Friday, July 06, 2007

What's bugging me - second attempt

Besides Mary threatening an extended hiatus from blogging, aphids are bugging me. I hate the little suckers! There's almost no other insect that I would say that about, but I wholeheartedly hate aphids. I think it stems from my beginning days as a gardener. Of all the things to start with I chose roses. I bought lots of beautiful old garden roses and some beautiful David Austin roses that I coddled and crooned over. Even then I knew better than to spray them with pesticides, so I devised many creative and non-lethal ways of eradicating these nasty bugs - none of which worked at all. Eventually I got to the point that I would just run two fingers down each stem of my rosebushes, squishing the bas*ards along the way - with my bare hands - yuck!

I'm too squeamish to attempt that now - especially since there are so darn many of them on each plant. I don't have roses anymore, but they're feasting on my milkweed plants instead. They're really not harming anything, but they look so ugly and make me squirm.

Something mysterious is also bugging my new Sour Gum tree. I first noticed ants crawling on the ends of the branches and they led me to find aphids, or some other aphid-like insect, that's feeding on the new growth. They didn't seem to do any real damage and they've since more or less disappeared. Instead I'm seeing these roundish holes cut into a lot of the leaves now, but I don't know enough about insect pests to be able to identify the culprit. My guess would be some type of leaf-cutting bee, but who knows? My Dirr manual says that the most common diseases and pests are canker, leaf spots, rust, scale, and the tupelo leaf miner but none of those seem likely. I wonder if any of you plant geeks have any ideas? There's also a cute little spider that's made a web on the shady side of the tree; I've tried identifying the bugs it's catching, but the mummified corpses in the web give no clue either.

So what's bugging you? Or your garden?

I can add to my list of things that are bugging me - Blogger! It's gone all wonky again and I fear that this post will show up multiple times, if it shows up at all!

Just kidding, Mary!

15 comments:

RuthieJ said...

ICK, those aphids.
I keep waiting for the birds to eat whatever's eating my rose bush, but those darn birds are slacking...time for me to start witholding mealworms!

mon@rch said...

aphids, without a doubt that they are bugging you! BTW: Do you really think Mary will be gone long? I dont'!

Mary said...

Dear Laura - I'm not leaving, I'm still here! A few more hours of spare time in the evenings is what I've been craving lately to examine the horrible damage to my trees and plants, too! You are not alone. You might remember I am losing a Japanese Willow - it was beautiful but now it's dark brown. I don't know why - no bugs on it. Sigh... There's a lot of bugging going on outdoors. The drought here is taking a toll and I'm desperate to save what I can. No rain in sight for two weeks and it's back into the mid-90s.

Hang in there. At least we are not knee-deep in flood waters, right?

Mary said...

P.S. I don't think I can be gone long, either :o)

KGMom said...

Well, right now, I have no observable bugs, but I do have squirrels that are digging up bulbs, and bunnies that are cropping my lambs' ear close to the ground.
That bugs me.

deb said...

when i asked you what was new today, did you forget to tell me your car? have a good weekend.

Jean said...

"I hate the little sucker" - good pun, Laura. Anyway, aphids secrete a sugary stuff so maybe that is attracting the ants.I mix liquid dish soap in a spray bottle and it helps.
The weeds are bugging me and Blogger wouldn't "let"' me post pics today for a while.

Larry said...

Willie the Woodchuck was bothering me but the fox urine scared him away.

Laurie said...

My mom did what Jean does. It seemed to help. Good luck!

Blogger is kind of a mess right now. I've had formatting issues (even more than usual) and posting photos has been difficult as well. Maybe we should all switch to wordpress?

Hugs,
laurie

bunnygirl said...

I guess the obvious ladybugs have been tried, to no avail?

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm no help here, Laura dear. The only aphids I am seeing around here are the ones on the "weeds".
Squishing them with your bare hands. You are a brave girl.

Jennifer said...

Try Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap -in the spray bottle - dilute it! Also, you can buy many aphid predators online: ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantids... That could be fun.

nina said...

I was going to offer the soadsuds or ladybugs remedies, too.
What's bugging me? Japanese beetles on the grapes. I've never had a problem bad enough to consider fixing it--but this year my leaves are being reduced to skeletons!
I must go squish!

Cathy said...

Ticks. The ones I know are just waiting for me to step an inch off the grass. Danged little blood suckers.

z-silverlight said...

Spray the infected plants morning and evening with just a stiff spray from the hose. It should discourage them somewhat.