Flower Friday – Hibiscus

Hibiscus - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Whenever I see a hibiscus flower I immediately associate it with tropical vacations. Beautiful and large flowers, they come in a variety of stunning colors. In Australia we have a hibiscus harlequin bug (Tectocoris diopthalamus) which is also brightly colored, but a dreaded pest to the hibiscus plant. It will pierce through the stem of tender shoots and flower buds to feed on the sap, causing the buds to drop off. These bugs also feed on cotton, a few Australian natives and some fruit trees. Once a female lays her eggs she will stand guard and protect them. In Australia we call them stink bugs because when they get disturbed, they release a very bad smell which triggers mass smell production from nearby friends. Happy weekend everyone!

Hibiscus Harlequin Bug - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus Harlequin Bug – Photograph by Laura Lecce
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15 thoughts on “Flower Friday – Hibiscus

  1. How wonderful to see the eggs being laid. It sounds like a Hobson’s Choice – leave them alone and lose your flowers or disturb them and risk mass smell production! It makes me glad my new rose shoots are merely covered in greenflies.

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    1. Lol, thank you for your comment Susan. It can be quite a combat with these bugs, especially if you get a large infestation! Good luck with your roses, you need some lady beetles to come to the rescue!

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      1. You’re right – every rose should really come with a guardian ladybird (as we call them). A bit like you hear of Texans selling a house that ‘comes with a steer’.

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      1. Beautiful but deadly! We have a similar type of bug here that gives out a foul smell when it is threatened. Only it’s brownish black in colour. The smell can last for days and if you get just a bit of its spray on your skin, you smell bad for a whole day and even scrubbing with soap and water doesn’t help. At least your bug is smelly but pretty. Ours is not only smelly but ugly. Spraying perfume to mask the smell only makes the situation worse. Urghs!!!

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