suppose it sees in there? I suppose it may be drinking out the inside of this ripening Lattarula. Or accidentally cross-pollinating it with some local flowering plant.
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
    Tony WV 6b
    https://mountainfigs.net/

  • #2
    Leaf footed bug and yes he is piercing it and drinking it. Evil creatures.
    Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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    • #3
      It must be drunk by now. Been there over an hour without apparently changing position. I blew on it to see if it was still alive, and it responded with a nimble dance without picking up its head. It hasn't visibly swollen with fluid. First I've seen this, but I've been hoping that some creature like this would cross pollinate the San Pedro figs to ripening effect (not that Lattarula is San Pedro). Don't know if such pollination is scientifically possible though.
      Tony WV 6b
      https://mountainfigs.net/

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      • #4
        I see them often at my place.
        Art
        Western Pa -6a

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        • #5
          It probably has a better chance of spoiling the fig. At least that's what they do to other vegetables.
          Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra, Rubado

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          • #6
            I think it's a type of Squash Beetle. They certainly won't pollinate a fig, wishful thinking though. If anything they are damaging your figs by sucking out the juices and could possibly make it spoil. Death to all squash bugs 😵
            Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
            Tony
            Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

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            • #7
              This Leaf Footed bug, aka Squash Beetle, stayed on the fig into the night, presumably all night, and remains there this morning, though now standing aimlessly off to the side.

              Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the first year that I've planted squash (and cucumbers) in and around the figs. The squash hasn't done well. The cucumbers have. The figs seem fine.

              Have also planted tap-rooted comfrey, borage, and bidens alba (the latter two from seed), all thriving and shading the ground and pots. Adjacent figs in ground doing well. (Bidens Alba plants looks good though have not bloomed.) The tap roots of these three nutrient accumulators don't seem to compete much or at all with the fig roots, much more shallow. Wild thistle is also pitching in with its tap root.

              One other main flower planted (from seed) in and around the figs is orange Cosmos, by now creating a sea of orange and long since having brought in a universe of bees, especially bumble bees, which also like the comfrey blossoms. Very small bees (sweat bees?) come to the borage. Few honey bees. Butterflies and some bumble bees are now on the thistle flowers; eventually goldfinches will come for the seeds. The shallow but clumping cosmos roots compete some with fig roots, I suppose, though they seem to coexist well. Probably helps that cosmos is said to do well on poor and relatively dry soil. The cosmos roots seem to clump in one place and don't spread, unlike the surrounding fig roots.

              The comfrey will return every year from the roots. The cosmos typically has returned by reseeding itself. I'm hoping that borage and bidens alba reseed also.

              OT: Was digging out a turtle pond that I hoped the wild box turtles might use, then picture number 3 below happened. Unbeknownst to me, a box turtle was sitting in that depression on the right edge of the picture while I was digging. I reached to grab a "rock" to fling out of the way when I realized the "rock" was a turtle. So I left to get the camera and by the time I returned the turtle was on the move, going directly across the would be pond, back the way it had come no doubt. That was both the first and the last time I've seen any turtle in the turtle pond. Know when to leave things be?

              The next morning, a box turtle, maybe the same one, came down the hillside from out of the woods near the turtle pond, walked onto the cement slab behind our house for the first time we've ever seen, and walked hesitatingly in rough circles, pausing occasionally, lifting its head high, as if to sniff the air. I guessed it was trying to locate the source of the water that I had filled into the little turtle pond the previous evening. Detecting no source (garden hose), the turtle climbed off the cement, returned to its trail under the bushes and plants, and clambered back up the hill into the woods. Turns out turtles can smell: "Turtles smell well, both on land and under the water. They don't have nostrils, they have bumps under their chins. These bumps, called barbels, have nerves that allow them to pick up scents."
              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 6 photos.
              Tony WV 6b
              https://mountainfigs.net/

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              • #8
                Sounds like you got your own diverse ecosystem going on there. Thumbs up to ya! Keep up the good work.
                Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
                Tony
                Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

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                • mountainfigs
                  mountainfigs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The more diverse my ecosystem the less lawn I mow, which - figs, food, family, and the wild aside - is motivation enough.

              • #9
                • Picked the Leaf Footed / Squash Beetle attacked Lattarula fig today. Happy to report that it suffered not at all.
                • Also picked Champagne and Improved Celeste.
                • Champagne and Improved Celeste are main crop, though Champagne had an early start indoors. Harvested first main crop Champagne on August 26th. Lattarula as far as I can tell is also main crop.
                • The Lattarula tasted like syrup maybe light fruit gel.
                • The Improved Celeste tasted also like fruit syrup gel with more berry flavor than the Lattarula. Both peaking ripe.
                • The light berry flavors in both surprised me a little. Two years ago Improved Celeste tasted of berry, while last year the flavor was more of intense sugar.
                • The Champagne was picked a day or two early to get into the picture with the others but it tasted very close to what a well ripe Champagne typically does in my experience, a kind of refreshing juicy light syrup flavor and feel.
                • Honey doesn't seem to adequately describe the flavor of these figs. Neither does maple syrup. The flavors are more light, like Agave syrup. But figs are not so pure of sugar as are honeys and syrups. Figs are fruits. And unlike that other famous high sugar fruit, the grape, figs have substantial skins and mass around the sugar pulp, lending a much more vegetative feel if not taste.
                • Mash a grape and a strawberry, add any other fruit, wrap in floral mint-like leaves, then soak in agave syrup, bake in the sun, begin to let dry, and you might get something approaching a ripe fig.
                You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
                Tony WV 6b
                https://mountainfigs.net/

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                • #10
                  Have seen no turtle in the recently created turtle pond (puddle, that is). However, aside from butterflies, another creature has moved in. So, it's now a frog pond / puddle. Next year, potted figs will probably be placed around it, providing more shade. Might be that the water though not reaching the fig roots is still good for the nearby fig bushes, especially with a cheap little pump in the water possibly helping to slightly cool and humidify the micro-climate air.

                  This is the first frog we've seen in the neighborhood. Not sure where it might have traveled from. Don't know how far frogs travel. More than a little ways apparently. This frog seems to have moved in for the summer. Don't know about winter.
                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                  Tony WV 6b
                  https://mountainfigs.net/

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                  • #11
                    Tony, that's a beautiful eastern box turtle visiting your yard. Shallow waters are more to their liking. They're more land than water. If it wasn't such a pain in the butt to own them legally here, easterns would be the only additional chelonian in my collection.

                    Also, turtle and tortoise poop is just as good as duck poop for figs
                    Alma from Maryland 7b

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                    • mountainfigs
                      mountainfigs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The design on the shell is astounding, isn't it? Good to know about the level of water. The turtles are as elusive as they are omnipresent. Usually we never see them, but sometimes we find turtles under mint, or when weeding, or beneath bushes, or in the semi-open, or by fig pots, or beneath ground hugging spruce bows. I have to be careful not to run over them in the lawn with the push mower. I went to plant a tree and unfortunately exposed beautiful turtle eggs, like pastel oblong stones. I've found half dollar size young turtles on a ground-covered slope by the road where I've never seen adults. Sometimes the turtles cross the road heading up and down steep slopes. They are invisibly everywhere. The cats sniff them curiously. For all that, we rarely see them. Only somewhat moreso when we actively look.

                    • nepenthes
                      nepenthes commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Eastern box turtles are hands down the most colorful of the box turtle species. They're also very personable; bold, quirky, sweet (at least the captive bred ones are). The one in your picture looks like an adult female. You're lucky to come across them from time to time.. even luckier to find a clutch of eggs!
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