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Hover Flies
August 10, 2020

I am in awe, and deeply touched by the hundreds of responses on my standing down.

I was in tears as I read your emials.

I wish I could respond to each and every one of you.

To be clear, I am not offended by religious or political remarks.

Just tired of it all.

I grew up in a big family, besides,

"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world".

1 John 4:4

Ugliness seems to be a normal thing these days.

Besides, men and women of this great country continue to fight and die, so we all have the rights we have.

What I need is to be kind to myself.

To give me, some me time.

Me time can be sitting around doing nothing.

Maybe reading a book, spending time with family.

Relaxing and watching more of nature, that is for sure.

I do need to spend more time in the bible and with my God.

A reader reminded me that even Jesus, needed some time to himself.

"It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God".

Luke 6:12

"In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there".

Mark 1:35

There are other verses as well.

Tuesday we are going to 'Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore', with our oldest daughter and some grand kids, and my great grand daughter.

We will return sometime Thursday.

We've taken them before, but now there are a couple of younger ones that are old enough to remember this trip.

Every child deserves to hike up and run down the dune climb.

Sleeping Bear is the worlds largest, fresh water dunes and the vistas are spectacular when you are 450/500 foot above Lake Michigan.

Plus some history for me as well.

Possibly hit a tourist town or two on our journey.

I wont be able to respond for a few days.

The yard is a buzz with hummers now.

I Love Hummingbirds.

The feeders aren't the place of action, it is all the flowers.

Monarda is winding down, yet there is the Red Salvia, Hibiscus, Lantana, and Butterfly bush.

Hummers enjoy the nectar of phlox, Agatache (Hyssop), and of course, Black and Blue Salvia.

Black and Blue is a striking tender perennial  (hardy to zone 7/8 and can grow to 4 or 5 feet tall.

I have kept my original Black and Blue alive in my SW. Michigan garden for 13 years now.

Place a large bag of leaves on the pruned back crown to keep the ground from freezing.

Pull the bag off in spring and your plant should still be alive.

(I've been told by one or two of you that this has been a successful technique for you too.)

You can also take cuttings to root more plants, seed harvesting is a challenge, but can be done.

The hummers love the nectar rich blue/purple colored trumpet shaped flowers.

A bonus..............

Black and blue like many salvia and sage is critter resistant.

This week in "Gardening For Wildlife" I will touch on one of the good guys from the insect world.


The Hover Fly:

One of the good guys.

Also called the flower fly by some.

Yes, they are true members of the diptera or fly family.

More than 6,000 species of Hover fly have been identified world wide.

More than 900 species in North America and at least 60 in the United Kingdom.

What is a hover fly, and why do I want them in my yard and gardens?

I'm glad you asked,.

Hover flies serve double duty.

Adult flies are pollinators.

Flying in and out of or flower beds and veggie gardens.

To the uninformed or the untrained eye, many species of hover flies resemble wasps and bees in appearance.

A couple of sure ways to really know if it is a wasp/bee or a totally harmless hover fly is to observe.

Like most flies, hover flies have those huge eyes, and fly like wings.

However, the real give away is the flight of a hover fly.

Yes indeed, hover flies do indeed hover.

Like our hummingbirds, hover flies can move up and down, front and back.

They hover, move side to side and do it right now.

Hover flies are unique as their wings operate much like a hummer.

While wasps/bees and many other insects have two sets of wings. hover flies operate with a single set of wings.

Nature has provided several species of hover fly to look and act like a wasp or bee.

Many have similar colors and markings.

Some mimic a bee's actions and movements.

Even to the point of pretending to sting.

Hover flies lack extended antennae so some flies will extend their front legs to look like antennae.

Isn't "Creation" marvelous?

Hover flies or flower flies earn their weight in gold in the larval state.

Many hover fly larvae spend time under water eating decaying plant material or hanging out on the floor of your gardens doing the same.

Some hover fly larvae are ravenous feeders on garden insects like thrips, aphids and other insects that suck the life out of your plants.

They also attack the larvae of other insects as well.

Yes, larvae or maggots of the hover fly are on the front lines of biological warfare in your gardens.

Hover fly larvae eat more aphids than our beloved 'Lady Bugs'.

(Hover Fly Larvae)

More and more research is happening on biological warfare and beneficial insects.

Millions of dollars in damage is done to crops every year by aphids alone and the humble Hover fly larvae is now leading the way in chemical free battles.

Yes, These relatives of the house fly are truly a marvel in the garden.

Before you swat, stomp or spray away, take a moment.

Are you watching the mighty yet humble "Hover Fly"?

Hover fly adults and larvae also provide a source of food to your backyard birds.

I suppose this would make them an insect that pulls triple duty.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me".

Psalm 17:6-9

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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