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Good bugs and disgusting bugs - Warning: graphic photo

By Penny Stine

Normally, I wouldn't be so excited about photos of diseased plants, but I'm thrilled with these.

Yes, these are all photos of the bindweed in various places in my yard - the bindweed doesn't appear to be very healthy.

I picked up a package of bindweed mites from the insectary in Palisade about a month ago and spent an hour one Saturday morning carefully attaching diseased plant material to my healthy bindweed. The mites don't like overhead sprinkling (like most lawn sprinklers), so I was careful to select locations that don't get hit with those types of sprinklers.

Then it rained for two hours that Saturday, and I was afraid my poor little mites got washed away before they could get established.



I've been checking periodically. For a while, I noticed that the bindweed on my tomatillos appeared to have powdery mildew, although none of the garden plants near it did. Then I noticed that some of the bindweed leaves in other places were curling up.




According to the insectary, that's a sign that the plants are now host to a colony of mites. Yay!



The mites will live on, hopefully happily ever after, in my yard and garden. They'll never fully kill the bindweed (because there goes their meal ticket if they do), but they'll keep it in check.
Cool, huh?


What made me realize the mites had gotten established in spite of the rain was this: 

This little miniature rose bush had gotten so choked by the bindweed that it quit blooming. The rose and the sage next to it were totally covered by bindweed when I attached the mites. When I was out in the yard yesterday, I noticed the little red blossoms and realized that both plants looked a lot better and I hadn't done anything to them other than attached the infected bindweed on the back of the plants. 

Next spring and summer, I should be able to pass on infected bindweed to other people who'd like to host a few mites in their gardens.

Oh, while I was out doing my garden stroll, I saw a tomato horn worm! In the dozen or so years I've been growing tomatoes in the Grand Valley, I had never seen one before. 

 It was enormous and disgusting. I should have taken a photo of it, inching up my beautiful Cherokee chocolate tomato plant, but I reacted instinctively and threw it on the ground and stomped it into two oozy little pieces.

When I had collected myself, I went inside for the camera to document the skirmish.

I warned you there was a graphic photo included in this post... 


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My aunt always had tomoato worms and I HATED THEM; they scared me to death.  Now with the show A Bug’s Life I realize how cute they are.  Where do you buy the mites and how much do they cost.  I have a BOAT LOAD of Bind Weed.

You can buy the little buggers directly from the Palisade Insectary. Unfortunately, the insectary keeps regular business hours, M - F only. They charge $35 for a brown paper sack filled with infected plant material.
I still don’t think hornworms are cute… especially when they’re threatening my tomatoes!

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Gardening is not easy, but once you’ve tried it you will want your garden to be healthy and bug free. Having a pond is a big deal these days and you can keep it crystal clear with aquatic weed control. A nice looking pond can really transform your garden!

It is wonderful to live in a small cottage or house, at the countryside. People from these areas like to plant Muscadine grape vines, to plant flowers and make from this hobby a small family business. And they are successful at it because these days the bio products are in high demand.

The one who made these pictures has talent. He has captured in these photos exactly what was needed to see how a harvest can be destroyed by bugs and other insects. As a matter of fact, if someone needs a professional photographer, the one from http://www.jackophoto.com/clients/ is an expert in any field, either he is hired for a photo session at a wedding or for a cat contest.

If you plan to start gardening, then knowing the difference between good bugs and bad bugs is a must. Pests are known to destroy entire crops so you better be ready for them. If you’re more into landscaping though, then you should take a look at these commercial lawn mowers, they are really great!

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