|This hover fly or flower fly is easy to find on a calm, sunny day, |
unless the gardener uses insectides and systemic poisons.
Celebrity beneficials like the ladybug do not do as much for us as the
lessen known players - like this hover fly.
Here is a great summary, with photos. of beneficial insects.
I bent over the cone flowers growing in Norma Boeckler's front yard. As I got closer I could see the hover flies and Ichneumon wasps tending to business.
Cone flowers are good for beneficial insects, but I did not notice the flowers or insects until this year. I had a vague recollection of both. If I tried to explain them to grandson Alex, as my mother did to me, he would probably register some interest and go on to other subjects.
Jessica Walliser wrote about the dynamics of beneficial insects becoming more interesting than the plants that were her original passion.
My most recent discovery is the existence of cursorial (webless) spiders and roving beetles. They go out like recon forces in the military, killing pests and returning to their bases. I kept the back area in long grass, weeds, berries, and vines. That section was jumping with insect life this summer.
The key to having these beetles and spiders is giving them a base where their homes are not disturbed - aka a wild area of grasses, weeds, vines, and tall herbs.
Now I am working on a total environment for all forms of life in the front and back yards.
|The Ichneumon wasp is tiny and hovers near flowers, just like the flower fly.|
Darwin was disturbed that God would create parisitoid insects,
so he began to believe in Evolution instead.
Moving from Vegetables to Birds, Butterflies, and Hummingbirds.
The two areas planted for vegetables did not produce very well, perhaps because they are shaded by the house in the morning and by our super-abundant trees in the afternoon. We cut back the tree shade in the back but our neighbors to the West also have very tall trees.
I plan to move the Wright Rose Garden to the rustic fence area. New roses will go around the maple tree, a second ring around the rosie, with some Veterans Honor moved from the sunny garden.
The sunny garden has the richest soil, the composted straw from this year, and raspberry canes eager to fruit.
Putting tomatoes and some sunflowers in the sunny garden will take advantage of the warmest and most sun-soaked area on the property. Tomatoes on the north side might get along well too. That area is surprisingly sunny and yet not sun-baked and dry.
|The ladybug is the most religious insect - named after Mary.|
Instead of growing corn, tomatoes, and pumpkins in the back, I will plant more of the fun flowers that entice so many birds, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many of them are easy to propagate for free, while vegetable seeds are alarmingly expensive.
Maybe I can learn more bugs this winter - big-eyed, pirate, assassin, and so forth. After all, some off-season reading changed a chemical gardener forever. He saw a fungus trap a nematode with a well engineered trap. Thus - Jeff Lowenfels -