Monday, July 13, 2009

Lema pectoralis - yellow orchid beetle (pest)

Am not sure if this beetle is also found in more temperate zones or just the tropics but it's a highly destructive pest.

We've put up with this nasty bug for some time now and only today I found out its name, Lema pectoralis.

It feeds mainly on vanda and dendro flowers and can cause substantial damage to the flowers but thankfully not to the plants themselves (thrip damage is worse).

I first came across this beetle when I found purple, slimy feces-like matter on a purple dendro. When I attempted to remove it, the stuff moved! It turned out to be a larvae of some sort covered in its on excretions/feces which takes on the color of the flower it feeds on. Indeed, I found more slimy stuff on a yellow dendro (yellow feces) and more purple ones on a purple phal. They were all larvae. Soon I found adult beetles feeding on the flowers too and a check with my orchid-growing friends confirm that this beetle is responsible for the extensive damage to our orchid flowers.

This entire spray has been destroyed by the voracious larvae:

The larvae cover themselves in their own feces which take on the color of what they feed on:

Sorry for this rather blurry pic as I took all the photos with my camera phone while checking the plants today. The three blurry dots in the center are the eggs of the beetle, one end has turned black (the head) indicating that the larvae are ready to hatch and start eating! I can't take clearer pics as I've squished all that I could find!

And here are two merry little buggers having a good time till they met my bug spray.

Even as the adults prepared to unleash more mayhem, the larvae were busy destroying...

Two larvae on a vanda spike, no longer covered entirely in their feces but rather, totally coated with insect poison, hah!

Here's an interesting article about this beetle, a.k.a. orchid lema - what's written about this bug is exactly like what I observed but this article gives more insight about its life cycle etc. Link:

Thursday, July 9, 2009


DurianDurian fleshDurian - dropped from treeDurian - spoiled by tree rats!Durians in treeDurian

As previously posted over at my Flickr album, these Singai (an area near Kuching) variety durians have started falling. This isn't a large variety, unlike many hybrids in the market which are huge. The flesh however is A+ grade in taste and texture and is the ONLY type I would consider eating as I don't really like durians. The small sized fruits are perfect for people like me who are not big fans.

Squirrels gnaw big holes in the fruits to get at the protein-packed flesh.

Every year, Malaysians everywhere wait for the chance to smell, choose and buy durian fruits from roadside sellers and hawkers. In good years, the harvest is so great that many fruits are sold at ridiculously low prices.

Durians are heaty fruits and therefore, when consumed in large amounts will cause one to fall sick! To counter this, durian enthusiasts  will usually eat mangosteens which come into season about the same time as durians and are considered cooling.

When I was small, the durian fruiting season used to be around Dec but these days, it is no longer set nor predictable. Perhaps because of global warming and changing weather patterns. Indeed, Kuching weather has become rather unpredictable of late...

Years from now, I wonder how it would be... with more and more forests cleared in the name of development and green house gases released into the air. Food for thought.

See also:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paphiopedilum stonei

Paphiopedilum stoneiPaphiopedilum stoneiPaphiopedilum stonei

After the spectacular display by the paph lowii a couple months back, the paph stonei are now having their turn at it. They bloom once 1-2 years but the wait is well worth it! The one in the foreground is spiking with three buds and was overgrown with ferns but have since been weeded. To me, even the spikes are beautiful and it's exciting to see them developing and come into bloom. To

Paphiopedilum stoneiPaphiopedilum stoneiPaphiopedilum stonei

The plants are kept under dark shade (under trees hence the dried leaves in the pots) but they will tolerate bright filtered sunlight such as in the pictures (all taken with my camphone as I couldn't find my digicam). I placed them together on this table for display but will be return them to much darker shade once flowering is complete.

Paph stonei size comparisonPaph stonei size comparison

One of the plants has noticeably smaller flowers (and a pouch about 1-1.5cm shorter) than the others.
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