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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