In the summer of 2016 we planted a bunch of Mammoth sunflowers from seed. They are a very cool plant, they are really big! But one thing I wasn’t expecting was the habitat they provided. All summer long these plants were a swarming scene of life and death. They were infested by aphids but remained healthy all summer. The aphids attracted lady bugs, praying mantis, and wasps. Here is a pretty cool picture of a typical scene of just one leaf, click on the picture for the full size version:
I’m not sure exactly what is going on here besides a feast. I think the small white critters are larval praying mantis. We have a ton of mantis’s on our farm, it looks to me like the ladybug is eating the mantis’s instead of the aphids.