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JI: Cult: acid lovin' critters

My earlier post on acidizing water for Japanese Iris has had an unlooked for side effect.
When I first began pouring vinegar into a bowl to spoon out into gallon jugs I noticed it would attract many small black insects, which would drown in the stuff. I thought they were gnats, being at the age where small print or bugs are no longer easily readable.
It was while on the track of another phenomenon, sudden infant death syndrome in JI, where a new start suddenly turns brown, then black, then gray and is dead to the bone, that more information turned up.
But first a digression:
When SIDS-JI symptoms first appeared, a close inspection showed the culprit to be aphids.
Aphid bites, being vectors for fungal disease, appear to be doubly deadly in the moist environment JI normally thrive in.
Armed with this new knowledge and my trusty bottle of soapy water, I began close inspection of all iris in my JI bed and discovered them covered with the same small black bugs attracted to a sour death in my vinegar. Realizing now they were not gnats, but something looking and acting more like the flea beetles that attack potatoes and especially egg plant, I soaped them all down too.
I noted that they were invariably at the base of the plant, where I was watering with my acided water - the acid-loving bug.
I do not think they are flea beetles, which make holes in the leaves. These are apparently there mostly for vinegar, or whatever acid tastes they can find. My guess is they would be common among windfall apples in an orchard late in the year.
Probably a magnifying glass is called for. They look almost like miniature snails, which I'm sure they are not. On well-established Siberians where I have watered the foliage rather than the base only, they are up on the leaves, with no apparent sign of leaf damage, giving credence to my theory they are after the acid.
Any entomological guesstimates as to what I have here? They appear to be relatively benign to the plants - but watch those aphids on JI - they are deadly.

James Brooks
Jonesborough, TN
Persimmon Katz
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