Sunday, June 15, 2014

Good Bug, Bad Bug

So much of gardening is about bugs.  I spend a lot of time killing bad ones and a lot of time writing about it!  But I don't kill all bugs. I was thinking today at what a busy buggy garden I have.  There are a lot of dragon flies, lightening bugs, lady beetles, various and sundry flies and bees.  It's a pretty active place.  And you have to know your bugs.  Reader MatthewB recently commented about how the earwigs left off eating the cilantro and went to eating the aphids.  Perfect!  That's what we want.  Good bugs eating Bad bugs.

Asparagus Beetles are narrow and start off orange, darkening as they mature

So... know your bugs.  This morning I found a Lady Bug hanging out in the asparagus.  She came really close to being exterminated with the Asparagus Beetles.  In fact, I had her stuck before I went "wait, that's too round for an Asparagus Beetle!" and carefully picked her off.

Lady Beetles come in many patterns but are very round and hard shelled.
If you want a garden eco system balanced in your favor you need more good bugs than bad bugs.  Good bugs eat the bad ones and pollinate your flowers.  You have to know what you're doing when you start killing things.  Mac's Field Guide comes in handy.

Mac's Field Guide Good Bugs and Bad Bugs of the Northeast

You can get these on Amazon.  They are available by geographical area and are laminated with a little hole for hanging in the garden shed.  You just compare your bug to the pictures.  If there is any doubt, take you clues and go to for confirmation.  There you can get lots of photos of Asparagus Beetles or Lady Bugs.  Then you can go to  and figure out who eats who.

If that doesn't solve it, you can start Googleing other gardener's solutions for your bad bug.  There are some really clever people out there.  I will forever be grateful to Quinn from the Reformation Acres Blog for the Duct Tape solution to squash bugs (and flea beetles, cucumber beetles and asparagus beetles).  She turned me into a Bad Bug Killing Machine!

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