I was admiring the lovely streaks of rust-coloured bark in the Eucalypt(?) trees at the top of my road yesterday when I suddenly spied some movement.

I realised the enemy, HARLEQUIN BUGS (Dindymus versicolor), were in the start of mating season and if I wanted to have any semblance of a Spring Garden I’d really have to take more serious  action this year and stop admiring their colourful backs.


Not only did they eat just about every leaf in my balcony garden, they even ate every single Sage leaf – all 100 to 120 or more.  The pungent leaves of Sage are meant to deter pests, not attract them.  Sage was the only one of my herbs to not recover this past winter and I’ve thrown it out.  I’ve also thrown the enormous Rosemary bush out.  It was potbound and had been cut in half twice with the gusty winds, so I’ve decided to replace it with a more prostrate variety.  Rosemary flowers were also on the Harlequin Bugs dinner menu to my surprise.

These bugs must be very hardy indeed.

Kate at Achievable Gardens had some good advice.

I’ve already posted this shot of my Pink Argyranthemum last week, but it was more the interest in photographing a small insect with my 17-50mm lens, than acknowledgement of the savage pest onslaught to come in the near future.

Today and tomorrow are going to be superb Spring days so I’ll be taking the opportunity to plan something new.  A couple of weeks ago I found the heavier potted plants TOO heavy for my fragile back and hip pain, so a redesign is necessary (and if I’m honest, keeps me amused).

I’m just getting over another virus (the 2nd this year) at the moment, so I don’t feel up to going too far afield.  I don’t normally catch flu type viruses and this year has been highly unusual.  But then I rarely mix with the Homo Sapiens in the area, preferring Flora and Fauna for company, so it was probably last Tuesday’s lengthy foray in the nearby Shopping centre, with its 500+ stores, that caused me to come in contact with Human bugs.

 Or maybe I’m just getting old. 😯

I often wish I lived in the country with just four-legged friends for Company………. maybe in my next life 🙂


22 thoughts on “THE ENEMY HAS LANDED…………

  1. Those are nasty bugs! I hope you can defeat them this year.
    I think you are right about catching things in the shopping center. I’ve found that as long as I stay around my country home and away from the cities, I remain disgustingly healthy. I keep all forays into the “civilized” world very brief and very seldom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to catch every bug about the place while working in a Boarding School for 16+ years and living on 2-3 hours sleep every night, but when diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and getting some meds for the various symptoms (incl sleep) in 2006, I never got colds and flu from then on. I also stopped having lunch in the school dining room with the staff and students.

      I’m really surprised to get ‘sick’ twice in one year. I can well imagine why you stay so healthy Terry. My theory is that if you exercise, drink plenty of water and a reasonably healthy fresh food diet (that suits your personal profile and lifestyle)……..away from towns and cities, you’ve got a fair chance of always being healthy.

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  2. I agree with you and Montucky — since I’ve started working out of the docks, I’ve been amazingly healthy, for twenty-five and more years. I have had a bout of bronchitis, and the flu a time or two, but as I recall, all of those episodes came after air travel or being around large groups of people. Since I stay away from malls, movie theaters, and such, my odds of staying healthy are much better. Of course I’ve had to deal with cataracts and glaucoma, but you don’t catch those!

    Best of luck with those pesties!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda. All your work in the open sea air probably helps too. I hate shopping centres at the best of times, which is why all those errands had piled up to such a high volume last week.

      Sorry to hear you’ve had cataracts and glaucoma – perhaps they are something that’s in the genes? Despite both my parents having them, I’ve escaped so far.

      I’ve cleaned and cleared the balcony garden somewhat today, so now I need to think what to fill half a dozen empty pots. Tomorrow, while my building is without power (to replace some circuit breakers), I think I’d spend a few hours in the garden centre or outdoors in the sun. That, might help my chest. I don’t have a cold or repetitious bad cough, just started the same as last Easter, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes then sort of feeling very ill and a chest infection. Last Monday, the Doc thought I was on the mend, but not so.

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  3. Vicki, A trick I used to quite some success was the roll up a few sheets of newspaper and leave it near where the bugs are. They will often crawl into the gaps between the sheets of paper. I would then burn the paper but as you live in the city, you might just put it in your rubbish bin or soak it in water and drown them.

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    1. Mine seem to like being in the open John. It’s almost like they’re teasing me with their volume and antics. First summer here was ok. It wasn’t until I tried growing more vegetables the 2nd summer. Most sites I’ve read say to just shake the bushes and drop the insects into strong soapy water with washing up liquid, but I have to admit when I ‘smacked’ and ‘shook’ the parsley the other day, they all hung on for dear life.


  4. That’s a great idea to deal with Harlequin bugs above. I have some on my rosemary too so I’ll give it a try. Great photo of your Argyranthemum complete with bug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess you’re surprised that they’re on your Rosemary too? They just ate the flowers on mine. How about your Rosemary?
      That bug on the Argyranthemum is the best bug photo I’ve taken in quite a while 🙂


    1. Thanks Otto.

      I can’t help but admire these lovely patterned bugs (and they’re such a great subject to practice close-up photography on), but I really must make an effort to eradicate them – my herbs are such a joy in the garden and more important than bugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Just read up on Tanglefoot Traps and with the tiny wrens and sparrows walking between my plants, I don’t think it is an option, Eliza.

      Here’s what one forum commenter said……..

      “Couldn’t get a straight answer from the Tanglefoot company, regarding safety for birds, except to advise that the season is over (the female moths can’t fly and have to crawl up the tree trunk to mate. This process is over by late December) so I can remove the band from the tree. Despite being careful I did get some on my hands. I could not get it off with soap or dish soap and finally resorted to powdered cleanser with bleach and even that didn’t work. Later that day I went for a swim at my local pool and that seemed to get rid of the residue. I can’t imagine how a bird would ever get the stuff off their beaks, feet, or feathers. Next year I’m going to put some kind of screen around the Tanglefoot to keep birds out.”

      She should have used eucalyptus oil to get the sticky stuff off her hands (or at worst, nail-polish remover). Eucalyptus oil is my ‘miracle’ worker for so many things including stains, sticky stuff & marks on leather.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 you’re right about the bug plague.
      Let’s hope the cabbage moth caterpillars don’t start visiting. I saw a white ‘butterfly’ on the other side of the road recently, which suggested a potential visit.


  5. Oh boy- I hope you can keep those bugs at bay.

    I learned a lesson in Japan. You may have seen photos of Japanese walking around cities, riding busses and just about everywhere in between wearing surgical masks. From what I’ve read, this practice began during the SARS scare.
    But….what has happened is that instead of staying HOME when they have the flu- they wear a mask and continue to expose themselves to the general public. Most masks I see are ill fitting and don’t do a whole lot to protect anyone.
    I used to get sick three and four times a year- or more! All because students would come for English with raging coughs\ flu etc…thinking it was ok because they were wearing a mask!
    I created a policy! If you are sick- don’t come to my house!
    I’ve been relatively healthy since I made that rule.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always wondered about the Asians(?) wearing masks in Melbourne actually. Was never sure why, as Melbourne is relatively pollution free and I didn’t think THAT many people could possibly have some sort of contagious infection/disease.
      Good to hear you made that rule and rigidly stuck to it. Even when I was coughing a bit when I went to the Doctor last week, I asked the Receptionist if they had a spare mask and said I would sit outdoors in the sun waiting for my appointment time (rather than sit in the waiting room potentially coughing and/or spreading germs).


      1. Well, now you know! Here you see folks wearing masks everywhere, always. What’s really irritating is that many times I go shopping and the store clerk will be wearing one- I can’t understand a word they say when they have a mask on. I understand much Japanese but I have to really watch the lips and listen close to the sounds or words are hard to distinguish. Forget it if they are wearing a mask. Aside from how it looks to customers!

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