The feminine mallow sawfly begins her assault on a mallow through the use of a saw-like egg laying appendage known as an ovipositor to carve small slits within the leaf’s floor. Every egg-slits receives an egg. Tiny leaf- munchers subject from the eggs, feed, and go by six larval phases. Their feeding first creates tiny holes in leaves known as shot holes, however as they develop, so too does their urge for food and shortly massive hunks of tender tissue disappear down their gullets, abandoning solely shredded leaves and skeletal stays consisting of robust leaf veins. As soon as their feasting is completed, larvae transfer to the bottom of the plant to pupate on decrease stems and within the soil. From the pupae emerge recent grownup wasps able to discover a mate, lay eggs, and resume the assault on mallow. In southern states there could also be as many as six generations annually, however fewer happen in Maryland. Thankfully, mallow sawflies by no means actually developed a honest style for cotton, okra, or rose of Sharon, however hollyhocks, decorative mallows, and marsh-mallow are undoubtedly on the menu. By midsummer, leaves of those beauties could also be shredded.
So, what are you able to do to forestall a plague of those tiny tormentors? A number of styles of hibiscuss, together with Hibiscus acetosella, H. aculeatus, and H. grandiflora, are famous to be immune to this pest. One other technique to foil the sawfly is to examine your hibiscus on a weekly foundation and easily pluck larvae from the plant and toss them within the compost the place they are going to turn out to be meals for the ravenous horde of predatory invertebrates dwelling there. Whereas insecticidal sprays can be found to kill sawfly larvae, excessive visitation charges of pollinators and different helpful bugs to the hibiscus flowers make this a sketchy choice.
Two glorious articles, “Analysis of Twelve Genotypes of Hibiscus for Resistance to Hibiscus Sawfly, Atomacera decepta Rohwer (Hymenoptera: Argidae)” by David W. Boyd, Jr. and Christopher L. Cheatham, and “The sawfly Atomacera decepta, a pest of Hibiscus” by H. H. Tippins had been used to arrange this episode. We thank Karin Burghardt, whose eager observations of mallow sawflies served because the inspiration for this episode.