Friday 18 November 2011

Natural Pest Control

I am always keen to photograph aspects of insects' behaviour and a recent blog post discussed and illustrated the relationship between ants and aphids. But no discussion of the ant-aphid relationship is complete without mentioning the role played by ladybirds. Ants provide protection to aphids against predators (and are paid for their protection services in the form of honeydew) and ladybirds are perhaps the most notable predator of aphids.

In recent years I have therefore actively sought opportunities to photograph the interactions between ants, aphids and ladybirds. While I have yet to capture the skirmishes between ants and ladybirds, this summer I did get the opportunity to photograph ladybirds feeding on aphids, as shown below.

All images taken with a Canon 60D with MP-E 65mm macro lens and heavily diffused MT-24EX twin flash. The settings for each image were f13, 1/160, ISO 100.


The following sequence appears to show the aphids fighting back, though whether they really had such an intention is unclear. Sadly for them, their resistance proved futile!