The native insects (arthropods) found on waxflowers belong to at least nine orders and include insects and spiders (Table 1).
By far the most common insect is thrips with seven species identified. The next most common are beetles, followed by bugs and other insects.
Plague and eucalyptus thrips
|Beetles, weevils|| |
Flower beetle, nectar scarab beetle, jewel beetle
Aphids, leaf hoppers, shield bugs, lace bugs
|Ants, wasps|| |
Ants, gall wasps, bees
Leaf tip webbing larvae
|Lace wings|| |
|Book lice|| |
Sac and comb footed spider
Insects affect flowers in four ways:
- They can kill plants. For example, the ring barking weevil girdles plants just below the soil surface (Figures 1, 2 and 3).
- They can chew and damage flowers. Beetle larvae will eat the surface and scar flower receptacles.
- They chew and damage stems and leaves. For example, the webbing moth leaf tipping larvae chews out leaf tips causing branching (Figure 4a–c), the longicorn beetle hollows out the stems causing them to die, and gall wasps cause swelling and distortion of stems and leaves.
They can pose quarantine risk simply by their presence on flowers at certain export destinations. Gall wasps (Figure 5) form a gall announcing insect activity and this can pose a quarantine risk. The flower beetle can be present during the whole flowering season while other insects appear en masse at certain times. For example, the flower scarab beetle appears in early October in Western Australia. Different control strategies are required for each of these beetles.