|An intact flower for comparison.|
Last week I was looking forward to enjoying the beauty of an inflorescence of Renanthera monachica with all its flowers open. Distressingly, I found that something had damaged the open flowers and some of the buds. But it was not obvious which animal was causing the damage. I visited the flowers several times during the day and then found that the culprit for the damage was a native orchid beetle, Statobaris polita. I checked all my other orchids and the only one that had beetles was the Renanthera. I only use pesticides as a weapon of last resort. What I do with these weevils is that when I find them in flowers, I put a small cup with a combination of detergent and alcohol under the flower and then I shake the flower gently. The weevils will react by helpfully dropping into the cup and partaking of the detergent and the alcohol. These weevils are a seasonal pest, months can go by without one showing on the flowers and then they start to appear, but never in large numbers. At the peak of their infestation I can find five to ten a week in the flowers. They had not been a problem before the exotic orchid Sphatoglottis plicata established large populations in the forest. I saw the first Sphatoglottis plant in the forest, a white one, in 2004, now they are common and in some places downright abundant.