YOUR BUGS' LIFE LADYBUGS EAT APHIDS, SPIDERS SWALLOW WHITEFLIES, EVEN BEES, UM, DO IT, IN YOUR GARDEN - AND YOU CAN CONTROL SNAILS, ANTS AND MOSQUITOES WITHOUT CHEMICALS.Byline: Barbara De Witt Staff Writer
Some bugs are ladies and, well, some are real slugs.
As gardens come into full bloom full bloom
the stage of a crop when two-thirds of the plants are in flower; the crop is mature. , you'll meet them all - the good, the bad and the simply annoying. And the more you fertilize and create lush growth, the more bugs you'll attract.
Your challenge is to identify the garden party crashers who think of your flower beds as one giant smorgasbord and fight back by using your wits - instead of pesticides.
While effective, chemical insect sprays also kill plants and damage the environment. Natural predators, such as ladybugs and spiders, will not only rid your garden of pests but leave your impatiens impatiens (ĭmpā`shēĕnz'): see jewelweed.
Any of about 900 species of herbaceous plants in the genus Impatiens (balsam family), so named because the seedpod bursts when slightly touched. Garden balsam (I. intact.
``Ladybugs can eat hundreds of aphids a day, but spiders are good guys, too. They do 80 percent of the pest control, eating whiteflies and aphids off your roses,'' says Sharon Lovejoy, author of the new book ``Trowel & Error'' (Workman Publishing; $13.95).
When your flowers are covered in aphids and whiteflies, and local spiders aren't doing the job, it's time to buy ladybugs by the box - $6.99 at local plant centers.
``You can buy ladybugs at nurseries, but the trick is to keep them in the crisper crisp·er
One that crisps, especially a compartment in a refrigerator used for storing vegetables and keeping them fresh. drawer of your refrigerator (no more than two weeks), where they'll go into a sleep stage, and then you can disperse them at twilight,'' says Kristi Patchis, a horticulturist at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas.
The ladybugs will need about 10 minutes to warm up, and then you can sprinkle a handful of them over the top of each rosebush or other flowering plant.
Patchis also recommends waiting two weeks before deploying the ladybugs if you've recently used pesticides on your plants.
Uninvited guests still hanging around?
``Put your bathing suit on and hose 'em down,'' says Kathy Musial, curator of plant collections at Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino. ``When it's warm, bugs are the most active, so I spray my citrus trees and other plants on both the top and the bottom of branches and leaves once a month to help remove insects such as mites and whiteflies and the mold they seem to encourage.''
Then there are those pesky little ants.
``Although ants don't actually eat your plants, they give free rides to garden pests such as mealy meal·y
adj. meal·i·er, meal·i·est
1. Resembling meal in texture or consistency; granular: mealy potatoes.
a. Made of or containing meal.
b. bugs,'' says Musial. And since there are no bugs that eat them or plants that deter them, placing ant traps on the perimeter of your area may be the only remedy.
But before you use chemicals, Lovejoy suggests investigating any trail of ants. ``If you can find the attraction and get rid of it, such as sap dripping from a tree, then you'll also get rid of the ants,'' she explains.
Bigger bugs need bigger weapons.
Now, about those slugs and snails that leave trails of slime and devour your pansies, petunias and primroses as midnight snacks.
Patchis advises the use of decollate snails that look like sea shells and are released onto the soil at twilight. They can be purchased for about $18 at nurseries.
Lovejoy also suggests luring the snails onto a cantaloupe cantaloupe: see gourd; melon. rind and then disposing of them in the morning, or, if you're lucky enough to have wildlife nearby, invite a couple of ducks, toads or raccoons into the garden for some snail snacks.
Bees are annoying but good pollinators, so instead of swatting them, stay calm and they should fly away. Also be sure not to wear bee-attracting yellow clothing in the garden, say these experts. Also, plant a fragrant bush such as honeysuckle honeysuckle, common name for some members of the Caprifoliaceae, a family comprised mostly of vines and shrubs of the Northern Hemisphere, especially abundant in E Asia and E North America. around the corner so they'll buzz over there while you're entertaining on the patio.
The baddest bugs in the garden? Mosquitoes.
These little flying bloodsuckers can breed in as little as two tablespoons of water, and besides leaving a bite that itches for days, they can spread diseases such as the West Nile virus West Nile virus, microorganism and the infection resulting from it, which typically produces no symptoms or a flulike condition. The virus is a flavivirus and is related to a number of viruses that cause encephalitis. . This potentially deadly virus can cause encephalitis encephalitis (ĕnsĕf'əlī`təs), general term used to describe a diffuse inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, usually of viral origin, often transmitted by mosquitoes, in contrast to a bacterial infection of the meninges in humans, horses and some birds, so don't give mosquitoes a chance to make themselves at home.
Change the water in your birdbath at least every two days, put mosquito- eating fish in your ponds and don't allow any standing water in your yard, advises Maria Iacobo, spokeswoman for the Vector Management Program of Los Angeles County, who adds that residents should be on the lookout for in search of; looking for.
See also: Lookout dead ravens, blue jays and owls, which are affected by the virus, while sparrows are not.
A temporary distraction for mosquitoes, says Lovejoy, is a big fan blowing away from you, as mosquitoes don't like wind. Other garden experts suggest citronella citronella, common name for a grass, Cymbopogon nardus, the source of oil of citronella, used in perfumes and soaps and as an insect repellent. The plant, with bluish green, lemon-scented leaves, is cultivated in Java and Sri Lanka. candles as a deterrent.
``Mosquitoes and poisonous spiders aside, it is possible to coexist with bugs,'' says Descanso's Musial. ``You just have to be able to tolerate a bit of chewed flowers and leaves ... but they'll grow back.''
Barbara De Witt, (818) 713-3666
Pests de resistance
Ladybugs: These cute little beetles eat hundreds of aphids, mealybugs and whiteflies a day; no wonder they're associated with good luck.
Butterflies: They're pretty and great pollinators; attract with butterfly bushes.
Any of numerous flies of the family Syrphidae, many of which have a form or coloration mimicking that of bees or wasps. Adult syrphids feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers while the larvae of various species feed on plants and aphids. (or flower) flies: Very friendly, they look like tiny bees but with two wings; their larvae Larvae, in Roman religion
Larvae: see lemures. eat aphids.
Green lacewing lacewing
Any of numerous species of insects in the order Neuroptera, especially those in the green lacewing and brown lacewing families. The green lacewing has long, delicate antennae, a slender greenish body, golden- or copper-coloured eyes, and two pairs of veined wings. : Their larvae eat tons of bad things, so leave them alone.
Dragonflies: They're fabulous and eat their weight in bad bugs - as many as 300 insects a day.
Bumblebees: Don't panic and wave your arms and they'll leave you alone, especially if you've got a highly scented plant located far from the patio to entice them to do their job, which is pollinating.
Earthworms: They improve soil structure and allow for better watering and deeper roots.
Decollate snails: These are the good snails; they have seashell-shaped shells and eat the bad snails and slugs without harming your plants.
Nonpoisonous spiders: They do 80 percent of the natural pest control in your garden by trapping and eating whiteflies, aphids, wasps and flies while you sleep.
Mosquitoes: They spread disease such as West Nile virus by biting and sucking your blood or that of birds. To report dead birds or stagnant ponds, pools or other bodies of water, notify the local health department at (818) 764-2010. While dining outdoors, turn on a fan facing away from the table. Also spray yourself with bug repellent and burn citronella candles.
Whiteflies: They can wipe out a bed of roses, but ladybugs love eating them.
Aphids: They eat anything with fresh green growth. Spray them with water or soapy water to remove them (during cool part of day). Or release a box of ladybugs on them at dusk.
Earwigs: These ugly little bugs eat your roses and other plants, but you can get rid of them by luring them away with a small tin filled with canola oil and soy sauce placed at base of plant in evening. Dispose of them in the morning.
Garden snails/slugs: They can eat a flower bed in one night, so lure them away from your plants with cantaloupe rinds and then dispose of them early in the morning. Decollete dé·colle·té
1. Cut low at the neckline: a décolleté dress.
2. Wearing a garment that is low-cut or strapless. snails and ducks will also eat them.
Black widow spiders black widow spider
poisonous spider; consumes her mate after mating. [Zoology: NCE, 308]
See : Deadliness : Bites to children and small pets can be deadly. Always use caution when reaching into canisters, wood piles and stacks of garden pots. Red pepper spray might work as an alternative to pesticides.
Sphinx sphinx (sfĭngks), mythical beast of ancient Egypt, frequently symbolizing the pharaoh as an incarnation of the sun god Ra. The sphinx was represented in sculpture usually in a recumbent position with the head of a man and the body of a lion, moths: When grown, they pollinate pol·li·nate also pol·len·ate
tr.v. pol·li·nat·ed also pol·len·at·ed, pol·li·nat·ing also pol·len·at·ing, pol·li·nates also pol·len·ates
To transfer pollen from an anther to the stigma of (a flower). flowers like butterflies, but unfortunately their caterpillars love to eat tomato plants.
Sow or pill bugs: They're kind of cute, but they'll eat holes in your leaves.
Wasps: Yes, they can sting, but they also feed cabbage caterpillars to their young. They may require pesticides.
June bugs: These ugly bugs stick to your screens and hover around yellow porch lights, but the real problem is their larvae (grubs), which eat the roots of your lawn, leaving a brown patch.
Ants: Yes, they're good for the soil and are eaten by birds, lizards and toads, but they can ruin a barbecue or picnic.
9 drawings, 2 photos, box
(1 -- cover -- color) BUGS the Good, the Bad and the Annoying
(2 -- color) Wasp
(3 -- color) Dragonfly dragonfly, any insect of the order Odonata, which also includes the damselfly. Members of this order are generally large predatory insects and characteristically have chewing mouthparts and four membranous, net-veined wings; they undergo complete metamorphosis.
(4 -- color) Bumblebee bumblebee: see bee.
Any member of two genera constituting the insect tribe Bombini (family Apidae, order Hymenoptera), found almost worldwide but most common in temperate climates. Bumblebees are robust and hairy, average about 0.
(5 -- color) Ladybug ladybug
or ladybird beetle
Any of the approximately 5,000 widely distributed beetles of the family Coccinellidae. The name originated in the Middle Ages, when the beetle was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called “beetle of Our Lady.
(6 -- color) Mosquito
(7 -- color) Earwig earwig, common name for any of the smooth, elongated insects of the order Dermaptera. Earwigs are small, with pairs of horny, forcepslike abdominal appendages, larger in the male than in the female, and short, leathery forewings that cover the membranous hindwings
(8 -- color) June bug
(9 -- color) Butterfly
Illustration by Jorge Irribarren/Staff Artist
(1 -- 2 -- color) When you've got aphids and whiteflies on your flowers, above, fight back with a box of ladybugs, says Richard Blaisdell of Sperling Nursery in Calabasas, demonstrating how to apply them at left.
Photos by Tina Burch/Staff Photographer
Pests de resistance (see text)