Friends in the Garden

Don’t Mash Them on Sight

There are countless species of insect in each garden if you look closely enough.  Most of us mash the unknown bugs at first sight especially when they look intimidating or ugly.  Fine, they may not look cute like Ladybug (Coleoptera coccinellidae) but most of them are pollinators and a lot of them help you rid your garden of pests.  Not all the unknowns are out to get our plants; they may be our allies.  Give them a chance to live and be part of your world and give yourself a chance to have an easy work in the garden.

I have always been curious about insects since my youth.  I used to catch them, pin them and look them up.  Now, I just photograph them and look them up.  Less bad Karma this way.  If they turned out to be bad guys for the garden, they’d better hide from me next time.

It’s been a challenge for me each year to see what new insects show up in our garden, both friend and foe.  Both pretty and ugly.  It’s very much like a treasure hunt, only these treasure will fly away from me most of the time.  I take it as a personal accomplishment if I find a new beneficial insect or more of the beneficial ones that are already in the garden.

I do organic gardening, so chemical and pesticides are not in the equation.  Insect infestation is not my problem though.  Between the birds and carnivorous insects patrolling the garden, the bad insect population control is pretty much done.  I still have a little problem with Japanese beetles, but far less than before.  These are some of the hard to spot or intimidating little guys in our garden.

Ambush Bug (Phymata americana) embedded herself in the Summersweet flowers.
Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) loves taking nectar from flowers. They also take other insects as food for their larvae.
Robber Fly (Promachus fitchii) in the act of catching his prey.
Mason Wasp (Monobia quadridens) loves taking nectar from flowers and takes cutworms for their young.
Two of the strange looking Hover Flies. They are great pollinators though.
One of many types of Hover Fly (Syrphidae, not sure of exact type) in the garden

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