Unfamiliar insect on Ficus.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

I water plants in an office building and have never seen this insect on a ficus before. I posted in the insect ID forum, but never got a response yet.
It is a small black insect, abt. 4-5mm long. the tail curls upward. It causes the terminal tip leaves to fold in half and become tough. They look like a pea pod. It then lays its eggs in the folded leaves, protecting them and itself from rain and insecticides. Systemic insecticides are now unavailable in Canada, so that isn't an option. Can anyone ID these suckers?
I have no pictures, but will try to get some next week.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Momo, great to hear from you at last, been missing you. the leaf grub you are talking about is quite common here at some times of year and can affect roses etc, you dont know it's there till you see the leaves folded, I cant for the life of me, remember the name so I will try look up some of my books for the info, I do know that any bug killers, as you said cant get to the pest, so what we do here, is remove any leaves that are seen to be affected, either squash them, burn them or take them outside in a bag and stamp on them, keep doing this till you see there are no more infected leaves, say in about 2 weeks, as you rightly said, the grubs inside are the juveniles of the parents and what you want to do is stop them reaching maturity and lay more eggs in the leaves, I guess your plant being indoors is helping to keep the cycle going because of the nice warm temp indoors, because here, we only get this in the warmer summer days. if you remove the affected leaves, thankfully, the ficus will regrow new leaves, once there is no sign of the bugs, then I would add a liquid feed to give it a boost to encourage new growth, misting at the same time might also help if the office has a dryish heat going on. hope this helps you as a quick fix till I or someone else can get back to you, Good luck, very best wishes to you and yours for 2008, hope you have been well and you have a great gardening year to come. WeeNel.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

Ah,WeeNel! So good to hear from you too. I have been WAY too busy to even think about clicking into the DG world, but have mossed this profusely. I just got a new job in October in a garden centre that does Christmas. I have spent November and December decorating trees for the store, for other businesses and for some rich ba$#&*@s that have more money than they know what to do with. I have seen the insides of some pretty amazing houses, too (one of the perks of the job, I get to snoop) that I will NEVER be able to afford. But, Thank the good Lord, the season is over and I can relax and come back to the world of DG. Yeah!!
How were your holidays? I hope the new year finds you and your DH in great health and still happy to be in the same house hold (even though we know that our husbands will never be as smart and perfect as we women folk, it is still nice to have them around, if only to contrast our perfection.)How are your grand children?

And thank you for the plant advise. I have pulled most of the leaves off. I felt like I was doing a pea harvest, because thats what they look and feel like. I know there were more on it, but the grower/supplier has guaranteed these plants to be bug free so I had to take some samples to show back at the store. I guess it was previously infested with oyster scale.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Momo, so glad you got the bug named, I have never heard of that Oyster bug. so would not have found that for you no matter how much I searched, but we do have bugs here that act the same way as your, maybe even the same species but a different name, who knows, but it makes you feel better when you do know what's eating your plants, good work, and fast.
Hubby and I are both doing Ok, he goes into Hospital on 14th Jan to have his Gall Bladder removed, but I am assured it is like keyhole surgery now-a-days and could be back home after 24 hours, he has just got over the flu, male version ofcourse, and so much worse than anyone alive ever had to suffer, my flu was nothing as bad, I had to cook and clean, decorate the house for the festive season, wrap presents, shop for food and clean, but he felt to be able to do all that was just as well because IF I had the same flu as he had, then I would never have managed, yeh right, but to be fair, he was able to enjoy his Christmas dinner and even a beer which made all the difference to his dry cough. But you know what Momo, I have renewed his licence for another year, that almost 45 years I've been doing that, OH well guess he is good when he is well and I wont complain again, My nose just got really big now.
Holiday was great, had good fun with my Granddaughter, the other Grand-kids are all fine too, had a wonderful time with them over the holidays, little ones still know all about Santa so that sure keeps the magic going.
Better close for now Momo or Daves police will be telling me to get a thread for myself. be good, love the sound of your festive job, will hear all about it soon. very best wishes. WeeNel.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Weenel. Oyster scale isn't the current insect. That was a previous insect. I still don't know what the little black suckers are. Like I said. I did the right thing by posting in the bug ID forum, but NO ANSWERS.

I just found it!! I googled "black insects folded leaf" and I found it. It is "Cuban Laurel Thrips" (Gynaikothrips ficorum) and you're right about the control. just pluck the leaves. It actually said to lightly prune because the insect only feeds off new tender foliage and wouldn't survive till new growth came out.

This message was edited Jan 5, 2008 11:41 PM

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

OHHHHHH, well done Momo, so glad you got there in the end, now you can nip off all the bug infested leaves and stamp on them till your hearts content, good way to keep fit too.
the ones we have here are like a grub from one of the wasp family, not got the name as yet, but it will come to me eventually, that seems to be the way my brain engages these days, age I would say, but happy for you now you know what it is. best of luck. Weenel.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images