Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pest Control

If you've read my blog you probably realize that I'm anti-pesticide (please hold the sarcasm) but today I'm calling a pest control company.  Why?  We'll get to that.  First here some reasons why not.

Very rough looking American Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) on my Centaura Amethyst in snow.



Ants - look close

Damselfly on Basil

This year we finally started seeing grasshoppers in the yard

More bee, NOID


I consider my garden a shared space.  I share the space with the local wildlife.  I exert control only over the plants and I try to make plant choices that are beneficial to my own personal ecosystem.  That means that I tolerate a great deal of insect "damage" on plants.

Like this spittlebug on Parsley (2nd year plant, you can see flower buds)

And the damage to this violet.

Unfortunately it also means that I will not be planting any more lilies (this damage is done by the Red Lilly Beetle, a non-native species that I apparently have in large numbers).  I could treat these plants yearly for the RLB but there would be collateral damage to some of the insects I want and up the food chain to the local birds.  I don't want lilies bad enough to justify poisoning My Own Personal Ecosystem.

Then there are the species that do even more damage.  Like this cute little rabbit (photographed through the window).  Fortunately the rabbits have not done a lot of damage in any one place.  She seems to nibble here, move on, nibble there.  My plants can handle that type of damage.

Then there are the deer.  Fortunately we don't have a lot of deer in our area.  They are one reason I encourage rampant growth of "wild" violets.  I've found deer will graze violets before most other garden plants and the violets will come back.

On the negative side the deer also found my garden peas.  I'll plant them inside the back yard fence next year where the deer fear to tread.

Why do the deer fear to tread into the backyard?  These garden pests.

Piper is a digger so backyard plants have to be pretty hardy - I protect the shrubs for one to two years and then they are on their own and I plant "aggressive" perennials like Monarda that should be able to take dog damage.

Here's the real predator.  Jasper used to be a feral dog and he can and will catch most types of animals that stray into the backyard (he's caught and killed birds!).  Doesn't look like a garden pest does he?

Ok.  So now back to the big question.  Why am I calling a pest control company?  Because I found this in the garage.

That's evidence of wood destroying insect, probably termites.  Sorry, guys but I need to keep my house.  Insects that hurt me or mine are subject to eviction with prejudice.  (that list is limited to yellow jacket nests, wasp nests near the front door and termites and the first two are because The Husband is allergic)

So I have to swallow my convictions and call.  And try to convice the pest control company to minimize the collateral damage to My Own Personal Ecosystem.  I hope they don't scare off the local garter snake population.

Then I have to control my urge to rant when they try to sell me on monthly applications of pesticide (doesn't THAT sound like a good idea for both the local ecosystem and the health of my family).  

I will NOT smack the pest control guy.

I will NOT smack the pest control guy.

I will NOT smack the pest control guy.

Wish me luck.


  1. Good luck! Sometimes those poisons are the only way to go.

  2. Great pics of the honey bees. And especially the grandpuppies.

  3. You need to watch Billy the Exterminator: He's very eco-friendly. In my neighborhood, deer run so rampant that people hunt them with their cars!! Phyllis --your cousin