12 June 2011

Friends of the garden

I wish everyone could come spend some time in our yard right now. Not that it's reached any level of perfection, but it is definitely having a beautiful moment. So many things are blooming - from leeks and tomatoes to lilies and campion.

We had a bit of rain today and a visitor on the back porch.
Wildlife is having a field day, too. There are baby bunnies scampering out from under bushes, baby mice running out of the vermicompost bin, and baby birds poking their heads out of birdhouses.

Possoms dig holes all over the yard.
Do you know what Leaf Footed Bugs are? They are a kind of stink bug, which you find out when you hand pick them off of the poppy seed heads and leek flowers.

Insect Identification dot org is a great resource for identifying bugs you find and I used it to decide what they were so I knew whether to leave them of send them all to heaven.

Robert Durgy, Dept. of Plant Science, University of Connecticut wrote:

"They are members of the Hemiptera, the true bug family, order Coreidae. Leaf-footed bugs get their name from the flattened, leaf like flare on the lower portion of the back legs or tibia. They are brown with white marks on the margins of their folded wings. They closely resemble an insect that vegetable gardeners are familiar with, the squash bug.
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Leaf-footed bugs feed on the flower, cones and seeds of many species. They are known to do damage to nut trees such as almond and pistachio.
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Adults emerge in spring and feed on flowers and newly forming seeds. Soon they mate and lay eggs on host trees. The eggs hatch after about 10 days and the nymphs start feeding. There are five nymph stages, called instars before adulthood. It’s this nymph feeding that causes the most economic damage. They are adults by August and continue to feed through the fall. They overwinter as adults in protected areas including your house. There is only one generation per year.

Control of leaf-footed bugs is not necessary (unless you’re a pinecone grower!) They are easy to catch because of their slowing metabolism. Once caught, they can be tossed outdoors to fine somewhere else to stay for the winter. Be advised, these are members of the stink bug family. If held too long or crushed they emit a foul odor."
Lady bug

Ladybugs each eat 5,000 aphids in their 3 to 6 week life! They taste bad to predators so they can safely spend their lives cleaning up the garden.

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