Monday, August 13, 2007

Finally the machine is out of the shop: Barn Swallows, The Bugs from Hell, and a Substrate Walkway.

Hirundo rustica chicks in a nest under a raised walkway.
Two young Barn Swallows nap on the edge of their nest.

And why are they perched on the edge instead of snuggled down into it?

Because it's 90 something degrees outside and their mud daub nest is situated on the top of a light fixture which is illuminated 24 hours a day. Their mud nest is somewhat insulating of course and they aren't panting so the edge perch must be doing the trick.

A few weeks ago I glanced at a little bug on one of my vines.

A few days later, I noticed a couple of bugs on the broad leaves. I looked a little closer and passed on.

A few days later, there were literally thousands of them and they were really doing a number on the garden.
Time for a little soapy water spray to get them to move along. Any thoughts on what they are. None of the local gardeners have noted them before this. I've sent a photo on to the state agricultural department but no news yet.

Eeeeek! They must relish soapy water and they don't seem to be very picky about which leaves they eat. They are non-specific in a major way. Munch, munch, munch, munch. There are thousands of them. They fly, they hop, they run; they're every where. And they are very bad bugs to have in one's garden.

They also mosey. La de da, la de da. They do love Okra and it doesn't even have to be rolled in egg and cornmeal and then fried. The Bugs from Hell eat theirs straight.
Plan two, time for a little manual squashing. No headway, and I've nabbed dozens upon dozens of the slow ones.

Okay, plan three...sticky fly paper. Nah na na na nah. These are wiley bugs, they only land on leaves.

The predators are out. Yea! But do
Daddy Long Legs eat these critters? So far I haven't seen him go for one.

Plan four, look at the life cycle. The breeding female adults go to the blossoms, eat pollen and then lay eggs inside the blossom. What happens with the pupa I haven't seen yet but the young matures seem to be burrowing their way out of the blossoms. Or is it the females? Whoever they are their mandibles are at the ready they begin their terror-to-leaves eating spree.
So why aren't there any bug eating birds hanging around having a feast when you need them? Lack of habitat?

And as to Mr Long Legs, I've my doubts about his appetite for bad bug eating. He's on the Sage, one of the few plants so far that has escaped the infestation. Looks like Sage isn't a favorite. Smell or flavor possibly repells them?
Super! The Lady Bugs are out. At least I think that's a Lady Bug. Though it 's not the type I'm used to, it's a lady bug. But as there are 350 kinds in the U.S. I've not discovered as yet which one. Actually it looks like your reasonably common lady bug wearing a Japenese Noh Drama mask. Hmm, I wonder it it's doing a tragedy. Probably because though Lady Bugs eat other bugs. The other bugs they eat are aphids. Not my current problem. Look up right in the photo. Guess who?

This used to be an okra plant. Looking on the bright side? It's now vegetative lace!
I wonder if I put Sage in a food processor, zapped it, put in some kind of oil perhaps so it would stick, and sprayed the other plants if the bugs from hell would go somewhere else. It certainly would be worth a shot as my usual remedies are useless.
Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters

No Pirate the Squirrel is not praying, thanking the universe for suet, though he is stuffing himself with it . Pirate is blind in one eye. I saw him in midwinter and worried that he might not survive. But there he is, sleek as can be, gobbling suet, in August yet. If he isn't careful it will be high cholesterol that gets him, not lack of vision on one side.

What have we here? There is tunneling under the substrate of the grass clippings. The tunnel begins under the leaves of the flower bed.

Then does a straight shot for a few feet, and not only is the substrate parted, but the path seems well used enough that there is also a depression in the dirt. Could it be Midnight the Northern Short-tailed Shrew and his friends? That's my bet.

The straight a way then splits into three raised substrate areas. What causes the arch?

Multiple exits/entrances depending on which way they are going to hunt or coming back? I'll keep an eye peeled ant let you know.
Donegal Browne

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