Friday, August 21, 2009
I do a sweep for Japanese beetles once or twice a day. I have lots of beetles. And I don't suffer sitting down very well, so when I need a break from whatever I'm doing, I usually just grab my container with its couple of inches of water skimmed with vegetable oil and collect beetles. Not only is it an organic way to keep down the JB population, but I end up checking out every flowering plant and new shrub at least once a day. I see what's blooming, about to bloom or if they need pruning, deadheading, etc.
Another aspect is that I am keeping track of what kinds of insects are attracted to what kinds of plants.
A couple of days ago I saw 3 new bees on the Ring zins. At long last - bumble bees! I was sooo excited. It was just about 1 minute before 1:00 in the afternoon. I knew that because while I was still excited by my find, a local church began it's 1:00 carolon with Beethoven's 9th symphony: JOY. Now THAT is one heck of a way to herald the arrival of bumble bees. LOL
The top pic shows a bumble with a very buff banded bottom (initial ID: bombus borealis), the type that I assumed were my first bumbles. But while trying to identify them, I found out that another, slightly smaller bee that has been around for a while is also a bumble. And that one has a charcoal banded bottom (initial ID: bombus impatiens). Doh! Being new to this bee business, I'm not very certain between larger native/solitary bees and smaller members/types of bumble bees. And I find it darn HARD to easily find online identification for bees. It's very frustrating sometimes.
VERY easy to identify are Carpenter Bees. These guys are as big as my THUMB and have fuzzless shiny black bottoms. (Of course all the holes in my shed are another easy way to identify them!) Here is one on my monarda punctata. The carpies LOVE this plant so much so that they do not visit ANY others. Really. Even the Jap beetles will tell you that.... just before they go for a nice cooling swim.
Also note that I've updated the Vegetable, Project and Flower pages as I resolve to try to keep things a little more current on the blog. Click on the page links on the top of the sidebar to visit those pages.