Galling Insects

I'm not sure why (though I think our cool, wet spring may play a role), but this year we've been hit with a whole lotta bugs out in the garden.

There was, of course, the plague of cutworms and the rose slug scourge. There are also currently an absolute shit-ton of aphids on my chamomile, which has never happened before. That's not affecting the crop of flowers, although it is making picking them kind of disgusting, as I end up with squished aphids under my fingernails as I pinch off the blossoms. Luckily, several ladybugs have moved in to take care of them, so hopefully my next round of harvesting won't be so gross.

Strangest of all, though, is what we found on our Concord grapes:

Kirk's knee-jerk diagnosis was that we were facing an alien invasion, and that I should not bring the leaf inside the house ("That's just what they want you to do!"). I rolled my eyes, took my chances, and hit the internet.

Based on actual facts and not science fiction, it looks like we have a touch of Grape Blister Gall. These red blisters on the grape leaves are caused by insects called midges. They lay eggs on the leaves, and when the maggots (gross) hatch, they burrow into the leaf tissue and start eating, causing the blisters. Eventually they mature and exit the blister through a tiny hole:

Those white dots are the pin-prick-sized exit holes, so this leaf no longer has any bugs in it. It turns out that these bugs aren't very damaging to the grapes, and since we only had just a few, we don't have to worry about it. 

And, as you can see above, the Concord vines are doing well and (so far) are laden with fruit. We have high hopes that more will ripen this year than last, and that in a couple months we can start thinking about grape jelly and juice. 

But for now, we wait, and hope not to jinx our harvest by planning too far ahead. After all, you never can tell what kind of bug is going to invade the garden next.


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