Wednesday, July 12, 2006

White spotted beneficial!

In my last post I metioned a rare beneficial I found in my garden....this one was colorful, large and covered with white spots. I learned recently that it helps fight all bugs but most especially Japanese Beetles. I was most interested in this since they are eating my pole beans and I am not likely to get any for my own table. It seems that this beneficial leaves a white dust on the plants that the Japanese beetles are attracted to....they eat the dust and then when they consume water they explode. I have seen the part where they eat the dust but I have not had the pleasure of seeing the little explosions....but I can just picture it in my mind....little "pops" all over my garden and small puffs of smoke rising into the air....I wonder if I can hear it in the still of the night.

Here is a picture of the beneficial right after "dusting" all the plants with the powder...also known as self-rising flour :) Isn't it the CUTEST bug you have ever seen? One I definitely plan on keeping! It is amazing to me that this little 8 year old "bug" was able to cover himself as much as the plants when he walked down the aisles using my battery powered sifter (hey when you bake as much as I do you LOVE the battery powered sifter!)

This has probably turned into Elijah's favorite job...right after picking flower bouquets, squash, cherry tomatoes and bugs!

He is a handy helper in the garden and I am thankful for the many things he does - especially the squishing bugs part!
His brothers were stringing up tomatoes during his flour
frenzy and I was busy cutting back the cukes that were overtaking their neighbors!

This next picture gives you an idea of the ring left around the tub after this bath - quite a combination of black and white! He is inspecting my trim
job on the cukes - and encouraging me that I have done a good job. Elijah is the exhorter in our family - he always has something nice to say to everyone...good job, great meal, delicious dessert, nice must be a gifting from God because I have never seen anything like it in the natural!

I look at this picture and TRY to assure myself that he didn't stand directly under the sifter.....but I am not quite able to convince myself :)

I have also decided that I know what bug family he came from - stink bugs! Oh, not because he has an fact he has the most delicious smell in the world....I think it is more the resemblance to the species...check out this last picture and tell me if you don't agree that you can just see the "stinker" in him!

Next post....... Mullein!


  1. Great tip....I will pass it along on my blog site, as there are several 'steaders complaining about JB's.

    I also have a "beneficial" about the same age and then one aged 5, and they did a bang up job this spring of digging for grubs in the tilled-up garden spots. I have noticed a significant decline in JB's this year vs. last. We'll get them one way or the other!

  2. Looks like a "love bug" to me, Cheri! That last photo is just priceless. I see mischief in the making written all over his face. Stinker, indeed! I have my own little beneficial as well. Six-year-old Anna-Rose helped me transplant some peppers the day before yesterday. She did great! I'll have to try the sifter idea on the blackberry bushes the JB's are ravaging. Seems to be their favorite at the moment. They didn't even bother my roses. I hope when my guineas are grown they find them to be a tasty snack. The chickens just don't seem to relish beetles of any variety.

    I can't wait for your mullein post. We don't have any in our yard but there are dozens of plants growing on the empty property across the street! I'm going to call the owner and ask if they mind my harvesting them. Oh, by the way, I forgot to email you about the comfrey but have read that it should be harvested before blooming in order to get a stronger concentration of the beneficial oils in the leaves. Is that correct?

  3. He sure is cute! And certainly has the mischieveous look!

    I'd be interested in the answer to Emily's comfrey question too....

    And thank you for the advice on the treatment for JB's!

  4. I agree with Emily... he is a definite love bug. My beneficial grew up (way too fast I might mention). Enjoy every day with them. Before you know it they are 22 and a man.

  5. Mary Ellen SmithJuly 22, 2006 at 6:56 AM

    Oh, I am going to dust my pole beans today! I have the exact same problem!

    As for your little stink bug...well if he is a stinker what does that make mine? Ewwwww.


  6. Emily,
    Although it is true for some herbs (being harvested before flowering) with comfrey you actually want to harvest the leaves and flowers during bloom!

    Farm Girl,
    So oldest is 24 and seems like yesterday that I rocked him to sleep at night!

    Mary Ellen,
    Yours is a sweetie of course :)

  7. What a good tip! I will definitely have to use it, as the Japanese beetles are moving in rapidly to my garden! I must confess that I was looking for a special flower photo... When I saw your son, I thought you had your photos mixed up! Then, the lightbulb went off in my head! :D


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