Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today's Lesson

Guess what this is. Why it's a mosquito vacuum of course. You can win one simply be signing up for the Birds & Blooms Magazine Backyard Garden Club email newsletter. They're giving away two, that's right count 'em, two of these thingys to lucky newsletter recipients. The advertised cost? Around $270. Being me, I had to go check how this gizmo works. Apparently it's got some sort of blood-sucking bait in the green part. The bait is warmed to make it more attractive with the propane tank. The round part under the green is the bug basket which you must check for yield to determine if you've properly positioned your vacuum. By that I mean in a shady area where mosquitos like to rest, upwind from mosqito breeding sites. You must check it often as these breeding sites change throughout the season. Also you must maintain your propane supply so as not to permit the mosquito population to rebuild.

Did you know that Io moths have no digestive tracts or functioning mouthparts? They survive on stored body fat, living less than a week during which time they must emerge from their cocoon, mate and reproduce. The caterpilars are green with a red, yellow and white strip and yellow spiny puffs on their backs. Careful, don't touch. The puffs release a painful stinging venom.

How about monarch butterflies? Pretty, aren't they? Well, if you want to help preserve them you can have your yard certified as an official Monarch Waystation by the Monarch Watch program through the University of Kansas. The program teaches you how to ensure your yard is monarch-friendly so the butterflies have an oasis during their migration. While they're resting you get to tag them with a sticker to help track their migratory patterns.

Not one for bugs? How about plants? Wax begonias are natives of Brazil, one of more than 1300 species. The French botanist, Begon, thus the name, discovered the plants and took them back with him in the late 1600's. They made their way to American in 1880 and the American Begonia was formed in 1934. There. I'm sure you're all so pleased to possess this knowledge.

Do your purple coneflowers get tiny green flowers all over the blooms? Yank the plant out. It has been infected by a leafhopper with a disease organism known as phytoplasm. But only pull the actual plants with the disease. It's only spread through the exchange of fluids during feasting so the other plants in the area are sage.

Hummingbirds. If you have no life and the patience of a saint it is possible to train them to eat from your hand. Want to know how? Email me and I'll provide you with a step by step guide.

One last tidbit before I conclude today's lesson. If you have an ant problem sprinkle some ground ginger across their trails. They hate that and will evacuate the premises.

Well, I think that's enough for one day. Don't want to overwhelm you. What shall I teach you about next?

Tour de France Update -
Winner Stage 4, July 8 - Schumacher - Germany
Overall Leader - Schumacher - Germany


Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, the ginger info on ants was especially helpful. Thanks.

Amarinda Jones said...

Uh huh...hmmm...right...okay then

I heard Aussie Caddell Evan is 4th in that bike race of yours. See? I know sport

Amarinda Jones said...

Just heard Caddell Evans is still
4th. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!

Anny Cook said...

Heh. Ginger is one that I've never heard of. We used to sprinkle dry Tide on the ant beds.

chimney pipe said...

The ginger is very helpful on ants.