Insects in the Garden

I have strong negative feelings about Japanese beetles. They swarm in as my Nevada rose comes into bloom and about 20 of them munch down on the fresh flowers destroying it within minutes. Same with some of the Clematis flowers.  I always seem too busy to go and make some safe soap to sprinkle on the plants.

I was in the garden the other day during that heat wave and discovered about 20 of these moths- Ctenucha Virginica on the flowering Goosneck Loosestrife .  I think they are so elegantly clad. Looks like Dior got a hold of them! Sure beats the ugly Japanese beetles in their hard war- like armor!

Ctenucha Virginica on loosestrife

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3 Responses to Insects in the Garden

  1. Per says:

    Hi Don – about the japanese beetles… what is your recipe for safe soap? And while I’m on the subject of things to spray: what do you suggest for black mold on Black Eye Susans. I’ve tried a copper-based spray without much result. Thanks, Per

  2. Don Statham says:

    Hi Per-
    To make Safe soap- take a gallon of water in a watering can
    add about 1 tablespoon of any dish washing liquid
    and about 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil – don’t use good olive oil- vegetable oil will do!
    Mix it up and pour it with a rose head spout so it gently falls on the infected plant. Repeat as necessary. This is good for aphids and all sorts of pests. FYI- it was discovered because housewives in the olden days washed up the dishes in a tub and when they were done they threw the water out the window usually on some plant .They soon realized that the oil or grease kept the soap suds on the plants, and that when garden pests ate the leaves they died!

    In terms of your Black Eye Susan- it sounds like they are in an area with too much shade and not enough air circulation. (let me know if that is the situation) Black Eyed Susan wants to be in the open air, in full sun, and I bet you won’t have this problem. You probably need to plant a shade plant in the area where they are planted now.

  3. Per says:

    Don – your guess about the Black Eye Susans is correct – they do get morning sun (along the driveway, near the road) – and have been blooming nicely, but spend the afternoon in shade (and lately, hotttt… humidddd… shade) and are sheltered from wind by the house and some big old shrubs. Per

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