Saturday, August 7, 2010

Faux Bee

Originally uploaded by dmb90260

As seems to be the case often, a planned single post is just not enough.  Another subject pops up unexpectedly.  That happened early today. This morning I was out spraying non-fat milk on my tomatoes when I spotted this little guy.

Wait!  What was that?  Milk? On tomatoes?  That is about right.  Last year my tomatoes were ravaged by mildew that killed the leaves and then the plants.  I had lovely fruit for the initial round but nothing after that.   Last year I tried combating it with neen (or neam) oil but the bottle did say "do not use around bees."  My bees were yards away so I went ahead and use it but some time later I had the bad bee adventure.. absconding bees. 
This year I planted more heirloom tomatoes and kept an eye out for mildew and removed any leaves with spots.  I was barely holding my own against the evil fungus when I left town for a couple of weeks.  My friend Jean came over to water the tomatoes and gather some fruit and saw the mildew.  She checked with a friend who belongs to a community garden and nothing bad is allowed at all.  They are very aggressive about dealing with problems and their solution with mildew was to spray it with non-fat milk.  She applied some and it looked better when I got home so I continue the practice.   In fact last week I was talking about mildew on plants to a gardening friend  and he recalled someone using the same practice with mildew on zucchini plants.   It seems to be working now and I keep lots of milk handy so I will know if it is effective in a few weeks.

That brings us back to this morning and our little visitor.  I have no idea what his real name or call name is but he looks like a moth pretending to be a bee, maybe a bumble bee.   I have never seen any bumble bees around here but no one told him that.

I don't know what he is but he is kind of cool looking with those big eyes and wide stripes.   He never moved at all while I was taking pictures.   When I went back much later he was long gone.
I hope he/she has not left any eggs or such on the next crop of tomatoes.   I have lost two plants but 3-4 are managing to survive.    FYI, the one that seems to have the least issue with mildew is the Brandywine Pink tomato.    This particular variety has leaves called potato leaves, very similar to potato plants.

If you have an idea what this little guy is, please let me know so I can post the information.


Dennis In The Dale said...

Looking at the mystery bug again and based on the wings, my current guess is that this is a fly not a moth. This is a totally non-scientific guess

Jason Carman said...

It's a Mallophora fautrix, which preys on bees and wasps.

Dennis In The Dale said...

Thanks for the information. Next time I may have to smush it when I see it.