View Full Version : What is eating the Lupines?

05-04-2003, 09:04 AM
Something is eating the Lupines here in Menifee, located in Western Riverside County. These Lupines growing wild out in a field or even the ones on my property are being destroyed on their tops. They are big and beautiful with purple flowers all up and down them one day and a week later the whole top leaves, stems and flowers are I guess munched off. Stripped down to a straight stem only. Upon inspection I only find these little ??flies?? They look like a fly, very small fly. A couple of them have a large light colored abdomen with stripes on and the others have a tiny abdomen. I can`t find a picture of them on the internet -so far anyway-I have been trying.They do not have a red eye. They are dead, I think. They don`t move- It is weird. Maybe these icky things have ?morphed? or something and I am maybe looking at the shell of a fly or something. None of them move. Sounds weird, I know, sorry. That is why I am asking for help. Something is stripping the top several inches of the Lupines around here completely bare. I find non-moving insects only. What is going on? Any thoughts, please? Thanks. Deanna </p>

05-05-2003, 05:34 AM
Deanna - Many creatures eat lupines, including various insects, snails and slugs, deer and other mammals. Are these lupines native to your site, or did you plant lupines from elsewhere? I once tried to grow a Sierra foothills lupine in the coastal belt, but gave up because the poor plant became a smorgasboard for all manner of critters. The same species of the lupine, but the local form, did much better. As for the bugs, they may be insects that were parasitized, but they could be molted exoskeletons - insects go through growth stages and mold out of their old skins, leaving the crisp, pale old exoskeleton behind. Sometimes insect predation on plants is a springtime thing only. This is often true for aphids, which will arrive, suck on plant juices, and then either depart, or get eaten by ladybird beetles or other predator bugs. You should watch your lupines really, really closely - monitor them each morning, afternoon and evening - to find out what is really going on. You might have to go out a night with a flashlight, too. Good luck, Lori Hubbart</p>

05-05-2003, 05:29 PM
I like Lori`s idea of going out at night with a flashlight. It`s amazing how many herbivores love this plant. I saw something similar in one of my landscapes - turned out to be rabbits AND squirrels! And gophers love the roots. Hope you find out what it is.</p>

05-18-2003, 07:42 PM
In this area, southwestern Riverside County, the land is being bulldozed all over the place right now. I have been gathering anything beautiful from these sites prior to the cement being poured. I find it hard to watch things just vanish so I try taking them home. I live on five acres in Menifee, CA. These Royal Lupines are local. Sad as this period of time is around Riverside County right now, meaning the destruction of native plants and animals I have a suggestion for a source of young baby native plants even out-of-season, sometimes. Be sure to get permission to be on their property first and it is usually best to wait until the very end of the daylight, the equipment people are usually done by then and it is okay but certainly before dark is best. You see, when they are going to build something, ordinarily, the first thing that changes is that they measure and pound stakes into the ground and they 'grub' the site. They basically use a bulldozer and knock over and/or plow under grub anything standing in order for their earthmoving to get started. It is awful but I have found something to give me hopea bright spot. Often times a little bit of time will pass after the grubbing but before they start actually running the the heavy equipment. If you are lucky enough to have rain following the 'grubbing' you may have an opportunity, even out of season, or if they use sprinklers to 'pre-water', you may have one opportunity left to transplant youngsters to your house. They resprout right away often times with just some water and a little time. I have had numerous successes with many natives this way. Just dig up the dirt and all and place the entire block in your yard, they may take. Many of these new little survivor babies seem to do pretty well if watered a bit prior to digging them up keeps the dirt clinging around the roots better. And you also need to get the plant back into the ground without that main root being distrubed. Thanks for the info about the insects eating the local lupines. Most likely aphids, I think. Deanna</p>