10 October 2007

White Flies, Skippers, Grasshoppers and Spiders

BUGS
Insects were the topic of gardening today. The top photo is a skipper that became positively drowned in the nectar of a Texas Petunia.

Most of the afternoon was spent spraying Neem oil on the vegetable garden in an effort to reduce the white fly population. They are on everything - wax beans, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, marigolds - everything. Each leaf of each plant was turned over and sprayed individually so the flowers on the veggies were not sprayed.

I have to confess the cloud of them on the marigolds surprised me since I thought their pungent smell would keep the white flies away.


Grasshoppers are eating whatever they can get their mouths on. We have been chasing them away from devouring our 10-feet tall castor bean leaves but there is no hope of reducing their population. We just deal with them one by one.

The spiders have strings, webs and nests everywhere, too. I wonder if the cooler weather or the 3-inches of rain we had this week is behind the increase in their numbers. When you walk around the yard you can't help but walk into them.

Integrated Pest Management is killing a few insects as possible in order to poison the earth as little as possible. But sometimes, the bugs seem to be winning.

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