Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bugs in bags

My next book project with my radio partner Doug Oster is in the hands of the publisher at long last. A Gardener's Journal is set for national release by St. Lynn's Press (the same folks who published Grow Organic) in late autumn. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Doug and I have been journaling about our gardens for years but neither one of us have ever found the perfect journal. They either don't have enough room to write, you have to use them in the year they are printed, or they offer you nothing in the way of new gardening information. So we created a journal that fills in all the gaps; one that you can use from year to year, you can write in it as much (or as little) as you like, and it offers new gardening tips and some interesting stories from our own gardening lives. We hope folks like it as much as they've liked Grow Organic!

So now (since I'm crazy) I've been busy collecting bugs in bags for yet another book project in the works. I need to gather live specimens of common garden pests as well as beneficial insects to be photographed (by Doug) for an organic pest guide that will hopefully come to fruition sometime in 2008. What this means is that I've actually been hoping to find pests in my garden (another clear indication of my craziness!); and, so far, it has not been a problem. Plenty of squash bugs, four lined plant bugs, Japanese beetles, slugs, aphids and the like have showed up and graciously allowed me to trap them and put them in sealed plastic baggies. Every week I show up to the radio studio with a shopping bag full of bugs to had off to Doug!

The good news: I somehow managed to capture a tiny little parasitic wasp yesterday morning hanging about on my aphid infested rose plant (probably an Aphidius wasp that lays it's eggs on aphids), and, even more exciting, is the fact that last night I was looking at all the bugs hanging out on the screen outside the kitchen window and there was a beautiful green lacewing! - one of the most voracious pest eaters out there. Of course I carefully captured it in a tupperware container and hauled it off to the studio this morning. Now I'd just like to find some of their eggs to photograph. They are usually laid along a blade of grass and they are tiny bitty things on the end of thin filaments - they look like little lollipops in a row.

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