by Sandy Swegel
Who’s in My Garden? That’s the question I’m hearing most this week. What is this and what do I do about them?
Grubs and larvae. These big squishy curled-up fat wormy looking things are usually the larval forms of beetles or moths. Lots of cutworms especially. They aren’t your friends because they usually come out of dormancy hungry and start chowing down your plants. What do I do with them? I put the grubs and other unwelcome critters like snails and slugs in the bird feeder. Mama birds who are always watching you even if you don’t realize it will swoop down as soon as soon as you walk away and take the grubs and slugs to feed their new babies.
Solitary wasps and bees
When I’m vigorously cleaning up spring debris, I sometimes accidentally unearth a solitary wasp or bee. These are usually still dormant so I haven’t gotten stung. I usually just recover them with debris and move on. Sometimes they are yellow jackets which I really should kill….but I don’t know bees and wasps enough to tell the beneficial ones from the bad ones…I’ll get the yellow jackets in the pheromone traps later this month.
I’m happy to say there are lots of ladybugs this year. When I disturb them during cleanup, I just apologize and put them back in place. I know they’re eating aphid eggs and all kinds of undesirable things.
There are the bigger critters naturally. The rabbits and mice and voles chomping on emerging bulbs. Squirrels digging up tulip bulbs. Rat traps will get the voles. Hawks and cats often take care of mice. Squirrels and rabbits: good luck. One friend has trapped 11 squirrels this week and relocated them fifty miles away.
Enjoy the Spring weather and spring flowers….and use this new-life time of year to notice how many critters share your garden space. Birds in the air, and grubs in the soil. It’s all good.
Photo credit bird: Angela Vidrich https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6167398051
Photo credit grub: http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu