|Ants on the roses mean aphids leaving a sugar trail for them.|
But ladybugs love aphids.
Ants adore aphids, who draw the sugar from plants and leave a trail of the treat. But ants do not merely harvest the syrup. They milk the aphids and even herd them, protecting their eggs for the next season.
When ants appear on roses, they are enjoying their fellowship with aphids.
The chemical salesmen have a variety of poisons to try on aphids, which live on the underside of the leaves. Better yet, use a systemic that will kill any arthropod on the rose (spiders and insects alike).
I bent down close to the white rose with ants on it. I saw a tiny fly buzzing around it. Lacewing? I am not sure. But I know lacewing larvae (aphid lions) are ferocious predators of aphids.
|Lacewings are good news for gardeners.|
The solution is not to poison all the living creatures, which will never work. When the food for predators is gone and the host plant kills the pest-eaters with systemic toxins, there is no reason for the beneficial creatures to stay. But the pests will come back and bring seven demons with them.
Syrphid flies are incapable of stinging or biting and are a welcome sight in the garden. One study found them to be significantly better at locating aphids on collard greens than both ladybugs and green lacewings, though they will not fly on windy, rainy, or cold days. Since adult syrphid flies are completely dependent on pollen and nectar for survival, having plenty of flowering plants around is a must. Several studies have revealed that the number of syrphid fly species present in a field is significantly impacted by the diversity and abundance of flowers located nearby.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 836-840). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
The answer is to benefit the beneficials, from birds and toads, to ladybugs, lacewings, and ichneumon wasps. The pests we hate are food for the creatures we love, so let the good guys move in and feast on the bugs which are feasting on our plants and flowers.
Immature green lacewings look like tiny brown alligators with a large pair of curved jaws for puncturing prey. Some species are known to cover their bodies with debris for camouflage. Larvae pupate attached to plant material or structures while encased in a round silken cocoon; many species overwinter as pupae. Adult green lacewings of many species feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, though adults in the genus Chrysopa are predaceous.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1216-1219). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
|Lacewing youngsters - "aphid lions" - are great bug eaters.|
They love sunflowers, coreopsis, dill,
Queen Ann's Lace, and my favorite herb -
The delicate, finely dissected leaves are a delightful blue-green, and the diminutive yellow flowers are organized into umbels that can reach 6 or more inches (15 or more cm) across and open from the outside in. Along with other members of its family, dill plays host to the larvae of black swallowtail butterflies, and its blossoms are animated with insects of all sorts, including tachinid flies, syrphid flies, lacewings, parasitic wasps of all shapes and sizes, ladybugs,
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1836-1848). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
The flower clusters of dill (Anethum graveolens) are highly attractive to smaller natural enemies as they can readily access the nectar.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1850-1851). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
Jessica Walliser argues convincingly that a varied flowered border will provide the food and shelter for the beneficial insects. The easy to grow plants are ideal for the beneficial insects.
We sowed sunflower seeds early in the season, never realizing that an autumnal chill would return time after time with each rainfall. We are in another cycle of cold rain now. The sunflowers planted early are well established and climbing up through the mulch, absorbing the nitrogen-rich rain.
|Grow enough raspberries for the birds and the house.|