Friends or Foes?

Which of the following are friends (beneficial insects) and which are foes (pests – destructive or otherwise problematic insects) to have in the garden (Central Florida, to be specific)? Can you help me name these and determine what to do with them, if anything?

[Update: thanks to Lyle J Buss at the University of Florida’s Insect Identification Laboratory, I’ve got ID’s for all but #4!]

1. Aphids (pest). I already sprayed this plant once with insecticidal soap because there were so many. Luckily the lady bugs / lady beetles have started to move in now.

2. Long legged fly (beneficial)

3. Fire ant (pest). I’m putting this guy as a pest because he and his buddies have been shepherding aphids in my garden.

4. Unknown fly

5. Unknown fly Fruit fly, family Tephritidae

6. Unknown fly or wasp A parasitic wasp, probably Braconidae

7. Unknown insect Springtails, Order Collembola

8. Unknown insect Probably a seed bug, family Lygaeidae

Edamame (edible soybean) harvest

Last night I harvested my one edamame plant from this spring gardening season. This is the first time I’ve planted edible soybeans, and I’m very happy with the results. It was not a fussy plant, did well in my poor soil, and had pretty little purple flowers. It did get attacked by what I think were thrips, though I don’t know how much they affected its productivity. These photos show the harvest from one plant. I love that all of this came from one seed!

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Summer crookneck yellow squash with blossom

They say this is when you should harvest crookneck yellow squash, before the skin gets too thick, at about 3″ to 5″ depending on the variety. Pick early and often and you’ll get a bigger harvest. Here’s a pic of one with the blossom still attached. I picked three like this from the garden this morning, ate two of them raw. Tasty!

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