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Friend or Foe?

Being a master gardener means –sharing   gardening wisdom—sometimes thats easy:”No you really should not order grass seed from the Sunday supplement magazine.”

But other times  its not so easy.  And that brings up the question of the moment:  “Is this bug good or bad”  Or worse,  “friend or foe”?

Ladybug, The Gardener's Friend, Known for Eating Aphids

Ladybug, The Gardener’s Friend, Known for Eating Aphids

 

First ask your questioner “what makes a bug ‘good?”  Of course–they eat “bad” bugs–everyone knows that.  But this is the thing  insects are most often specialized  in is their eating.  You, for example, might have a great wish to eat ice cream–but if there is no ice cream–carrot sticks or even–chocolate cake–might do.  Most insects are not like that.  They eat what they have, over a very long time period,   been designed to eat.

So, that means if you want the so-called good bugs in you garden–what do you also need in your garden??  Oh no–its bad bugs!!!  Yes its true  and its the only way.  You really must rethink the whole situation.

Red Wasp, a Beneficial Insect, Not a Foe

Red Wasp, a Beneficial Insect, Not a Foe

 

Balance is what the garden needs. That isn’t something that happens overnight or even stays that way once its achieved.  Remember playing on a seesaw?  It took awhile to get the perfect balance–and then someone jumped  off!!  Thats how it can seem.

But with healthy soil,  a diversity of plants, as many native as possible, and reasonable maintenance  you will have some amazing experiences of natures ability to make  what first seem like problems into beauty.  Oh yes–watching ladybug larvae eating aphids –well its beautiful in its on way.  The wasps that eat some monarch larvae also eat those caterpillars that love the broccoli.

 

So, When you are asked “friend or foe?”  Well ask you questioner to pull up a chair–it may take awhile.

Susan

Pictures by Starla

 

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