Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

October 13, 2009

Gitt'n buggy with it!

OK, I admit it, that was a really cheesy title. Gotta keep things interesting though right? Besides, what else was I supposed to title a post with a picture like this is it? Did I mention that I have a TON of Lady beetles in my yard? Yeah, I'm probably supplying the whole neighborhood with all the lady beetles that I have! That picture above is the remains of a Giant sunflower stalk that I removed the head from some time back. The pupa of the lady beetles are all over it. In that picture a rough guess of the number would put me close to 60-70 beetles and pupa. And that's just the top of one plant! They are all over.And they're really big and healthy too! This one is about the size of my pinky nail.
And when you get to watch this many beetles in your backyard eco-system, you get to see a lot of interesting things that you might not normally. Ever seen a lady beetle hatching?It's interesting, they come out and you can noticably tell that their wing covers (Elytra) were still soft and completely devoid of any spots.
Here's another closer look.

In this one you can see the wings out and drying. She's "hanging" around with a few sisters. I'm hoping to get out in the yard soon with a large mason jar stuffed with some straw and begin collecting the beetles into it. An interesting thing about the life cycle of the lady beetle - by the way, I'm pretty sure that these are Harmonia axyridis (Multicolored Asian lady beetle) just in case you were curious - anyway the interesting thing I learned about their life-cycle is that they hibernate over the winter by living off stored fats, just like a bear. Cool huh? My master plan is to have the ladies help me to naturally control next year, what became a very nasty aphid problem this year.

I worked this plan out sometime around mid-summer kind of by accident; let me lay it on you. When I came to grips with the fact that this years aphid outbreak was going to be a big one, I also noticed that because of the very healthy food source, my lady beetle population was also exploding. I figured that if I could encourage a really healthy lady beetle population this year, accepting of course the fact that I would have some crop damage from the aphids that they were feeding on, then next year I could use some organic methods like horticultural oil and kaolin clay early on to limit the number of aphids that hatch on my property. Between a hopefully burgeoning population of beetles and a reduced population of aphids I hope to be able to really be successful at keeping them under control for the foreseeable future, or at least for a year. Anyone have any experience they want to share in that area?

Now, totally unrelated but still pretty cool, I thought I'd show you these pictures of the mushrooms popping up through my mulch on the north side of my shed.

I took these pictures Monday and they weren't a great deal bigger today, but they are growing slowly.I don't know what they are, but it's good to know that the fungi are healthy in the yard too. They play a very important part in the natural decomposition of organic matter in the garden. I'm letting these finish their life-cyle at least to see what they become.

I love watching as the season winds down. Things change, cycles move to their next phases.
Hope the season finds you well.

1 comment:

Kory said...

awesome! Something about sunflowers brings out the randier side of bugs. Thats were all mine tend to congregate and copulate.