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Beneficial Insects in Your Garden
July 13, 2014
EF1 and EF0.
Tornadoes that hit the area early this past last week.
The EF1 was almost 1/4 of a mile wide and stayed on the ground for more than 6 miles.
Stopping about one mile from my place according to official reports.
I know that doesn't sound like much to you people that get the Big Tornadoes, we don't get that many in Michigan, and rarely around here.
What was scary............. there were no warnings or watches.
We weren't even under a Thunderstorm warning.
What we did learn, there is something called a spin up tornado.
A tornado that starts from ground level and grows.
Several were injured, and property loss occurred.
I can't begin to imagine a EF3-5 tornado.
Cool weather in the forecast.
This is rapidly becoming a summer that isn't.
I don't miss the 90 degree days.
I'm not missing the air you wear.
Our gardens need it however.
Especially vegetable gardens.
Past records show cooler summers after an epic winter.
Oh well, We might just as well accept it and enjoy summer.
Autumn will be here before you know it.
Thank you for all of your support on the Monsanto, GMO, and other issues.
You can do your part by passing it on, live it, and vote with your feet and money.
A bit of a healthy option follow up to last week.
Beneficial Insects feast on aphids and other insects that attack plants.
They provide considerable help in the control of many plant sucking and plant eating pests.
You and I often take this clash of the eaters and eaten for granted.
Bug attacks and ambushes on grand scale, that you and I rarely witness.
You may not realize how useful beneficial insects can be until there is a pest problem.
The average healthy garden is naturally teaming with beneficials such as lady bugs, ground beetles, hover flies, lacewings, spiders, and parasitic wasps.
Not to mention all of the pollinators.
These native helpers are an ideal method of pest control, both environmentally safe and free of cost.
Can you manage to garden without the use of pesticides?
Then you will eventually attract enough good bugs to keep the bad bugs under control.
Good bugs (Assassin Bug pictured), like any creature, need a favorable habitat to thrive.
For insect predators and parasites (wasps, etc.), this is a garden with plants and flowers that provide moisture, shelter, alternative prey and immediate nutrition from nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein).
These plants are often called "beneficial" plants because they foster beneficial insects.
Many beneficial plants are common garden varieties of cut flowers, herbs and vegetables.
They can be easily grown to create a favorable habitat for natural insect enemies.
It is not a straight-forward practice and there are no simple designs.
Beneficial plants are not a quick fix or a silver bullet.
They are actually, quite subtle about what they do, and how they do it.
(Lady Beetle larvae)
It takes a patient eye to observe and identify insects crawling and fluttering about flowers in the garden.
And the natural world is seldom predictable.
A flower may attract a beneficial in one location, but not in another.
Since each garden has its own mini eco-system, this makes decisions about which beneficial plants to grow unique and challenging.
There is a special reward in figuring out how your local insects interact with various types of flowers and plants.
Can you handle a homework assignment?
It will require you to spend a bit more time in your gardens and observing bugs of all things, instead of flowers and the birds.
With some basic knowledge and experience, it is actually possible to shape the insect ecology of your yard and garden by the types of flowering plants you grow.
Other than the occasional aphid uprising from time to time, I feel my gardens and insect issues are pretty much under control without the use of chemicals.
It takes time and patience.
weaning yourself from chemicals can be difficult, but it is possible.
In a sense, you become a steward of garden bio-diversity.
Your own little corner of the world.
The way God created it.
By growing certain flowers that fuel beneficial insects, the good bugs instincts kick in, to search out and eat pests.
After all, we design our gardens for beauty, drought-tolerance, shade gardens, rain gardens and so on, why not the ability to nurture beneficial insects?
Managing garden bio-diversity in this way is a fascinating and relatively new aspect of pest control, as far as humans go.
Teach your neighbors and family.
Natural pest control has been around since the infancy of creation.
If all goes well, the next couple of weeks, I will offer up a short list of beneficial insects and hopefully a few plants that may help attract them.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
"Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing."
Advising his daughter Martha,1787.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third President of the United States.
You've all heard the saying "An idle mind is the play ground of the Devil."
"Submit therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. God’s Word commands us."
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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