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The Practical Gardener


Archive for the ‘Insects’


IPM and re-thinking your way to a lower maintenance garden 0

Posted on October 04, 2010 by Paige

Low maintenance planting

IPM was developed for agriculture, where people’s livelihoods rest on the yields and appearance of what they produce.  Consequently, preventing and controlling pests, diseases and weeds that can impact the bottom line is essential.  To protect that bottom line in the least toxic, invasive and costly way possibly is how IPM decisions are made on farms.

The purpose of a home garden is different. Read the rest of this entry →

Will bought ladybugs eat your aphids? 0

Posted on July 05, 2010 by Paige

“A ladybug can consume 50 aphids per day,” says the Ladybug Lady.  Whohoo, aphids watch out.

This assertion is supported by the folks at Cornell University.  Each day a convergent lady beetle larvae may eat its weight in aphids while an adult can take out 50.  Since this is the kind of beetle typically sold for biological control,  it sounds like our aphid problem can be solved for an investment of  $13.95 (give or take) plus shipping. Right?

Wrong. Well probably not. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry →

How the ladybug got its name 0

Posted on June 03, 2010 by Paige

Everyone loves a ladybug – they’re such little cuties.  If all “bugs” were as cute as this there’d probably be a lot fewer pesticides around.

Ladybugs apparently got their name in the middle ages. Crops were being consumed by aphids and people prayed to the Virgin Mary (Our Lady) to save the crops and presto! along came the ladybugs to gobble up the nasty sapsuckers. Thus ladybugs were originally given the name Our Lady’s bird. From this you get ladybird beetle and ladybug. Read the rest of this entry →

Appreciating insects, for gardeners, part 1 0

Posted on May 12, 2010 by Paige

Mite (not of the eyebrow), false color, magnified 850x (Wikipedia)

There is a mite that lives on the follicles of your eyebrows. Okay, a mite is not an insect but that line is an attention getter and I couldn’t make the title, “Appreciating arthropods”. Anyway, for most people a mite, or termite, or beetle, or ant are all just bugs. (They’d be wrong. The last 3 are insects but not bugs and the first is neither – a story for another post.)

Read the rest of this entry →

IPM method #1, boiling 0

Posted on April 23, 2010 by Paige

Another IPM method, slow and requires personal animosity

I went out the back door the other day and found a strange red-brown mass quivering on my patio.  Turns out a colony of ants had set up shop outside my back door.  I have a good sized yard and ants are welcome, just not where I’m likely to step on them. So, feeling truly terrible, I boiled them. Read the rest of this entry →

IPM, DDT and the Sumerians 0

Posted on April 11, 2010 by Paige

Sulfur dusting of grapes - not the way the Sumerians did it

I love how research, particularly on the Internet, leads you to unexpected places.  I started out looking for the history of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and ended up at DDT, the Napoleonic Wars and the Sumerians. Read the rest of this entry →

Aphids and blogging 0

Posted on April 03, 2010 by Paige

It was aphids that started me down the blogging path.

I write a monthly gardening newsletter that has a tip of the month.  The most recent tip was on pesticides and insects.  It was more long-winded than it should have been but not as long-winded as I wanted it to be. Read the rest of this entry →



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