elderflower crawling with minuscule bugs!

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Sorry to say that Selfsufficientish or anyone who posts on here is liable to make a mistake when it comes to identification so we can't be liable for getting it wrong.
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Jandra
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elderflower crawling with minuscule bugs!

Post: #104645 Jandra
Thu May 22, 2008 10:18 am

Hi all,

Armed with bag and scissors I went collecting elderflowers this morning. Got about 15 'umbels' (anyone uses this word? It's what my dictionary tells me is the name for flowers of an umbellifer....) and went to clipping off the green stems right after returning home.

To my dismay each umbel didn't only yield sweet smelling blossom, but also about a thousand (only slightly exaggerated, truly!) tiny crawly insects of less than a mm length.

Loath to dispose of my harvest I proceeded and then kept moving the flowers from one bowl to another (in between cleaning the bowls) until much fewer creepy crawlies came out. My, thus unfortunately much reduced, volume of blossoms now sits in the deep freezer which will hopefully cause massive death among the elerflower insects.

In my mind they will drop to the bottom of the bowl when they have died after which I can lift of the flowers and process them as intended. If this will happen in reality remains to be seen.

Anyone any experience with these bugs? I couldn't find anything about them on the net. When I search for insects and elderflower I get only advice to remove any insects before processing the blossom. Ha! Not a snowballs chance in hell with these buggers.

Please help?

TIA, Jandra
(who feels slightly itchy now)

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Post: #104652 eztiger
Thu May 22, 2008 10:54 am

aphids perhaps :? Image
mine are covered in them but black ones :(
my elderflowers that is :wink:
i found this but if your using the flowers i dont suppose this is any good?http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/problems/homemade-aphid-control-a-natural-way-to-kill-aphids.htm

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Post: #104654 Jandra
Thu May 22, 2008 11:05 am

Thanks for the suggestion. No, they're definitely not aphids as I know them. They are smaller, much more slender, rather fast. The bigger ones (still no bigger than a mm or so) are black/dark brown, the smaller ones a lighter brown.

They (or many of them) dropped out of the flower as soon as I handled it and started scurrying up the walls of the bowl.

Some are still populating my kitchen counter (brrrrr, going to wipe it once more).

Jandra

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Post: #104660 eztiger
Thu May 22, 2008 11:16 am

are you able to post a pic?
someone might know what they are :mrgreen:
and how to get rid of the blighters :wink:

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Post: #104676 MKG
Thu May 22, 2008 11:51 am

THis one has me flummoxed. I've found a few references to a couple of types of miner moths and bugs, but the evidence of the presence of those would be all over the leaves. One, though, mentioned that elder infestations of "bug nymphs" sometimes occur, and it's the nectar they're after. If so, a good shake and, as you've already done, an efficient drowning, should see 'em off. You could spray, I suppose, but then you wouldn't be able to use the flowers.

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Post: #104700 Jandra
Thu May 22, 2008 3:25 pm

Image

Continued: In frozen condition the critters were easy enough to make a picture of. Fortunately we have a camera with a great macro feature.

I have taken out the frozen blossom and a fair amount of bugs lay in the bottom of the bowl. The blossoms are now covered with boiling water and I’m going to forget there were any critters still in them. Yes, I’m determined to forget. Or to consider them an extra source of protein. I’m sure I got most of them out and I’ll make sure to boil the sirup/cordial well before putting it in jars. That should take care of any nasties, I hope.

Jandra

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Post: #104705 eztiger
Thu May 22, 2008 4:10 pm

couple of glass`s of it and you`ll forget the "extra" ingredient :lol:

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Post: #104707 Hedgehogpie
Thu May 22, 2008 4:20 pm

They look like what we used to call 'Thunderbugs' when we were kids. I'm afraid I don't know the correct name for them, but they usually turn up in their hundreds on hot, still, humid days (i.e the sort of days that often develop into thundery showers).

I was the same with am oyster mushroom I had once, that was riddled with tiny maggots. Although I knew they were harmless and I could've toughed it out and cooked the thing it still made me squirm to think of them. :oops:

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Post: #104710 Silver Ether
Thu May 22, 2008 5:30 pm


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Post: #104711 MKG
Thu May 22, 2008 5:31 pm

And thunderbugs (thunder flies) is what they are - a species of thrips. Every fire and burglar alarm company in the country would like to know how to stop those things getting inside detectors.

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Post: #104720 Jandra
Thu May 22, 2008 6:28 pm

Thrips! Thank you for identifying this pest.

Later today I found a location where I can gather elderflowers which don't have as much as an infestation of thrips. Though there were some. I think that's where I'll gather more as progressively more umbels are in bloom.

Anyway, you guys are great. I didn't have a clue.

Thanks again, Jandra

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Post: #104727 Shirley
Thu May 22, 2008 7:01 pm

Fab photo!! No doubt you'll be straining before bottling anyway so they'll be no crunchy bits in your syrup :flower:
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Post: #107078 MrsD'ville
Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:18 pm

I didn't have thrips but mine today were quite buggy. A friend told me it's the pollen that really makes the cordial taste good and of course you lose that by rinsing, so I bravely didn't rinse and instead am relying on filtering out the livestock tomorrow! I didn't think of freezing, a good solution for next time.
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Post: #107104 red
Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:17 pm

I'm finding a lot of blackfly on elderflowers this year :cry:
shame cos we have a tree thats in full bloom and unusable.. still hopefully there will be berries later..
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Post: #107190 Hedgehogpie
Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:40 pm

Get yourself a nice deep bowl, and taking each flowerhead, give it a good sharp rap over it. Most if not all of your unwelcome guests should depart at the first try, but repeat if necessary.

You can then take the bowl and release the little critters back into the wild (or wash them down the sink if you're less worried about Karma.) :lol:

After you've finished, process the flowerheads as normal.


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