|The ichneumon wasp lays eggs on destructive pests.|
The wasplings feed on the pest to get their growth spurt.
Many pest-infested plants emit semiochemicals known as herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPV) or green leaf volatiles into the air to lure in the particular species of natural enemy most likely to prey upon the specific pest present on the plant. These scents, which travel anywhere from a few inches to hundreds of yards from their source, are detected by the predator and/or parasitoid and used to locate its prey. Several studies have found that female parasitic wasps are not attracted to aphids alone but rather to the semiochemicals produced by the infested plants. The plant, in essence, is sending out an SOS...
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 511-516). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
I often return to my Kindle book collection to support the information I provide. Each time I learn a little more.
The quotation above only enhances what I wrote about the complexity of plants. They ask for the nutrition they need from fungi, and they send out chemical distress signals to draw in the ichneumon wasps.
That is why Jessical Walliser says the pest infestations should be given time to attract the good guys who will clean it up. Reach for the Raid bug bomb and you rip food away from the beneficials while slaughtering the spider population. The pests and pest-eaters will reach a balance, because every creature is food for another. That is the design of the Creator.
One fetish on the Internet is the fear of spiders. Finding a large spider and trying to kill it is a favorite video. No wonder people think nothing of spraying down their flowers and wiping them out with the insects. Of course, the pests will happily return to a safer, more toxic garden, minus thousands of spiders.
One reader wondered why she had so few butterflies. I asked about spraying Malathion for mosquitoes. Yes, the city sprayed as a matter of policy, every year, and the truck went by her garden.
That wipes out the ladybug and butterfly population. Mosquitoes are annoying, but they are also food for many animals, including bats. (Pause for several readers to freak out over bats. "Oh, I hate bats. They scare me.") One can hardly find a more fascinating creature than the bat, the twilight bug remover.
|"Scale insect" by Vijay Cavale .|
Wikipedia article on scale insects.
California banned Malathion because it kills off the ladbybug population, and ladybugs are death on cottony citrus scale, an insect that sucks the life out of citrus groves. I had maple scale on my maple tree (fancy that) and the ladybugs flew in by the thousands to devour it.
"Oh, why not use non-toxic oil?" It is also called miscible or edible oil, which suffocates the pests. But it also suffocates the pest eaters. This oil is not toxic but it is still lethal to spiders and beneficial insects.
Some like systemic toxins, which kill anything living on the plant that absorbed the toxins. That is not as extreme as burning the garden to remove the pests, but the logic is similar.
Man-made devices look worse as they are magnified by scanning electron microscopes. Everything in nature looks better, more beautiful, more skillfully designed and produced under the same magnifications.
Bee wise and bee friendly to this magnificent pollinator.
Hosting the Beneficial Army
Good Creation gardening practices are the opposite of human tendencies. We want to clean up. clip, spray, burn, and Brady Bunch the yard. The Brady Bunch had astro-turf for a lawn, and people do install that in their yards.
Many of these practices attract beneficial birds, insects, spiders, and creatures at the same time.
- Leave part of the yard with long grass, weeds, and herbs.
- Stop hating on dandelions. They are herbs.
- Place logs or firewood on the ground, to serve as soil, insect, and bird feeders.
- Use many birdbaths at various levels.
- Create Jackson Mulch for garden areas: newspapers or cardboard topped with wood mulch.
- Save bush trimmings cut in small pieces for mulch (but not with roses).
- Feed birds daily at various levels. The more varied the food, the more varied the birds attracted.
- Buy suet and bags (or large metal cages) for the insect eating birds. Meat markets are the best source for suet by the pound.
- Leave cut grass, leaves, and dryer lint where birds can re-purpose them for nests.
- Grow insect friendly plants, such as sunflowers.
- Select butterfly and bee plants when planning the garden.
- Save broken clay pots for toad homes.
- Never spray for insects. Never use fungicide. Avoid tilling. Never use herbicides (RoundUp) or inorganic fertilizers.
|Bee balm is also an herb.|