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applestar
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Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

The troops are re-assembling for duty 8)

Ground spiders are everywhere, of course. I always wear tall garden boots especially in the early spring because I don't want them jumping in my shoes or scurrying up my pant legs.

So far, I have seen some ladybugs in particularly warm, sheltered areas and ground beetles, centipedes, and wasps.

Yesterday, a bunch of tachnid flies (I think that's what they are -- these are yellow and look like tiny round, furry flies. I get the giant black ones, too, but I haven't seen those yet.) and two kinds of syrphid flies were buzzing all over one of my garden beds. I had discovered that a purple sprouting broccoli had been infested with grey aphids and squished them -- well some of those flies headed straight for that plant and were exploring it. So I think the rest of the aphids will be gone soon. They were also checking over my tomato seedlings that are hardening off. I hope they went to inspect my celery seedlings too, because I KNOW there are aphids in there.

5 praying mantis ootheca in one of the Japanese maples, 3 in the other one next to it, 2 in the magnolia, and that Carolina praying mantis ootheca in the Ginkgo in between. There will be plenty in the front yard when the weather gets hot. I haven't tallied up the ones in the back yard yet.

I saw two big slugs so far (only during daytime -- haven't gone night hunting yet), but I'm seeing the mulch scattered about and beak marks, so the grackles that are striding around are probably doing their part. I protected the peas from the birds until their true leaves were grown (though as soon as I removed the protective covering, they pulled out a couple of late sprouters. :roll: ) I'll need to protect the corn as well when I sow the seeds.

Earthworms are everywhere. Robins are at them and so are the moles. :|

I found some grubs, wireworms, a big fully colored cutworm, and a few of the dark grey colored smaller caterpillars that coil up that I'm assuming are younger instars of cutworms. Those went into the birdbath. Funny thing is by the time I bring the next find, the ones I put in the water are already gone. Usually, there's a robin or another bird nearby, shaking drops of water off his/her wings.

:()
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imafan26
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

The bees have been busy and I saw some hover flies and only a couple of ladybugs.
Its hard to tell if geckos are friend or foe. I do see them on the screen at night catching mosquitoes but they are also waiting in the wings when I dig up my vegetable bed to pounce on earthworms.

Unfortunately the aphids, mealy bugs, roaches, ants, and white cabbage flies are also out and about.

I caught 4 African snails today and yesterday I got 4 African snails, over a dozen slugs, and a couple of bush snails.

I also pulled up a few bindweed, milkweed, bitter cress, nut sedge, kylinga , and some other vine that I don't know the name of as well as the wild asparagus ferns. The recent rains have brought them out in force. I have so much more to get through.
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

Until today, only nectaring insects I was seeing were carpenter bees, bumble bees, then hover flies that look like tiny honey bees, black predatory wasps, paper wasps, and furry flies that for the time being I'm thinking are kind of tachnid flies.

Today, I became aware of a different pitch in the humming and buzzing and looked closer to see -- HONEY BEES! :D Last year, I became increasingly concerned because there were no honey bees even when the time had passed for them to come around... And I found out that a lot of bee keepers in NJ had lost their colonies because of the unusually warm winter we had (honeybees were too active and depleted their store of winter stored honey. Only experienced keepers who supplied them with sugar water/supplemental feed managed to keep them from starving).
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imafan26
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

The bees are making a comeback. The local beekeeper said besides the varoa mites there is a new hive beetle causing problems. He said the managed hives are likely to survive, but the wild bees may still be parasitized.

Of greater concern is colony collapse disorder which may be related to pesticide use and in particular systemic pesticides and neem oil.

I saw in my garden hover flies, tachnid flies, some stink beetles, and a couple of other very fast jumpers. The flea beetles have laced the eggplant leaves, but hey they still produce eggplant. I have been inspecting my kale and squashing the cabbage worms. Of course since it just rained, I am sure I will be finding more slugs and snails. The birds are also on the hunt as was a mongoose and her pup. The honey and carpenter bees were out collecting nectar. So far the aphids are under control. I must have some very fat lady bugs somewhere.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

I was just looking for a thread to put this in. I was out pruning my tomato jungle and suddenly noticed that I was standing right next to this:

Image
https://nancygedney.files.wordpress.com/ ... ider_5.jpg

black and yellow garden spider. She is harmless and a beneficial member of the Garden Patrol. But it did challenge my residual bugophobia a bit to be standing and working right next to her.
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

They are HUGE by this time if the year, aren't they?
I tend to try think happy thoughts about all the bad bugs they ate to reach that size, though I know they are indiscriminate.

Here's one on one of my bean trellises. Good thing I had already decided to let all the beans here mature to dry pods. :roll:
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

took me a minute to find her - she is behind the stabilmentum which kind of obscures her.

When I looked her up, the article said she builds her web about knee high and that is exactly where mine was.
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pinksand
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

I found a colony of black aphids being farmed by ants on a black nightshade plant the other day. I was so fascinated that I haven't pulled it yet, I'm just watching them slowly destroy the weed for me... should I kill them before they move on to wanted plants? I had a praying mantis hanging around my porch pots. I finally got around to planting my mailbox garden and I swear, the moment the first plant was in I had bees buzzing around me to see what else I had for them. I've been finding so many black beetles when I dig, and always lots of spiders and worms. I have a feeling we have a vole... or a mole... how do you know which it is without seeing it? :( My grass is oddly lumpy, like someone dug sections out from underneath. We have a mom and baby deer that have been hanging around early mornings and in the evening, just watching as people walk by and as my dog barks at them... they just keep eating and watch. So far I fortunately haven't noticed much damage personally, they seem to prefer my neighbor's garden :) We have lots of gold finches (too bad they're vegetarians) and some baby Carolina Wrens that like to perch on my garden swing and poop all over the seat... oh well!

I also had an assassin bug on my office window the other day and got really excited about it, which my co-workers found hilariously odd.
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

I'm starting to find whole uneaten kale now. Looks like the White Cabbage butterfly caterpillars have met their match. Look what I found one one of the kale leaves I harvested today. :D
image.jpg
-- that cluster of white pupae USED to be a caterpillar :twisted: I believe this is another species of predatorial wasp ...maybe trichogramma.

I cut around the pupae and put the piece on top of some radishes that may need the Garden Patrol protrction detail 8)
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imafan26
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

It looks like the rainy season may have started. I stomped on 17 African snails the other day after it had rained overnight. I think I have gotten all of the snails off my nursery bench. I found the last one in a tray and I have baited around and under the bench as well. At least no more seedlings have had their heads chopped off lately.

I hear more of the greenhouse frogs at night now. This is the first year I have had any frogs in my yard. What do they eat?

I am still finding a few ladybugs on patrol. Unfortunately the wasps are out there too and they are less friendly than the bees.
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

Are African snails big? They sound like they would be.
Frogs are typically good bug eaters aren't they? Are you seeing less of any?

I uppotted four of my bigger, 3-5 gal. container plants. They usually tend to have a lot of saw bugs and rollie pollies in them, but there were much less than I expected. I found out why when a big fat sawbug killer spider fell out of the mound of soil mix that came out of the containers.

Naturally, I scooped it up and put it back in one of the uppotted containers. :()

I'm going to put one in each container or at least each grouping from now on. :twisted:
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imafan26
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

African snails are huge. I have caught some with 4 inch shells, but more typically they are about 1-1/2 inches. The are the same snails used for escargot.
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

It's the autumn garden spider season. This one used to make a dinner plate sized orb in the elderberry, but has upsized and has been spanning the lawn from the clump of Sunchokes on the left to the elderberry on the right. I almost walked into it again this morning and had to back away and walk around the Sunchokes to get to the other side. :roll:
image.jpg
Neoscona crucifera - Barn Spider, Hentz's Orb Weaver

This tiny little treefrog was hiding on the back of the compost bin lid you can see half of a cashew shell in the photo for size reference :lol:
image.jpg
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

The members of the Garden Patrol are getting ready to hunker down for the fall and winter:
image.jpg
These won't be the only praying mantis ootheca or spider eggsac, I'm sure, but they were first ones I've seen so far. Even the cool looking saddleback caterpillar isn't exempt from the parasitic wasps. :o
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Wombat
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

Great to see these little insect eaters around the garden again......the frog is the size of my thumbnail and the skinks are about 6'' long. They both first appeared at the end of August now they're everywhere, it's wonderful to see them back :D
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

18°F this morning outside -- far too cold to even think any Garden Patrol is roaming around.

But I have my Winter INDOOR Garden Patrol diligently on duty Image
image.jpg
image.jpg
Now, I have been noticing SPRINGTAILS in my containers. There was a whole mess of them under one the other day, and my hanging basket for Whippersnapper tomato comes alive with these tiny white hoppers every time I water. :x

So I decided to do a bit more research about these critters that I have always considered harmless nuisance detrivores.

First look in wiki yielded this :o
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springtail

They also contribute to controlling plant fungal diseases through their active consumption of mycelia and spores of damping-off and pathogenic fungi.[53][54] It has been suggested that they could be reared to be used for the control of pathogenic fungi in greenhouses and other indoor cultures.[55][56]
...I think this warrants more research.Image
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

Wow! I never heard that before. Awesome!!
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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

...I didn't know where else to put this...

Look what I found when I lifted a block off of another concrete block -- a FAT, sleek field vole. It has obviously been eating stuff from my garden :evil:

Image

When I first lifted the block the little fattie was ducking under the center division, from one cinder block hole to the other as I stood there holding the heavy block. :shock: I set the block back down, went in the kitchen for the iPad, then lifted the block again ...and he was still there, again ducking from one hole to the other.

I put the block aside, picked up and opened the camera app, then had to fiddle with exposure because it was too dark in the hole and he blended right into the shadows. By the time I got the exposure adjusted, the critter was GONE! :? I was nonplussed, but turned off the iPad to resume work. Only minutes later, there was rustling in the cinderblock. When I peered in, he was back, ducking from one hole to the other....

This time I was able to snap a few pics to share. ;)
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

I have those pesky things here too. I doubt I would have brought back a camera. But that is a really good picture.

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applestar
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

Some kind of predatory action going on. Unfortunately I think the victim is a fellow member of the Garden Patrol -- a robber fly -- but I don't recognize the predator. Does anyone?

Image
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pinksand
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Re: Garden Patrol/Friends and Garden Pests Watch

I have no idea what that predatory insect is, but will be curious if someone can ID it!

I just saw your vole post... I keep going back and forth between thinking I have moles or voles. I’ve noticed their tunnels the past couple years and I did have a plant die last year and when I pulled it up it seemed to have a lot of root damage. I’ve looked up the difference and determined it was moles from looking at the shape of the entry holes… then some of the holes looked more vole like. Finally I got a glance at ones face before it tucked back into the hole and decided it was a mole because it didn’t look like it really had eyes and the face was more pointed. Then another night I heard some rustling in the garden and got a full view since he froze when I shone a flashlight on him. His front feet didn’t look like mole feet so I decided he must me a vole. I put out little live mouse traps because I read you could catch voles in them so I placed them by the holes but I keep catching young mice instead! I also put castor oil granules in the garden since I’d read that will deter all of the above.

One day I was out planting and must have disturbed the vole/mole and he came running out! I got a good look and I swear it looks exactly like a mole, but with vole feet! It doesn’t look anything like your photo of your vole with the mouse like fur and face. These eyes aren’t really visible and the fur looks like velvet. The tail is very short and the nose is pointed and maybe a bit fleshy (not star-nosed). Do baby moles not have the wide shovel like front feet yet?

I’ll be sad if they’re moles and I scared them away with the castor oil because I’m more than happy to share my grubs with them!

Have you done anything about your voles or do you just let them be?
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