Life Cycles in Brooklyn Bridge Park

The rare Two-spotted lady beetles (Adalia bipunctata) I discovered in July are still active in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In fact:“Houston, we have coition.” Luckily, I didn’t learn about reproduction from Republicans, so I know that this kind of activity leads to:Lady beetle eggs. I assume Two-spotted, but don’t know for sure.A recently emerged adult, whose markings and coloring will soon develop.

And continuing on the theme of life cycles:Fall Webworms (Hyphantria cunea) have broken out, formed silken webs, and are skeletonizing their hosts inside the webs.This defoliator is sometimes confused with Gypsy Moths and Eastern Tent caterpillars, who also make communal silk nests in trees. The Fall Webworm can make a tree look fairly ghastly but isn’t very dangerous because it strikes in the fall, when the trees are at the end of their leaf cycle. Brooklyn Bridge Park tends to leave “pests” like this alone because they will attract other species, including predators. Indeed, the aphid infestation on the catalpas probably lured in the Two-spotted lady beetles. H. cunea, meanwhile, has been called a “parasitoid hotel” because it is parasitized by more than fifty species of wasps and flies.

When I poked my camera lens in for the close-ups, the caterpillars outside the nest started wagging in unison, a characteristic of the species. It’s the dance sensation sweeping the nation: the “Funky Caterpillar.”

3 Responses to “Life Cycles in Brooklyn Bridge Park”

  1. 1 Paul Lamb August 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

    “Luckily, I didn’t learn about reproduction from Republicans, so I know that this kind of activity leads to”
    Well said!

  2. 2 Heather September 8, 2018 at 12:49 am

    I’m worried that this infestation will kill the tree. They seem to be flourishing to an unsettling degree. Anything I can do other than wait for natural predators to hopefully dispatch them? Any man-made remedies? (This is from Brooklyn, NY. if that makes a difference). Thanks for any help!

    • 3 mthew September 8, 2018 at 6:55 am

      I quote from the

      The larval stage of this pest skeletonizes and consumes leaves inside the protection of a tent-like web that they enlarge as they require additional food and grow. They may defoliate a tree occasionally, but rarely kill it. On shade trees webs usually occur on occasional branches. They may not injure the tree appreciably, but they reduce its ornamental value.

      Various species of natural enemies help to manage this native insect. Birds and many insect predators and parasitoids attack the larval stage. Eggs may also be destroyed by predators and insect parasitoids. It is possible to reduce this pest’s population by mechanical control. When the webbed branches are within reach, they can be pruned and destroyed. This may be practical if the webs have not become too large and the aesthetic shape of the woody ornamental plant is not reduced by pruning.

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