Have you ever seen a bug that resembled something entirely different? It’s easy to identify the common small creatures in your garden — there are the ladybird beetles and the bumblebees. But what about the bugs that look like blueberries?
Back in August 2017, the Internet became temporarily fixated on several bugs located on the side of a house in Houston, Texas. The Houston Chronicle noted that the owner was Mandy Trichell, who had three kids.
One of her children, a 17-year-old girl named Faye, spotted six peculiar bugs in their property during the last week of July. Faye called her mom to check out the bugs as well, and Mandy was intrigued.
She was interested in how they moved. The bugs seemed to have a formation and knew when to stop moving at the same time. Eager to find out what exactly the bugs were, Mandy recorded a video and posted it on Facebook.
You can check out her video right here:
Her friends convinced her to publicize the video, which made it gain more than a million views. Still, all this attention didn’t help identify the bugs until Mandy looked for an expert.
Eventually, Mandy decided to seek the assistance of Texas Invasives, a partnership dedicated to handling invasive plants and pests in the state. According to them, the bugs she recorded were called Homaemus proteus — a kind of shield-backed bug.
Specifically, those blueberry-looking bugs were still in the nymph stage. This meant that they were quite young and they would still undergo metamorphosis. Upon becoming adults, the bugs will no longer be mistaken for blueberries that can crawl.
The bugs are part of the Scuttelleridae family. Species in this group are also known as jewel bugs because of their colorful appearance. In the case of the Homaemus proteus, its once dark appearance will become a mix of brown and yellow after the metamorphosis.
Speaking of bugs that look like blueberries, what about the actual small creatures that like to linger around your blueberry plants?
These creatures not only eat blueberries but they also live in them. They are typically located in the eastern region of North America and are so small that you have to use a microscope to see them — but you won’t always need such equipment to know that they’re around.
A severe infestation of blueberry bud mites is characterized by red blisters on the blueberry buds. The scales along with the leaf and floral section are all targets of these tiny insects. If nothing is done, entire buds can get killed in just two weeks.
As its name implies, this caterpillar mainly fees on feeds on the azalea flowering shrubs. However, it’s also found on red oak, apples, and blueberries.
Thus, it’s important to note that not all caterpillars in your garden will become highly beneficial butterflies. This one is black with broken yellowish stripes and has reddish legs — and it can destroy the leaves of your blueberry plants.
But while you’d need to apply pesticide on a big population of Azalea caterpillars, you can simply get rid of them by hand if they are few in number.
In the end, it matters to pay attention to the creatures in your garden. Identifying bugs and insects help you understand whether they are beneficial or harmful to your plants. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with learning a new bug species that looks like a blueberry.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to send us a comment.