Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Damn garden pests

Clearly my garden is yummy not only to us.  Growing food is a constant Battle! Of! The! Bugs!  The question is who can get to the plant first?

In the clematis corner we have Earwig Damage!

Battling Earwig Damage is Hole-y Margarine Cup and his sidekick Canola Oil!

So far Earwig Damage is kicking Maragine Boy's puny arse.  He'll soon be replaced by Newspaper Tube Man.

Ever seen one of these beeeyootiful butterflies?

Don't for a SECOND think it's an innocuous insect.  This jerkwad of a bug's larvae turn my cabbage into lace.  It's called a cabbage moth for a reason.  As you may notice from this fuzzy picture the damn worms are exactly the same color as the cabbage leaves in the background.

Twice a day, and I do mean TWICE, I comb over the cabbage plants for the damn things.  This morning I found 5, this evening 3 more.  And that's on top of the 5 or so I got yesterday.

Luckily the chickens looooove cabbage moth larvae.  They've gotten a steady diet of the teensy green twinkies over the past weeks, which they've dutifully turned into eggs for us.

That's kinda gross when I say it like that.  Nevermind.

And finally, there's an even more insidious insect in the yard.

The western tent caterpillar:

I found 2 small nests last weekend in my apple tree, thankfully before they had grown to any substantial size.  This one had only just started to hatch, with maybe a half dozen caterpillars munching and tenting.  You can see the white egg case in both pics.  The larvae were about a half-inch long.

Tent caterpillars seem to come in cycles here in the PNW and this is only the 2nd time I've ever found them in my 7 years in my home.  I suspect that this is going to be a bad year because we had a relatively mild winter.  Tent caterpillars can be terrifically damaging to trees, not to mention unsightly. 

There are lots of different ways to deal with tent caterpillars.  The best way is to simply prune the affected branch and discard it in the yard waste bin.

And in case you're wondering, as I was: yes, chickens love tent caterpillars.

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