Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Erradicate Bugs While Having Fun

You want to keep the Praying Mantis~ they are fierce warriors!

Some insects are beneficial and others require extermination. It may also be noted that most insects are very selective about what they choose to eat. The same insect that has an affinity for dahlias may avoid the delphinium growing next to it. Gardeners are basically pacifist so it is necessary to occasionally accept advice from The Art of War; victory may be achieved only when one knows the enemy. In order to evaluate the damage caused by insects, one needs to inspect the plants, preferably prior to wantonly killing every beneficial insect with widespread and random spraying. With overzealous spraying the Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis, both beneficial, will meet the same fate as the Aphids. Cut worms must die, but the plump Striped Swallow Tail caterpillar eating the Dill should be left to cocoon then emerge as the lovely butterfly later in the season.

There is an easy at-home solution to make for the 'bug project'. Take a cup of warm water, squirt a little dish washing detergent and cooking oil into it, grab some plastic gloves and hand pluck the unfavorable worms and insects dropping them in your 'solution'. (Make sure it has a lid) It is fun garden entertainment that certainly beats television reruns, and is also quite empowering. Fill a spray bottle with the same and watch as those nasty red and black beetles nesting in piles of old leaves writhe and die.

As the summer heats up, no doubt the garden will suffer with the arrival of hoards of blister bugs, grasshoppers and other detestable vermin, but for now, it does not seem impossible to keep it under control with the hands-on approach. Have fun!