Friday, August 16, 2013

Be Careful with Insecticides in Your Garden by Cynthia Cox

Bumble Bee photo courtesy Whitney Cranshaw
You think your flowers are getting buggy, so out comes the insecticide. Beware, you may be harming the bugs that are helping keep your flowers beautiful. Get to know the friends of flower gardens. Here are a few.

The Bumble Bee: Large, fuzzy, with yellow, orange or black bands; may be carrying pollen baskets on its legs; very noisy.  Loves rosemary, clover, and sunflowers (all kinds of sunflowers).
The Native Bee: varies by species as to looks; a non-picky flower lover, loves all kinds of flowers, especially natives!
The Pollen Wasp: has a club antennae; loves western wildflowers (scorpionweed, beard-tongue).This wasp is a vegetarian, feeds on pollen instead of spiders and insects.
The Monarch Butterfly: orange-brown with black veins, lined in black with white spots. Did you know the Monarch feeds on milkweed to make it unpalatable to birds? 
The European Honeybee: smaller than a bumblebee and fuzzy; loves penstemon and  flowers in general.
 The Hoverfly: looks like a yellow jacket, flies like a dart, very quick; loves yarrow and feverfew.  Its larvae is very helpful in that it preys on aphids .
The Bee Fly: looks like a bee only with two wings instead of four; loves desert and alpine flora.
 The Drone Fly: looks like a honeybee but with one set of wings; loves cosmos, Queen Anne’s Lace, and lupine and just like a bee goes from flower to flower. 
So please be careful with that bug spray. A good substitute is Neem Oil found at garden centers and doesn’t harm these friends of flowers.