I think this year there are multiple perpetrators. During the day the worst is a little hardshelled black beetle about the size and shape of a grain of rice. Buds that are showing color are being eaten into at night. That could well be Japanese beetles, but could also be caterpillars of some sort. Both are plentiful at the moment. The damage may be a secondary function of the drought. Not nearly as many food choices available as normal. Usually this doesn't happen in early and mid-season, but toward the end of bloom season when it turns hot. I don't attempt to grow many late season bloomers for that reason. I'm seeing a lot of insects early that I generally don't see until later. The wind and heat has prevented me from getting any pollen. The stamens are drying without fluffing. With the temps, probably just as well.
--- In email@example.com, Jan Lauritzen <janicelauritzen@...> wrote:
> Very pretty, Donald. Which bugs eat the buds? I have problems with the
> Japanese Beetles eating the white or very pale blue/violet ones a little later
> in the season but not this early. Of course, the earwigs can eat any of the
> flowers overnight.
> Jan in Chatsworth
> From: Donald Eaves <donald@...>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Sat, April 2, 2011 7:20:32 PM
> Subject: [iris-photos] AB: ARABIAN sUN
> This is new for me. Introduced via the ASI Plant Sale last year, this Pete
> McGrath AB is really something different with the pale signal. I've
> included two photos because in my harsh Texas sun it faded from a creamy
> yellow to near white. So the photo from today is on top and the one when it
> opened on 3/31 is the bottom.
> I can't believe it survived that long, either. It's way too warm for this
> early in the season. If the bugs aren't eating the buds before they open,
> they are generally demolished by the end of the first day. That's on the
> few blooms that are showing up. I did blow a bunch of the little beasties
> off the bloom before I took the photo, so I expect it'll be demolished along
> with the new blooms on the plant by tomorrow. They've found the plant now.
> I think this is shaping up to be the most dismal bloom season I've ever had.
> Donald Eaves
> Texas Zone 7b, USA