Garden Blog: Good Bug, Bad Bug

I’ve never minded sharing some of the veggie harvest with the wildlife, so the first few holes in the leaves of the wax beans didn’t motivate aggressive action. Big mistake. In a matter of a few days the leaves looked like fine lace. These little bugs were all over them. They not only eat the leaves but leave round bite marks in the baby beans and they’ll even chew the blossoms. I spend about 10 minutes twice a day pulling them off of the yellows and the limas, and they are getting over their bafflement of the climbing green pole beans. A weak dishwater solution, misted, didn’t faze them, so I added cayenne powder to the mix, which did but clogged the sprayer. Ground clove has also been suggested but next I’ll probably try clove oil, already on hand.

I thought they’d eat, mate and die but have found out that they winter over. Mercy.

bean leaf beetle
The bean leaf beetle can vary quite a lot in size and color, from yellow to red and not necessarily sporting spots. They always seem to have the black triangle at the base of the wings, though.

Another patch of garden has reseeded itself with dill for about 10 years but only now has attracted big fat caterpillars painted in dill-and-shadow colors.

black swallowtail caterpillar

dill weed flowers

They are black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, which will also eat fennel, parsley and Queen Ann’s lace.

black swallowtail butterfly

I have a bunch of my own pictures but they are contained in an old-fashioned camera with, you know, film. I’ll put them up when they are ready. Meanwhile, enjoy these wonderful “place holders.”