5 Fall Chores You Can Do NOW To Avoid Bugs In Next Year’s Garden

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5 Fall Chores You Can Do NOW To Avoid Bugs In Next Year's Garden

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As the season comes to a close for many gardeners in North America, you may be thinking of some much-deserved “time off” from your garden. After all, you’ve spent the last few months caring for plants and probably battling a few garden pests.

But before you pack in your gardening for this year, why not get a jump on battling next year’s pests? That’s right, there are a few things that you can do right now, in the fall, to help you avoid some of next year’s pest problems.

Let’s look at the end-of-season tasks that can help make next year’s gardening season a whole lot smoother.

1. Give your garden a final weeding.

If you’re like many gardeners, wedding is probably your least favorite task, but removing weeds one last time is going to give you a leg up on battling pests come spring. That’s because a weedy garden can allow many of this year’s pests to survive the winter, giving them a ready supply of food and shelter.

Pulling weeds now has the added advantage of making your spring gardening tasks a lot less daunting, too. After all, come spring you’ll be excited about planting, and the less time that you have to spend weeding, the better.

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Why not pull them now instead and start the new season with a few less bugs?

2. Get rid of dead plants and debris.

Just as pests enjoy hiding out in weeds, they also can thrive in dead and diseased plant material and other garden debris. The last thing you want to do is leave a bug buffet out for your garden foes all winter!

Clean up your garden before winter, being sure to remove any annual plants or any crops that are diseased or dead.

Be sure that these diseased plants don’t find their way into your compost, either, unless you are absolutely sure that your compost will heat up (between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal). Otherwise, you could end up inadvertently re-introducing pests to your garden after you’ve worked so hard to remove them.

If you’re at all unsure whether your compost pile will heat up enough to kill these pests, then throw out diseased plant material.

3. Till your soil.

5 Fall Garden Chores You Should Do NOW To Avoid Bugs Next Year

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Removing weeds and old plants alone does not ensure you’ve gotten rid of the bugs. In fact, some of the worst offenders like to burrow in the ground and remain there over winter only to emerge when the weather warms again – ready to destroy a freshly planted garden. Don’t give them that chance.

To deal with these nasty critters, get out your rototiller one more time this season and give your garden a good, deep tilling. This will help to push those pests deeper underground. Other pests will be pulled up to the surface, where it will become too cold for them to survive.

Tilling your garden once more at the end of the season also has the added benefit of introducing more organic matter into the soil.

4. Amend your garden if necessary.

The healthier your soil is, the healthier your plants will be. And the healthier your plants are, the less vulnerable they will be to pesky garden insects. If it’s been a while since you’ve done a soil test, take the end of the season as an opportunity to do so.

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Adjust your soil’s pH with any amendments as necessary. Planting a cover crop in the fall and then turning it under in the spring is a great way to add more nitrogen to the soil.

5. Start planning your spring garden.

Planning next year’s garden is about more than deciding what variety of tomato you’d like to try next year. It’s also about reviewing any pest problems that you had the previous season and strategizing how to avoid them in the coming season.

Part of your strategy should be crop rotation. If a particular crop encountered pest problems one year, it should be moved to a different location in the next year.

Another part of the strategy involves how you choose your varieties of vegetables. Depending on what problems you experienced, research some varieties of plants that are resistant to those problems. Or research what types of companion plants can help to minimize the problem.

So before you hang up your gardening gloves this season, take the time to prepare for spring and give yourself the advantage over pests next year.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:  

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5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

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5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Basil. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Summer is here, and that brings one unfortunate type of creature: bugs.

Mosquitoes and fleas, and other bugs and insects, can become a real annoyance and ruin anyone’s outdoor fun. But there is an all-natural way to fight back against these pests: with herbs!

The five herbs below, and their essential oils, can help repel those annoying bugs throughout summer.

1. Basil. Basil is not only a delicious herb but is also great for repelling bugs. Flies and mosquitoes hate basil. Use it to repel bugs by planting it, making a spray with it, or rubbing the leaves directly on yourself.

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When plating the basil, put it near areas where you most want to keep those pesky insects away from you. A simple spray could be made by steeping the leaves in water for a couple of hours. Then, take just the basil-water and mix it with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and spray it on yourself.

2. Mint. Its intoxicating and overwhelming smell is what keeps mosquitoes away. Mint can be made into a spray by mixing its essential oil (a few drops of peppermint oil) with vinegar or water. The plant itself also can be utilized as a repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin directly, or by placing the plant wherever you hang out most often.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Lavender. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Lavender. One of the best-smelling and beautiful plants is lavender, and it has one of the most beneficial attributes to be used in the summer months. Lavender is perfect at repelling moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes! This is the one herb that can do it all. Yet it is beneficial to not only you but also your garden. Hang it in your house and even by the doorways to keep the flies away. It can also be made into a spray like the other herbs.

4. Lemon thyme. When using this herb it is important to bruise the leaves before rubbing it on the skin. The only way the aroma is released is by smashing it or bruising it to release the oils. Then it can be applied to the skin. Among bugs and insects, lemon thyme is best used to repel mosquitoes.

5. Lemon balm. Lemon balm is an amazing plant that not only repels “bad” bugs but also attracts good ones. It repels annoying insects like mosquitoes, gnats or flies and attracts insects like butterflies and bees. This allows for your garden to be cared for by the beneficial bugs and protected from the pesky bugs. This herb can be crushed and applied to the skin or put on a patio or deck, or even planted in the garden, so as to protect you when you work.

In nature, there is a balance of good and bad. Nature gives us those annoying bugs, but nature also provides us plants to repel them when needed. Now that you have discovered what herbs to use, you can keep those exasperating insects away and actually enjoy your evenings outside, bug-free.

What herbs would you add to this list? Share them in the section below:  

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

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8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick — But Is Safe For Humans!)

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

If you’re determined to grow a healthy garden without benefit of pesticides, you’re definitely on the right track. Conventional pesticides kill both good and bad bugs, leaving no natural controls that keep pests in check. As a result, pests are replaced with even tougher, chemical-resistant super-pests, with no beneficial insects left behind to maintain control.

Try not to panic if your plants are bothered by an occasional nibble, as “sharing” the garden is part of growing organically. Keep your plants properly watered. Ensure the soil is healthy and rich in organic materials. Keep in mind that healthy plants are always more pest-resistant than plants that are stressed.

If you find that your garden is overrun with pests in spite of good gardening practices, then consider natural alternatives such as these.

1. Beneficial insects. Such as lacewings, ladybugs, ground beetles, pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, praying mantis and hover-flies. Beneficial insects have preferred targets, so a healthy diversity of helpful bugs will help control a variety of pests, such as aphids, thrips, scale, mites and whiteflies.

2. Beneficial plants. Many blooming plants attract beneficial insects. For example, try alyssum, cosmos, Shasta daisy, yarrow, calendula and coreopsis, as well as herbs like dill, fennel, lemon balm, parsley and coriander. On the other hand, some plants, most notably marigolds, may help deter harmful pests.

3. Handpicking. Although it isn’t anybody’s favorite job, picking pests by hand is a highly effective natural pest control technique made easier with a good pair of gardening gloves. Most pickable insects, including caterpillars, slugs and tomato hornworms, are most active at dusk.

4. Diatomaceous earth. This powdery substance is made of the skeletal remains of tiny marine creatures known as diatoms. The abrasive dust abrades the outer covering of soft-bodied pests like potato beetles, squash bugs, slugs, snails, aphids, whiteflies and others, causing the pest to dry out and die. Although diatomaceous earth is safe, wear a dust mask because the dust can irritate your lungs.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Insect Killer!

5. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – A naturally occurring bacteria, Bt is non-toxic to humans, pets, birds and wildlife. However, when it is eaten by pests, the toxin dissolves in the gut and causes death in three to five days. Bt, available as spray or dust, is best applied in late afternoon and must be reapplied after rainfall or irrigation. The substance also can be mixed with insecticidal soap (see below), which improves coverage.

8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick -- But Is Safe For Humans!)

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Insecticidal soap – A spray made of natural soap (not dish soap or hand soap), insecticidal soap spray isn’t toxic to people or animals, but deadly to soft-bodied pests like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites. It is relatively safe, but because it kills on contact, it shouldn’t be applied when beneficial insects are present on the plant. Insecticidal soap spray works fast and is safe to use on vegetables up to harvest time. Don’t spray in the heat of the day or when the sun is directly on the plant.

7. Homemade sprays – The jury is out on homemade pest control sprays; some gardeners swear by them, while others claim they are a waste of time. If you’re inundated with pests, it won’t hurt to give them a try, and they might just work.

  • Garlic spray – Blend 10-12 garlic cloves in a quart of water, and then let the smelly mixture sit for at least a full day. Strain the solution through cheesecloth and add a cup of vegetable oil. For even more punch, add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper or chili powder, then let the mixture sit for another 24 hours. The spray, which is highly concentrated, should be mixed at a rate of ½ cup to 1 gallon of water.
  • Insecticidal soap spray – Mix 1 ½ tablespoon of natural soap (such as castile or oil soap) with a quart of water and a few drops of cooking oil, which helps the spray stick to foliage. You also can add a teaspoon of garlic or a garlic bulb, and/or a small amount of cayenne pepper. Some gardeners like to add one or two drops of citrus essential oil.
  • Red pepper spray – This simple spray consists of a tablespoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper and six drops of natural soap in a gallon of water. Mix well and apply weekly, or as needed.

8. Horticultural oil – A type of highly refined oil, horticultural oil plugs the pores so that insects can’t breathe. They soon suffocate. Although the oil dissipates quickly and little residue is left behind, horticultural oil shouldn’t be applied on very hot or cold days, or on drought-stressed plants. Horticultural oil is effective against a variety of pests, including spider mites, aphids, leaf hoppers and whiteflies, among others.

What all-natural pest-control recipes would you add? Share your gardening tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Uninvited guests

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They are back,  the uninvited guests who arrive as soon as the weather turns warm enough. I’m talking about bugs,  insects and arachnids.  In the last few weeks we are killing 2 and 3 kissing bugs each night,  fortunately they aren’t making it inside the SkyCastle,  but it’s not for lack of trying on their part.

They arrive after dark,  when you are asleep,  they are over an I checked long,  crawl up to your face and suck your blood. Think of a giant mosquito with a beetle body…

They carry and spread Chagas,  a parasite that causes a chronic disease that slowly eats holes in your heart and lungs,  eventually leading to death.

I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge about these insert to,  especially here in west Texas,  I tell my neighbors about them and they seem oblivious,  I suppose it’s mainly because these are nocturnal creatures that are rarely if ever seen during the day.

The other creatures that invade in warmer weather are the ants, spiders, wasps, flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks…  It’s just a matter of knowing when to expect them and how to make it inhospitable for them.

What creepy crawlies do you deal with and what do you do about it?

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Hunting in the evening

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I went hunting tonight, my quarry is small and hard to find, unless you have the right equipment. I only bagged one this evening, it was a bit too cool for them to be very active, a young one was in my path and I stomped it to smithereens.

My quarry tonight was the not so humble scorpion. This is a creature that has plagued us since our first summer out here in the desert. I tend to be a live and let live kind of gal, but when they come into my house, fall on me (and my dogs) and sting, that’s when I declare war.

We don’t have the really painful (and deadly) ones, just the small brown ones, they do pack a punch though, I found out the hard way.

I know all the wild creatures out here have their place, but I’d rather they stay outside. We had our first scorpion of the season inside the SkyCastle just a few weeks ago, it was crawling across the ceiling and dropped right on Zoe’s nose, (one of my dogs), fortunately it didn’t sting her and she didn’t mess with it after she shook it off. And equally fortunately, we saw it happen and was able to put it out of its misery before it caused us any misery.

With the warmer weather comes the bugs, and we live in a very buggy place, it’s one of the things I like about winter, no bugs to speak of. But as soon as the weather warms up, especially at night, out they come. I even saw a couple of Junebugs, a whole month early, of course there are a plethora of moths and other flying & crawling critters that seek any crack or opening to come inside.

I knew that scorpions light up (fluoresce) under blacklight (UV light), they glow like a cheap kids toy, the great part is they don’t seem to know they are glowing and don’t try to get away, that gives me a few extra seconds to take aim with my boot. My light of choice is a 51 LED UV flashlight, it doesn’t seem to put out much visible light, which is a good thing, it puts out just enough visible light to be able to see where I’m walking, and when it hits a scorpion, the light that comes back is sooooo bright!

I haven’t actively hunted the scorpions in the past couple of years like I did the first year I started, I put a pretty good dent in their population that first summer. I don’t want to kill all of them, just the ones that are within striking distance of the SkyCastle. I suspect I’ll be doing much more hunting this year.

What is your nemesis in the warmer months?

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Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

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The Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

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Insect bites can put a damper on even the most beautiful spring and summer night. Unfortunately, so can the intense aroma and harmful effects of insect repellants. Thankfully, there are essential oils that repel insects, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors again.

Essential oils can provide a safe and natural way to repel everything from mosquitos to dust mites. Some oils are also known to be effective insecticides so that you can kill bugs before they become a problem.

Depending on your needs, oils can be combined to make your own bug spray, offering you a safe and natural alternative to DEET and other chemical-based insect repellants.

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The following is a list of essential oil ingredients to create insect repellant spray:

1. Basil. This zesty oil is great for controlling mosquito and dust mites. Several studies have found that basil effectively repels mosquitos and even exhibits mosquito larvicidal activity. [1] This makes basil oil an especially good option for those living near swamps, ponds and other areas with a high mosquito population.

2. Clove. A 2005 study of essential oils as mosquito repellants found that clove provided the longest duration of repellency against the three types of mosquitos used in the study.[2]

3. Eucalyptus. You get a lot of bang for your buck when using eucalyptus oil as an insecticide. It’s been found effective on a wide variety of insects, most notably its effect on sandflies.[3]

4. Garlic. For years, garlic has been used to control common pests found in gardens and has now been found to be an effective way to keep mosquitos at bay.

5. Geranium. A 2003 study found this pleasant smelling oil to be highly effective in killing larval, pupal and adult development of mosquitos. [4] This means that it’s not only great for preventing mosquito bites, but it can also kill mosquitos through all stages of life. A must-have for your backyard or cottage!

Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Lemon. Of all the essential oils that repel insects, lemon is by far one of the best-known natural insecticides and repellants. A 2012 study found that it offers an effective and natural alternative to conventional chemical insect control.[5]

7. Peppermint. This minty-fresh oil is used as a natural insecticide against many types of bugs. Studies have found methanol-based oils to be effective insecticides. [6]A 2011 study also found it to be an especially effective larvicide and mosquito repellant.[7]

8. Tea tree oil. This natural anti-parasitic is a great option for people and pets because of its ability to stop the growth of fleas, ticks and lice. Tea tree oil is also an effective remedy for soothing the itch and discomfort of mosquito bites.

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Thyme. Thyme has been found to be very effective in repelling two of the peskiest insects around: mosquitos and houseflies.[8]

Each of the ingredients above can be mixed with a water and vinegar base to create a natural insect repellent spray. For the most effective insect repellent spray, use the following:

Natural Insect Repellent Spray 

  • Basil oil: 15 drops
  • Lemon oil: 10 drops
  • Tea tree oil: 10 drops
  • Peppermint oil: 6 drops
  • Geranium oil: 6 drops
  • Distilled water: 2 ounces
  • Vinegar: 2 ounces (preferably white vinegar, but apple cider works as well!)

Blend all the ingredients and put into a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Note: This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you. Do not use for topical or internal use.

Having these essential oils that repel insects on hand can help you keep your home and garden free of pests without the use of chemicals.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below: 

[1] Perumalsamy H, Kim JY, Kim JR, Hwang KN, Ahn YJ. (2014). Toxicity of basil oil constituents and related compounds and the efficacy of spray formulations to Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). J Med Entomol. 650-657.

[2] Trongtokit Y., Rongsriyam Y., Komalamisra N., Apiwathnasorn C. Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites. Phytotherapy Research. 2005;19(4):303–309. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1637.

[3] Maciel, M.V., Morais, S.M., Bevilaqua, C.M., Silva, R.A., Barros, R.S., et al. (2010). Chemical composition of Eucalyptus spp. essential oils and their insecticidal effects on Lutzomyia longipalpis. Vet Parasitol, 167(1):1-7. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

[4] Jeyabalan, D., Arul, N. and Thangamathi, P. (2003). Studies on effects of Pelargonium citrosa leaf extracts on malarial vector, Anopheles stephensi Liston. Bioresource Technology 89:185-189.

[5] Khani,A; Basavand,F; Rakhshani, E. (2012):Chemical composition and insecticide activity of Lemon verbena essential oil J Crop Prot, 1 (4) (2012), pp. 313–320

[6] Ansari M.A., Vasudevan P., Tandon M., Razdan R.K. 2000. Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of pepper- mint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technol 71:267-271.

[7] Kumar, S., Wahab, N., & Warikoo, R. (2011). Bioefficacy of Mentha piperitaessential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine1(2), 85–88. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60001-4

[8] Park B.S., Choi W.S., Kim J.H., Kim K.H., Lee S.E. 2005. Monoterpenes from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as potential mosquito repellents. J Am Mosq Control Assoc-Mar;21(1):80-3.

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Keep Your Pollinators Warm this Winter with an Insect Hotel

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insect-hotel

“InsectHouseMonaco” by Gareth E Kegg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for a cool gardening project to occupy your idle time this winter? Look no further.

Insect hotels are a great winter project, and they pay big dividends by increasing the likelihood that your garden will be graced by lots of pollinators and beneficial insects next season and for years to come. They also have lots of fringe benefits…

You get to provide a nice, safe, and cozy home for solitary bees and their insect buddies. We hear a lot about honey bees, but there are over 4,000 species of wild, native bees in North America alone. A well-designed hotel is a safe haven for some of your local bees, and it can help them to thrive in your area. In addition to bees, you can build rooms for ladybugs, millipedes, wasps, beetles, spiders… the more the merrier.

With a hotel in or near your garden, you can increase the biodiversity of your garden; and we all know by now that diversity is a key component of healthy soil and healthy ecosystems.

Perhaps the nicest feature of insect hotels is that they provide a great outlet for upcycling materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Got an old wooden pallet laying around? Some surplus bricks? A pile of rocks that you’ve gathered from the lawn and garden? Some old fence posts? This is a great way to tidy up your spare bits and pieces, and put them to good use.

Insect Hotel Tips and Pointers

• Put your hotel in a sunny spot. It’s good if you can face it to the south for full exposure – warmth is important for overwintering bugs, and it’s essential for developing larvae. Nobody likes a freezing room – so err on the side of caution and arrange your hotel in the sunniest spot available.

• Bugs need water, just like you do. Incorporate a water source into your hotel, or keep one nearby. A plant saucer, a small cache pot, or anything else that will hold a little water should work just fine.

• Be mindful not to expose your guests to toxic chemicals. Use untreated, natural materials as much as possible. Untreated wood will warp, twist, and break down faster. But if you want to provide a safe home, it’s better to avoid chemicals and just accept that you’ll need to replace some pieces or rebuild altogether every few years or so.

• Be creative! Bamboo and drilled wood are the standards, but there are probably a hundred different materials right outside your door that would work great. In addition to scrap building materials, look for natural elements like pine cones and needles, fallen limbs and twigs, tree bark, straw, etc. If you have trees with thick, waxy leaves that don’t break down well in the compost – like magnolias, live oaks, ligustrums, or hollies – those might make good stuffing for any empty spaces.

I compiled a few videos that show different design ideas. As you’ll see, you can feel free to let your imagination roam, and the sky’s the limit. I think it would be fun to regroup in the spring and see all the different designs everyone has dreamed up. Maybe we can come up with a prize for the best design…

Insect Hotel Videos

A Good Overview, with Instructions for 2 Simple Hotels

This video shows a whole slew of different design ideas, and that’s the part I really liked. The second half of the video walks you through step-by-step instructions to build a two small hanging hotels that look something like bird houses. Nice and neat…

Posh Style for Your Discerning Bugs

These hotels are the highest in modern insect style. For those of you who keep an immaculate landscape, these are something you can do without messing up your view. This style of hotel probably won’t draw any unwanted attention from your H.O.A. or nosy neighbors.

Back when I did lots of landscape design, one of the most common requests I got was for creative screens to block the view of utility boxes, air conditioners, pool pumps, and exposed pipes. I think that a clean looking insect hotel like this one could make a great screen. If you situated this right in front of your utility box, and planted the area with a small, tidy pollinator garden – you could turn that ugly box into a win-win for you and your neighborhood insects.

The Insect Economy Inn

If you’re less concerned with style, but more interested in practical economy – this is for you. Reused materials and quick assembly make this bug hotel all about functionality. I think this style of design would actually draw more insects than some of the fancier designs I’ve seen. I’m not too sure about the planting on top… I might have done that a little differently.

A Rustic Bug Cabin

I really like this one. Reclaimed materials and solid construction, for a natural rustic look. I love how these folks were so creative and used many different materials to make homes for lots of different insects. And other than screws and cinder blocks, they probably didn’t need to spend a dime.

Start looking around at the materials you have available – you might find that you already have everything you need to build a nice insect hotel. Hopefully, this will give you a way to do a productive garden project or two while you wait out the winter.

If we have a lot of interest, we might organize a [Grow] Network Insect Hotel Contest and arrange some prizes for the best designs. Let us know if you’re interested using the comments below!

 

Eating crickets

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Like virtually all of you, I grew up in a culture where bugs were gross and I would never consider eating them. However, as I’ve traveled the world I’ve come across a few cultures where bugs are considered food. It turns out bugs are nutritious and as safe to eat as any other food source (keep in mind how much attention we pay all down our food chain making sure our food is safe and remains uncontaminated). Being curious by nature, an adventurous eater, and wanting to be prepared for who knows what, I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to eat various bugs. I’ve had ants, ant eggs, bees, water beetles, june bugs, crickets, cricket larvae, some sort of beetle I don’t know what it was, unknown (to me) grubs from a river, silkworms, and forest cockroaches. I’ve really enjoyed some of the ant recipes, but my favorite of all are always crickets.

bats and insects

From l to r: bats, forest cockroaches, silkworms.

Recently I found myself in Cambodia and was able to observe how they caught crickets. The crickets were caught out in their fields, then sold in restaurants, marketplaces, and roadside stands. Apparently, crickets are attracted to light; and judging from what the Khmer people were using, they are particularly attracted to violet or reddish fluorescent lighting. The farmers would attach such a light above a sheet of plastic hung vertically low over a basin of water. At night the crickets, drawn to the light, would unexpectedly hit the sheet of plastic and fall into the water. There, they would drown or become otherwise incapacitated. In the morning, the farmers would go out to their cricket traps and collect several pounds of nutritional and delicious insects.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

I recommend frying your crickets and seasoning them with garlic, onions, soy sauce, etc. I’d avoid eating insects I suspected might be contaminated with pesticides; as with other foods, a safe source is ideal. When you don’t know if an insect is edible or not, keep in mind that brightly colored, spiny, or hairy bugs are often poisonous. No meal of insects has yet made me sick.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

If you would like to try some insects for yourself now before you find yourself in dire straights, I recommend you look for a supplier of quality insects and grubs intended for pets such as birds and reptiles.

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Our Regional Bird

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Life in the woods, or bush as we call it out here, is more often than not, great!
Private, beautiful scenery, clean air, and if you hear any sounds of other people it’s chainsaws or trucks driving by. If we’re really lucky, we’ll hear the occasional owl or maybe coyotes. We were fortunate enough to hear both those last week, mere hours apart.
This spring we were spared a much-dreaded flood, and it didn’t really rain much until yesterday. We live across from a beaver pond and I’m happy to see a beaver back in in it. (I was a tad concerned the beaver lodge was empty last fall when we moved here)

But there is a price to pay for watching the beaver or being able to take stunning sunrise shots with my camera.
With a beaver pond comes mosquitoes.
Hoards of them! There is a reason we northerners call them our regional bird!
They may not be very big this spring but they make up for it with sheer numbers!
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I tried to stop and take pictures this morning and got swarmed!
It was lovely…the sun slicing through the tall pine and spruce trees…sound of birdsong…Before I could even get the zoom focused, my hands were covered and the bugs were flying up my nose!
Seriously!

Usually, mosquito numbers peak like this for a couple of weeks and then drop off. We get a few days reprieve and then the black flies pick up.
I keep trying to remember the perks of living out here…
Peace…right….quiet…right…

It’s great as long as the bugs don’t carry you off!