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Use a Digital Camera to Find Bugs on Plants

If you were really good this year you like thousands of others have probably unwrapped a Digital Camera and you're playing around with the things right now. You're probably thinking of all the family and vacation photos that you will be taking with it but have you thought about what a great resource it is for you as a gardener?

You can snap a few pictures of that unknown plant and take them to a garden forum and get an id in minutes. Similarly you can take photos of prized daylily and share it with other enthusiasts on your blog. You can show off your garden on your website and your favorite plants in any number of ways with one. You can create calendars and mugs and all sorts of ephemera related to your garden or plants.

But it can also be a valuable tool in keeping your garden or plants happy and healthy. Say for example some strange and contorted growth on your plant has you puzzled you can snap a pic and carry it to your garden center and ask an expert what the problem is. You can also use it to look for pests in your plants like I happened to do the other day, accidentally mind you.

I was using my brother's sony cybershot camera To get a couple of Cacti & Succulents identified on the GW C&S forum. Later in the day I was going through the photos deleting the really bad ones. When I decided to zoom in really close on a particular Euphorbia O. that I had taken a picture of . It wasn't until I zoomed into the photo at about 200% that I spotted something that wasn't right. Take into consideration that the plant in this photo is about the size of a quarter.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And you have to zoom in real close but once you do it's pretty clear that I've been a negligent plant keeper.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Because if I had not been slacking my Euphorbia Obesa would not have Mealy Bugs. But I'm cutting myself some slack because even at the age of 29 I couldn't have spotted this bug with my naked eyes. When I spotted it in the picture I went back to look at the plant and could not see it without the help of a magnifying glass. I can't imagine having any better luck trying to find a pest of this size the older I get and the worse my eyes get.

Forget a hoe, bulb planter or a telescopic rake a Digital Camera is the tool that a gardener shouldn't be without. You can see some of my Digital Camera recommendations *here*- they range from cameras that a good for a family and everyday use to something with a little more bells and whistles.


  1. Excellent pictures, and you're totally right about digital cameras as your best friend... For me, one of their most useful functions in the garden is just as a way to keep track of what blooms when and how big plants get. I tag my garden photos in Picasa, and pretty regularly I sort through them to remind myself of what looked great, where bulbs are planted, and also just to marvel at how quickly things grow here in Florida...

    Good gardening!

  2. Anonymous2:18 PM

    You're right and if you're halfway decent in photo editing you can use your camera to give you and idea of what something would look like in your garden, before you buy and pull out the shovel.

  3. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Oh my goodness! I am glad you spotted that! Ok, Next question: What is this little bug, and how did you get rid of it? I could look up information about this bug too, but I would like to know what you did to get rid of it and then how were you sure that you had gotten rid of it? .... besides using your favorite digital tool :) ?

    I like the information that you put up! thanks for sharing so that other gardeners can benefit too! :)

  4. @Anonymous, The bug in the picture is a mealy bug. The usual advice is to dab them with rubbing alcohol. Although I find spearing them with a toothpic is a lot faster and quicker way of seeing results.



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