Critters on the Wild Coffee – Psychotria nervosa


Native plants bring in a wealth of living movement and Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa) is no exception. In just a short amount of time, a variety of insects can be observed on the plant. The spring blooms attract an assortment of butterflies, but below are some of the other pollinators and insects that enjoy this plant.

potter wasp
Potter Wasp – Zeta argillaceum

Native to the Neotropics and established in Florida, Zeta argillaceum are common in urban areas where they build their pots (nests) on the sides of buildings such as homes. Each “pot” contains one small entrance hole. A single egg is laid in each cell and the adult wasp fills the cell with paralyzed living food (commonly moth larvae of the genus Geometridae) for the emerging wasp larva to feed on. The nest is only used one time by Zeta argillaceum, but is often reused by other potter wasps such as Pachodynerus species.


orchid bee
Dilemma Orchid Bee – Euglossa dilemma

The Dilemma Orchid Bee was first discovered in Broward County by entomologists working with the USDA fruit fly monitoring program. Like other Orchid Bees, Euglossa dilemma is relatively solitary, but will occasionally share nesting sites. Females build nest cells out of resins (propolis) collected from plant sources. Nests can be located in many different cavities and nest entrances are often sealed off by resin or other plant debris. The mother provides her young larvae with pollen and nectar while they develop. Like other bees, Orchid Bees play an important role in the pollination of plants.



long legged fly
Long-legged Fly – Condylostylus longicornis

Long-legged Fly (Condylostylus longicornis) is possibly the most widespread species of the genus Condylostylus in the order Diptera (Flies). The Long-legged Fly is a beneficial garden visitor. They aren’t your typical bothersome fly, so there is usually no need to swat these charming critters away. Adults are predators of mites, aphids, thrips, other flies, silverfish and small caterpillars to name several.



Sweat Bee – Agapostemon splendens

The sun illuminates the unmistakable shimmering color of the Sweat Bee (Agapostemon splendens) as they land on flowers to collect pollen. These native bees seem to prefer flowers in the Asteraceae (composite) family. In Central Florida, I usually see them in the warmer months of March through November gathering pollen from Gaillardia pulchella (Blanketflower), Bidens alba (Beggarticks) and Helianthus debilis  (Dune Sunflower). Agapostemon splendens are ground nesting bees.  Although they are considered solitary nesters, it is not unusual for females to share and allow other females to enter the nest.  Male and female A. splendens are easy to tell apart.  The male is more slender than females with a black and yellow striped abdomen.  The female is plumper with an all green body.  The female typically has darker wings while males are usually clearer. You can attract Sweat Bees and other native ground nesting bees to your landscape by planting Florida native wildflowers, especially those in the Asteraceae (Composite) family and by retaining areas of bare soil for nesting.



asian lady beetle
Multicolored Asian Beetle – Harmonia axyridis

The Multicolored Asian Beetle is a non-native species and is either considered a pest or a welcome garden visitor as they feed on aphids, thripes, mites, lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) eggs and scale. They were introduced from Asia by humans for biological control and by accident. Lucky for the folks in South Florida, the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is not such a problem. In North Florida and other parts of the United States where the temperatures get cold during the winter is where they can become an issue when they overwinter in large numbers in house walls or other human dwellings. Read all about the native and non-native Ladybugs of Florida HERE.



hairy maggot blow fly
Hairy Maggot Blow Fly – Chrysomya rufifacies

Meet the Hairy Maggot Blow Fly (Chrysomya rufifacies). They were discovered in the United States around 1980 and is an exotic (not native) diptera (flies) species. C. rufifacies is used in forensics and like other flies, they are pollinators. This species needs rotten meat or decomposing carrion to complete its lifecycle. Thankfully there is not a rotting carcass in our landscape and the Wild Coffee is the attractor for this rather handsome fly. Want to know more about Chrysomya rufifacies, look HERE.



Red-tailed Flesh Fly – Sarcophaga maemorrhoidalis

Here is a Red-tailed Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis). The larvae of the Red-tailed Flesh Fly invade carcasses that are in the early to advanced stages of decomposition and is an important species used in forensics dealing with criminal and legal matters. Red-tailed Flesh Flies resemble the common house fly, but they are larger and more robust.




paper wasp
Northern Paper Wasp – Polistes fuscatus will also feed on honeydew. The black sooty mold shown in this photo grows on the honeydew which is excreted from certain pest insects such as scales, aphids and mealybugs. 

The Northen Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus) commonly inhabits woodlands and savannas. They are also common around urban areas where humans inhabit, especially where wood is present that can be used to nesting material. Adult Northern Paper Wasps feed primarily on plant nectar. They will kill caterpillars and other small insects by masticating them to feed their young. The solid portion of the meal is given to older larvae and the liquid is regurgitated and fed to younger larvae.





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