Friday, October 4, 2013

Pests in the Garden–My Garden Woes


Usually I  identify bugs or diseases that may plague gardens at one time or another.  But this summer has been particularly troublesome to me in my garden. 
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This simple container has a simple Hosta in it.  And due to the lack of  rain we had during July and August, I decided that I could hand water this border fairly easily.  Actually, I love to hand water – no sarcasm intended. Being outdoors – no TV, no noisy washing machine, and no cooking – is my idea of heaven.  That is until………….
yellow jackets nest

I watered the container.  At first just a few yellow jackets appeared, then they must have called out the Calvary!  An no, I did not stop to take pictures.
swarming
Never dreamed that many would nest in a container like that?
duster to kill bees
So hubby found some insecticide powder – Sevin® – and got a duster from the shed, and after two days and pounds of powder, we finally felt we could walk into the back yard without getting attacked!

Japanese Beetles and Cicadas did their annual visit to the garden as well. 

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Neither of these flying creatures will hurt fingers or arms, but I just can’t get past the bbbzzzzzz, as they fly around my head.  I have been know to flail about the yard like a crazy woman – but that is another story.
 
The cicada killer wasp was the next pest that swarmed our yard.  They hovered around the grass by the dozens.

cicada killer wasps

And I must say, I made very few walks around the yard for the month or so they were present. The cicada killer wasp is very intimidating.  It has large jaws, and the females have stingers.

cicada killer dragging cicadacicado killer wasp carrying cicada

After she stings the cicada, the killer wasp will deposit the cicada into an intricate structure of tunnels with chambers.  The cicada that is immobilized is dragged into a chamber and the female killer wasp will deposit an egg into the penetrated shell she made with her stinger.  The cicada – still alive – remains in the chamber until the egg hatches.  Then the grub will eat off of the cicada, until it emerges from the chamber.  The grub eventually creates a cocoon and develops into a cicada killer wasp.


Oh, but my pest encounters were not over! 


Ant hills 18 inches high and 2 feet wide were the scene of, once again, some major applications of insecticides.  I believe the hills are ruined, but the colony moved into the back border, and into several containers too.  At this point, the ants have won the battle, but I’m not conceding the war!

Lastly, and I certainly hope it is the last pest we have to deal with, is a mole.  If you followed my garden renovation last season, you will know that we spent quite a lot of time, grading the area, and sowing grass seed.  I must say, I was really happy with the results.

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We first noticed the raised tunnels in this bed.  We got Mole Repellant we sprayed onto the garden.  Now, we have tunnels in the new lawn. Moles eat worms, so here is another – ‘if you build it, (a healthy organic lawn) they – the worms and the moles – will come.”

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We move the trap, seen here, every day.  And every day we find new tunnels and mounds of dirt.  The spring-hinged prongs are supposed to push into the tunnels as the lil’critter passes under it.

Hubby is becoming another Chevy Chase of Caddy Shack fame. Every day he is out there setting his traps, and stomping the ground down. (As if the mole cares!)  So this saga is continuing, and I’m rather enjoying watching these scenes play out.


I have to keep joking about such pests, for to not do so may drive me out of the garden for good.  I have to share and play well with others. Hopefully, we can come to a resolution that will benefit the pests and my garden.
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