Friday, May 29, 2009


Six spotted Green Tiger Beetle "Cicindela sexguttata" 

A "Bug Exterminator" said he was having the best year ever; making more income this spring than he has ever made in a whole year. I'm not surprised.

I don't think I remember a buggier year. It's tempting to spray all the yard, bushes, and one's self until every bug is gone.

I doubt it's healthy, but I do use bug repellent on my person. While outside this morning, I had to spray twice. Not only were the gnats in swarms but the flies were biting and I'm just sure several hundred other painful flying pests. I have three bites from over a week ago that still hurt and itch.

It does make more sense to use insect repellent on your skin and clothes rather than spray everything else in your yard. Yard insecticide for pests are not particular who they kill - both good and bad bugs. Plus, unless you live in a bubble, it is not possible to keep other bugs from filling the "bug vacuum" left behind.

The above Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle is an example. Because of the brilliant green to bluish green shine, it might be assumed to be as harmful as the Japanese Beetle Popilla japonica. Not true.

The Six-spotted eats small insects and spiders. A Good Bug! The Japanese eats the leaf and fruit tissues and of over 200 plants. A Bad Bug!

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders can be a help in determining if you need to take measures to eliminate an insect in your yard and gardens. Taking a picture will help you identify the small differences before they scurry off. For us average gardeners, we are seldom prepared to identify (let alone remember) each detail that can help categorize insects.

A few interesting facts:

Beetles are the largest order (Coleoptera) in the animal kingdom. 300,000 world wide and about 30,000 species in North America. Coleoptera means "sheath wings" for the hard armor like fore wings that cover (when sitting) the hind wings (used for flying.)

Many beetles are predators, other are scavengers, and a few are parasites. Some species attack plants and stored foods, while others pollinate flowers and eat plants pests. The larvae, called grubs, can be predators or vegetarians.

I'm just sure this is the year when screened porches will be a valuable commodity!

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