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Is something nibbling at your roses? Are there holes in your favourite plant's leaves? The culprit could be the katydid.

Katydid on rose Katydids are large green grasshopper-like insects that like to feed on the buds, flowers, leaves and fruits of a variety of plants, including roses and citrus. They particularly like the young, developing fruit of citrus. You are likely to hear them more often than see them, though, as they sing (a soft chirping sound) and feed at night, hiding in long grasses (near the plants they feed on) during the day.

In a recent publication by HortResearch, katydids were singled out as the suspected cause of deep, silver-grey scarring that occurs on the exposed surfaces of satsuma fruit.

Whilst adult katydids are green, the nymphs take on the colour of whatever they have been eating. In other words, if the nymph has been feeding on a yellow rose, it will be yellow and will remain this colour until it has moulted several times. If it has been feeding on a red flower, it will be red.

The female adults lay their eggs, which look like black seeds, onto leaves and branches.

Control: Remove any long grass around affected plants so they have nowhere to hide. At night, you can track the offenders down with a torch and catch them.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 2, 2004