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Red and Yellow Bugs

Question:

What are the little red and yellow bugs on my hibiscus? It appears to have a web attached, but looks like a beetle.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

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L from ILL

Answer:

L,

Hibiscus are relatively problem-free plants, so without a picture it's hard for me to say exactly what's invading your hibiscus. The most common invaders include aphids and Japanese beetles. Symptoms of an aphid infestation include yellowish distorted leaves, which are often covered by a clear sticky substance called honeydew. Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that come in a variety of colors. They are leaf "suckers" and although they won't usually end up killing a plant, they can stunt its growth and attract black sooty mold.

Japanese beetles are leaf "chewers." They will skeletonize leaves when feeding on them. They are easy to identify with their metallic blue or green armor and coppery wing covers.

At times hibiscus can also become infested with spider mites or white flies. The webbing you describe sounds like spider mites, which do not look like beetles, but rather tiny, spider-like creatures with eight legs and no antennae, thoraxes or wings. They are usually reddish-brown or pale in color.

Because none of these sounds exactly like what you're describing, perhaps you have a combination of bugs. The type of damage may also help you identify them. I would suggest searching this website (scroll down to bug info on the homepage) http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ or even better, checking out the University of Illinois Extension Integrated Pest Management pages at http://www.ipm.uiuc.edu/insects.html

Ellen

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