WARNING: This blog entry is not for the squeamish!
Things in my garden have been clicking along pretty well.
At least considering this dastardly heat that is sweeping the plains.
Then about a week ago I noticed my cleome weren’t looking too good.
Closer inspection revealed what at first seemed to be a lady bug.
But lady bugs don’t suck the life out of plants.
Looking again I found a beetle all right
But what kind?
It’s bigger than a lady bug.
Kind of mellow yellow in color
Ragged splotches and a shield at both its front and back.
Never seen this one before.
And there weren’t one or two.
There were dozens
On several plants.
So I began a morning and evening routine of picking them off and squashing them.
But…they were relentless.
Soon it was more than a dozen per plant.
It’s obvious I’m on the losing team here.
Time to do a little research.
Out comes Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.
I’m of a generation that still likes books!
From my reading I determined that they are likely Mexican Bean Beatles.
New one on me.
They come for a number of reasons.
They’re attracted to beans.
They like piles of leaves.
Ooops never did get them all picked up.
Well, who doesn’t have some weeds?
Rodale’s listed a number of earth friendly sprays to try.
Not sure that I want to spray anything on plants in this heat.
So, I tried the last suggestion.
Fill a bucket with soapy water
Pick off the beetles.
Drop them in.
For the next several days I continued my twice daily massacre.
I just kept adding to the same bucket.
Got a little curious as to how many there were.
By the end of the week the bucket was solid floating beetles.
It was also beginning to smell.
So now how do I get rid of them?
Ann had told me about a bug that was decimating her garden.
She read that if you would take a few bugs.
Put them in a blender with water.
Whirl them into juice
Spray it on the infested plants.
No more bugs.
She tried it – it worked.
Now she had a couple of old blenders.
I have one and use it everyday .
So I decided just to pour my bucket of water laced with beetle carcasses at the base of the plants.
And guess what?
The beetles are almost gone.
A few have hung around but I can deal with them.
Hopefully we’ll have cleome this year after all.
After further research, ie. the internet, I don’t think they are Mexican bean beetles.
But…I can’t figure out what they are.
So if you know let me know – just curious.
Since this little tale does not lend itself to pretty picture
Dying plants and dead beetles and all.
Thought I’d jut throw in a few to make up for it!!!!
One more thing.
This heat is beginning to take a toll on trees and shrubs.
Do them a favor and slowly drip a hose on them for a day or two depending on the size of the tree.
I mean very slooooowly so that the water can run to the deepest roots.
They will love you for it!
And keep your self cool to the roots as well.