summer 2013

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Good Rainy Morning!  We need it,  so no complaining.

I found a  Praying Mantid sac this week.  Good news.  When these little guys emerge they come out hungry.  So hungry they will eat their siblings if there is nothing else to eat.  If you find one of these, let them be.

In my University of Maryland Master Gardener education program we had a wonderful instructor come in and talk about bugs.  This truly was my favorite class.  I am the bug person in my house.  I can deal with anything with more than 4 legs. (I suck at mice.)  We learned about Integrated Pest Management.

"IPM is a knowledge-based, holistic approach to managing pests at an acceptable level.  It emphasizes biological, cultural, and physical methods to prevent and manage problems." (UM MG handbook)

The gist is - do not kill bugs indiscriminately.  When we blanket our gardens with insecticides, we kill all the good bugs as well.  This means butterflies and honeybees!

Monarch butterfly caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

If I plant certain plants, in some cases weeds,  predator insects will live in my garden to help balance the population of insects I don't want.

Not my picture - I had one of these guys in my garden last summer.  It felt like Christmas when I found him.  Unfortunately I did not have a camera last summer.

This is a tomato hornworm covered with braconid wasp pupae.  This wasp is a beneficial insect.  It lays its' eggs in the worm.  When they hatch, they use the hornworm as their food source.  The worm stops eating and soon dies.  The wasps then find more hornworm hosts to feed on.  If you see one the these, let it alone.

 I do use some pesticides.  Bt to control cabbage worms.  This is a bacteria that kills only cabbage worms.  It is safe for birds and people and other bugs.   Insecticidal soap to kill aphids.  Water spray works too.  So does waiting for the lady bugs to show up!  Milky spore to kill Japanese beetle grubs in the lawn.

There are some bugs you want to encourage and leave alone if you see them.

Syrphid fly


Assassin Bug

Praying Mantid (Mantis)

Spined Soldier Bug
I know it looks like a Stink bug.  Look for the spikes on the shoulders.

I just got back from Lowe's with my husband Mike.  We bought the shelves and lights so I can start my plants!  He will assemble and find a place to put the shelves in the next day or so.

I brought in some forsythia branches to force a few days ago.  Spring is almost here!


  1. Laura,
    You must get the gardening and bug love from your Dad's side of the family. Except for Bridget I think most of us were/are black thumbs and are bug-phobic. You should come visit the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx sometime.

  2. Laura, you should have told me about this blog!
    Love it! Bug info is so interesting!