Maltese Nature

Rosemary leaf beetle (Chrysolina americana)

The rosemary leaf beetle is a common beetle that lives on rosemary and other herbs. Its scientific name is Chrysolina americana. Despite its scientific name, it is a native of southern Europe. In the early 1990s it appeared in Britain and during the last decade it has become an established pest on rosemary, lavender and related plants.
It is an attractive beetle with metallic green and purple stripes down its back. . In the sunlight these stripes reflect all the colours of the rainbow – rather like oil on water. This effect is very beautiful to see but difficult to capture on camera.
It is usually found in groups on stems or feeding on the new growth of plants. The larvae are small slug-like grubs which are usually found on the underside of leaves. They are light grey with horizontal dark stripes running the length of their body.
Their favourite food plant, the rosemary is a medium-sized bush of the Mediterranean, recognised by its narrow fleshy leaves, small pale blue flowers and more than anything else by its typical aromatic smell. The bush is usually about one metre high but when hanging down from a vertical rock face it can grow up to two metres. It flowers throughout the year.
The rosemary leaf beetle, known in Maltese as żabbella tal-klin, belongs to the Chrysomelidae family, a group of beetles known as the leaf beetles. This is a family of over 35,000 species, one of the largest and most commonly-encountered of all beetle families. About 60 of these species are found in the Maltese islands. Another common member of this large family is the red leaf beetle, żabbella ħamra in Maltese, which is found in vegetation in the countryside. Adult and larval leaf beetles feed on all sorts of plant tissue. Many are economically important pests of agriculture.
This article was published in The Times on 05.01.2010

(Last Updated On: May 13, 2014)

The fourlined plant bug is attractively striped in yellow and black, with an orange head.

The fourlined plant bug, Poecilocapsus lineatus, is a small, attractively colored insect that is active right now. I just received a question and picture of this insect attacking tomatoes in Denton county. Don’t be fooled by its pretty face, though. This insect has been recorded as a pest from about 250 different plant species, both herbaceous and woody plants. Herbs, mints, and composite flowers seem to be especially favored.

What makes the fourlined plant bug unique is the rather severe damage (see image) that can be caused by relatively few individuals. Its damage is one of the most severe for a leaf-feeding bug of this size, according to USDA scientists who recently reported on the feeding behavior of these insects. They found that the four-lined plant bug’s saliva, produced by unusually large salivary glands, making up 15-20% of the insect’s body weight. In addition the saliva itself packs a special punch. Special enzymes attack the glue that holds plant cells together, causing pits in the leaves where the cells literally collapse after feeding. Pitted areas eventually turn black or translucent, and may eventually drop out of the leaf, leaving holes that sometimes looks more like a caterpillar than a sap-feeding insect.

Fourlined plant bug damage on tomato. Photo by Janet Laminack.

Damage to shasta daisy from the fourlined plant bug.

Most of the damage seems to be caused by the nymph stage. By the time adults appear much of the damage has been done.

Treatments for fourlined plant bugs include insecticidal soaps, oils or other insecticides labeled for the plant attacked. Soaps and oils will be most effective on the wingless nymphs. Sevin, malathion, and some of the newer pyrethroids, such as cyfluthrin and permethrin, should work well against both nymphs and adults. If a close inspection of the plant reveals no insects, don’t treat.

Carpet Beetles are Welcome in my House if it Means not Having Bed Bugs!

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What kind of bug is THAT?

Identifying your occasional pest infestation

Have you ever spied a bug dashing across your kitchen floor or scurrying under a baseboard and thought, “What in the world is that?” It’s clearly not a “common” pest like, say, a cockroach or spider. It’s something… different. If you’ve ever had this experience, the bug in question likely falls in a category we call “occasional invaders.”

As their name implies, occasional invaders are pests that, on occasion, may find their way into our homes, but are not as common as frequent household pests, such as ants, rodents or termites.

Some occasional invaders pose more serious threats than others. To determine the risk to your family, you will need to identify the species. A trained pest professional will be able to properly identify a pest species and its threats, but you can also use this guide to do your best at determining what may be lurking within your home:

Boxelder Bugs

  • What to look for: Boxelder bugs are black with distinct reddish or orange markings on their dorsum and have an elongated, somewhat flattened shape.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: These bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees. These occasional invaders congregate on the south sides of buildings, where the sun hits, and may migrate indoors during the fall. You might see them in small cracks and crevices in walls. They’ll reemerge in the spring.
  • Watch out for: Boxelder bugs are not known to bite, but their piercing-sucking mouthparts can occasionally puncture skin, producing a red spot similar to a mosquito bite. When crushed, boxelder bugs may leave a reddish orange stain from their fecal material that can result in discoloration of curtains, drapes, clothing, etc.


  • What to look for: Centipedes are sometimes called “hundred-leggers” because of their many pairs of legs. They are yellowish to dark brown with darker stripes.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: Centipedes are typically found in areas of high moisture. Indoors, this means they hang out in damp basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms, or potted plants.
  • Watch out for: House centipedes have poison jaws with which they inject venom into their prey. If handled roughly, some larger species can inflict a painful bite that can break human skin and causes pain and swelling, similar to a bee sting.


  • What to look for: Millipedes are often confused with centipedes, but tend to look more “wormlike” in appearance. They are sometimes called “thousand-leggers” and are blackish or brownish, sometimes with red or orange patterns.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: Most millipedes are nocturnal. They are typically found in areas of high moisture and decaying vegetation, such as under trash, in piles of grass clippings or piles of leaves. Millipedes do not usually survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are high moisture conditions and a food supply is present.
  • Watch out for: Some millipede species give off a foul-smelling fluid through openings along the sides of the body. Underscoring the importance of millipede control, this fluid can be toxic to small animals and pets, and can cause small blisters on humans.


  • What to look for: Earwigs have elongated, flattened bodies and forcep-like cerci that are used to defend themselves and capture prey. They are generally reddish brown to black.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: Earwigs tend to occur in groups. They feed on plants and prefer moist, shady locations.
  • Watch out for: Contrary to folklore, earwigs do not crawl into ears at night. They do not spread diseases, but their menacing appearance can be alarming.

House crickets

  • What to look for: In the case of house crickets, you’re more likely to hear them before you see them. They are known for their loud chirping which is caused by rubbing their front wings together to attract females.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: House crickets are active at night and usually hide in dark warm places during the day. They are often attracted to electric lights in larger numbers, sometimes by the thousands, and rest on vertical surfaces such as light poles and house walls.
  • Watch out for: Crickets can feast on fabrics and carpets, eating large areas, leaving holes and they are especially attracted to clothes soiled with perspiration.


  • What to look for: You may know these dark brown or black bugs as “rollie-pollies,” named for their habit of rolling into a ball when disturbed. They are easily recognized by their back, which is made up of seven hard individual plates.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: Pillbugs are most active at night. They live in moist locations and are usually found under damp objects such as trash, rocks, or decaying vegetation, where they remain hidden during the day to reduce water loss. They sometimes find their way indoors via door thresholds, especially around sliding glass doors. A home invasion typically means there is a large population immediately outside the building.
  • Watch out for: Pillbugs cause no damage and are considered a nuisance pest indoors.


  • What to look for: Silverfish get their name from their silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like shape and movements. They have no wings, but are able to run very fast.
  • Where you’re likely to spot them: Silverfish are typically seen in moist, humid areas in the home, such as bathrooms, basements, and attics. Silverfish can live up to a year without food, but require a high-humidity environment.
  • Watch out for: These bugs feed on paper items like wallpaper and books, glue, clothing and foods including flour and rolled oats. They tend to hide their presence from humans, which means any damage they have caused could go unnoticed as well.

If you are concerned about occasional invaders getting in your home, there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent them from gaining access. If you suspect an infestation of an occasional invader pest, work with a licensed pest professional to properly identify the species and determine the best way to treat the problem.


Allllright! Generations is finally here!!! I made one of these for MH4U so I decided to update it for MHGen. A few minor, but necessary changes here and there.

1) Welcome to Mushroom Hunter Generations:

Unlike the demo, the full game does not spoil you with all these great, useful items in your pouch for a quest. At the start of the game you’re expected to gather A LOT of materials and buy what you need. Yeah, it does break the mood and action, but you can’t survive if you’re not prepared!

Here are the most essential:

  • Herb + Blue Mushroom = Potion
  • Potion + Honey = Mega Potion

A little more advanced, but useful nonetheless:

  • Godbug + Blue Mushroom = Nutrients
    Nutrients + Honey = Mega Nutrients
    Mega Nutrients + Dragon Toadstool = Max Potion
  • Honey + Bitterbug = Catalyst
    Catalyst + Dragon Toadstool = Immunizer
    Immunizer + Kelbi Horn = Ancient Potion

You can carry 10 potions, 10 mega potions, 2 max potions and 1 ancient potion at a time, don’t just stick to one or the other. The more, the merrier!

Whetstones, antidotes, cold/hot drinks, and ammo/coatings will be available for sale. These are the crucial items for most of your hunts.

2) Everyone loves Lifepowders (well, the vast majority do):

Keep reading

Rosemary Vs. Lavender: SPICEography Showdown

Rosemary and lavender are two herbs that can be similar enough in appearance that you could easily mistake them for each other. If you want to use one or the other, you should understand what makes each special. Let’s break down their similarities and differences in another SPICEography Showdown.

How do rosemary and lavender differ from each other?

One key difference between rosemary and lavender has to do with the main flavors of each herb. Rosemary has a flavor that has elements of pine resin and of tea. Lavender has a softer flavor with less intensity. Its flavor is mainly a floral one accompanied by notes that are simultaneously fruity and woody. Lavender’s lack of intensity is what sets it apart from rosemary since it is the better-suited herb for playing a background role. These differences affect when in the cooking time you should add each herb.

The ease of finding these herbs is another important difference between them. You can find rosemary easily in the spice aisles of most grocery stores; lavender much less so. Lavender has always been a rarely used herb that is difficult to find outside of herbes de Provence blends.

If your recipe calls for one, can you use the other?

Both herbs have some major differences as noted above, but they are similar enough that you can use each in place of the other in some cases. Consider the fact that they are both highly aromatic members of the mint family, which gives them certain biological factors in common. The resinous, piney aroma of rosemary can be interchanged with the floral notes of lavender in many dishes but not in all.

The heavier pine and tea notes of rosemary may not be a great fit for the desserts in which lavender is often used. You will also want to avoid using fresh rosemary as a lavender substitute in any dish that would require you to use the herb raw. Fresh rosemary is far too pungent to be used in an uncooked dish. The relatively subtle flavor of lavender means that it cannot be used in exactly the same way that you would use rosemary. You will have to add it later in the cooking process and even then it will most likely blend in with any other strong flavors in the dish rather than move to the forefront the way that rosemary will.

When should you use rosemary and when should you use lavender?

Reserve rosemary for pork and other fatty meats where it can help to cut through the fat. It is also great for taming game meats and other flavorful proteins. Because the flavor of rosemary is so assertive and because this herb can stand up to long cooking times, you would be better off using it in dishes that contain liquid and that will cook for a long time.

Lavender is a much milder herb and is thus more appropriate for dishes with ingredients that are not as flavorful. Lavender can be used to flavor chicken and other savory ingredients that have light flavors. Lavender works best when you use it in a dish that will not cook for very long or if you add it near the end of the cooking time. Use lavender to flavor desserts like cookies and scones or in a simple syrup to flavor beverages, ice cream, and other sweets.

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