Every morning, the ceononthus plants are covered in a variety of pollinating insects from honey bees, to bumble bees (pictured here), to hoverflies and butterflies. For the most part, they all peacefully work together, collecting pollen and ignoring me as I watch and photograph them. The bumble bee, however, can get mighty annoyed with me and it’s common for a bumble to buzz around my head, telling me off. They even do this as I’m pruning, dead-heading, feeding or watering. I love them to pieces but damn, they can be such a pain. It just so happens that one of the 250 species of bumble bees, the rusty patched bumble bee, one of the many native pollinating bees was added to the endangered species list this year. So I don’t mind a few of them telling me off now and then. “Buzz off photographer! I got work to do,” says this bee!
Speaking of hoverflies, doesn’t this hoverfly have the cutest behind? Look at that fuzz. Fuzzy hoverfly butts are just the ticket for a craptacular week. The craptacular is Lyme-related, of course, but I won’t bore you, because lately it bores the heck out of me. I prefer fuzzy hoverfly butts.
“Should I tap that beetle butt or should I go for another course of aphid? Hmmm. Decisions! Decisions!” The nice thing is he doesn’t have to make a decisions. Lady beetles can eat while having a roll in the sack. Now that’s multitasking!
Speaking of the ladies: This spring I did two releases of 1500 lady bugs to deal with the leaf hopper/spittle bugs. They made a nice dent, but we have a huge garden and a soggy ground which made for ripe conditions for aphids and spittles. So I puchased 4500 more ladybugs, then I purchased 3000 more because I was certain it wasn’t enough. I was right. I sprayed down all the spittle off 3/4 of my garden with the hose, gave all the plants a nice wetting as well and prepared them for the ladybugs. I then released the first 4500, spreading them over my strawberry bushes and blueberry bushes first, then moved onto the sages, the verbenas, the African Daisies and I didn’t even manage to cover the garden, so I released the other 3000 as well. Today I put out a few packets of lacewings and have a batch of nematodes in the fridge to tackle the cucumber beetle that drove me insane last year. Plus don’t forget, I have about 400 mantids ready to pick up where the ladies and lacewings leave off. Mr. Wild Dingo is all, “your ladies are mercenaries.” So, what’s your point, man? It’s a war damn it! Those aphids and cucumber beetles are going down!