Saturday, August 2, 2008


When I walk through my garden in the morning. There are lots of visitors. Cicadas, hover flies, butterflys, grasshoppers(grrr), dragon flies, wasps, and bumble bees. The bumble bees buzz by my head almost every day. This is a little startling, but I have learned not to swat. The bees will not sting unless disturbed (touched) while nectaring or when they feel the hive is threatened. This is a live and let live situation. I rarely get stung and the garden is covered up in bumble bees and wasps.

Unfortunately, I have not seen many honey bees this year. I look for them, they just don't seem to be around. This morning, I found one. She was nectaring on this sun flower. She buzzed off before I could snap her picture. Boy, was I happy to see that little critter.
Here is a short list of things to grow and provide to help out the bees
1. Nectar and pollen flowers. I like zinnias.
2. Violet colored flowers.
3. Bees like a bloom with a bulls eye - Dark eye.
4. Puddled water
5. Variety of blooming plant material.
6. Native plants.
The don't list is pretty straight forward. Pesticides are out. Even many organic pesticides are not selective. They will harm a bee just like they will harm a squash bug. If the bee is visiting a squash bloom you sprayed with poison to kill the squash bug, guess who else gets nuked. Oh and anyone who wants to get into the argument about BT, that's fine, but it will kill butterfly caterpillars, just like it will kill cabbage loopers. Just saying.
One other odd factoid. Bees can't see red.

Here is some moth Middle Monkey found. I think it had just come out of it's chrysalis and had not pumped up its wings yet.
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  1. I spied a bumblebee the other day, rushed inside to get my camera, and never found it again. I planted zinnia seeds that never came up. I'm batting a thousand here. I do have a butterfly bush I planted this year, though it is still small. Do they like those? And I have amazon-sized mosquitoes hovering at my storm door every time I open it, but I'm just so afraid to spray anything!

  2. I love all the wildlife my garden attracts. Great tips on how to attract them!

  3. Wait a minute! How nice are you?!! Providing for the bees and all. You are one special lady.

  4. I've heard that the bee population is decreasing, which is sad. We need our bees!

  5. Brenda, I have successfully run off mosquitos with garlic tea. The butterflys and bees will love the butterfly bush.

    Thanks pg.

    Aw thanks Momo Fali

    Hi musing, yep that is the word. Trying to avoid contributing to the problem around here.

  6. Hi debbi: So glad you've got bees and wasps. Your list is helpful too. I guess (#2) the violet colored flowers explains why there are dozens of bees all over my indigo spires. I get right up next to them (trimming and such) trying not to bother them and once in a while one will come at me and then I remember "oh yeah, they might sting."
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  7. Hi meems, Indigo spires is great for bees and butterflys. Such a pretty flower too.

  8. We have a serious wasp problem in a birdhouse I need to do something with. Its really bad. Your moth looks kinda

  9. Hi cindee, wasps really can be a preblem. They always make nests next to our water fawcets. We just keep knocking them down.

  10. I have a lot of mosquitos here, but I think that's why the birds like it here. They don't bother me too much, they are part of the natural order of things. As long as I can keep the birds around I shouldn't have too much of a problem. I think pesticides are a waste of money anyway, so I don't bother with them. I figure I'll just grow a few extra plants so we can all have something to enjoy.

  11. Great attitude cinj.

  12. Debbie .. I haven't used pesticide this year at all either .. I think I stopped last year .. and we have a lot of bumble bees so that is great. The only rotten thing that has given me the creeps are APHIDS .. an infestation on my false sunflowers like you wouldn't believe .. so the jet option on my hose has been used a LOT with those little buggers .. I'm taking that plant out next Spring but my neighbor has loads of them .. maybe they will stay over there and BUG her ? LOL

  13. Hi joy, my water hose is my best pest irradication tool. In the past I have used organic pesticides on specific bug (squash bugs) I had to spray dirctly on the bug. This year the way I planted confused the squash bugs and there was no problem. Lady bugs take care of most of my aphids.

  14. Squash Bugs have been enemy number 1 this year. They ruined my squash and are attacking my melon vines. They are nasty looking bugs.

    I have agastache Color Spires and it's a non-stop bloomer with loads of insect life. The bees don't mind me cause they are drunk with joy.

    Your moth looks like a bat.

  15. Anna, I planted my squash, corn, and beens together. The squash bugs got lost and gave up. agastache is a cool plant. I saw one in College Station that had hummingbirds all over it. That moth does look like a bat.

  16. Very cool moth! I have a mason bee house, as well as plenty of "wild" bugs of all kinds...more every year since I quit using chemicals.

  17. Lisa looking at the bugs and other critters is part of the fun. Don't know why some people must kill everything.