Sap Suckers by Stella M. Turk MBE

Blackfly, whitefly, greenfly
But not all can fly!
And when there’s environmental change
There comes a need for a different range.
Then wingless ‘females only’ for generations
Will produce winged males for explorations
Heralding a new genetic mix
To exploit fresh survival tricks.
When balance is restored again
Females once more supremely reign,
For they’re very fast breeders
As well as fast feeders.
I’ve seen them clustered on bamboo*
Where ants milk them for ‘honeydew’.
The ants can give them some protection
From certain larvae** that avoid detection
Disguised to make them look quite guileless,
Their large jaws prove they are not harmless.
Despite providing a feast
For many a bird and beast,
Blackfly, whitefly, greenfly
Can make the strongest gardener cry!

Stella M Turk MBE

May 2008

Stellas notes:

*This was a Japanese species of aphid in prodigious numbers on a Japanese species of bamboo: even the slates below the bamboo were sticky with honeydew!

**The larva of a hoverfly (Syrphidae) which disguises itself with its shed skins.


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