As I mentioned in the last post, bad garden bugs are a big challenge.
There are various sprays that will work if they make contact with the insect, or if the insect ingests it. But what I really wanted was to prevent the little buggers from growing in the first place. Thus the handpicking of the squash bug eggs. But you can’t do that in the soil!! For that we have predatory nematodes or beneficial nematodes. These are not the kind that attack root vegetables. These attack the larval stage of insects that are in the soil. They do not injure earthworms, only insects that have larval stages in the soil.
This is what they look like:
Just kidding. You can’t actually see them since they are microscopic so when you get that little blue sponge you have to have faith that they are there.
There isn’t much to show after this point. You rinse the sponge into a gallon of water and believe that the nematodes are in there! Then you mix a little of the gallon nematodes into more water and then use that to water the soil. I used a 4 gallon watering can and since we have almost 3/4 of an acre, I wasn’t about to water the whole yard. I focused on the garden beds and their periphery. You are then supposed to water them down into the top 2-3″ of soil but I let the lovely rain last night do that for me. I highly recommend using the rain to your advantage unless you have a very small yard. We shall see how this works.
Water is used by bees for cooling. They find smelly water and this is how they locate it. Fresh water they can’t find as easily. This is why they like to use the neighbor’s pool. Our neighbor DOES have a pool. and considering they were trying to kill the harmless Cicada Killer Wasps, I want my bees to stay away from the pool. There is also a stream that runs in our yard. To make sure they stayed on our yard for their water needs, we bought a whiskey barrel from Lowes and filled it with water. I use Mosquito Bits to control the little buggers and keep it filled. I change it periodically, I think the smell of the aged water, wood and whiskey of the barrel help them find it. Granted it’s also about 8′ away.
You are supposed to float sticks or corks to give them some footing, but as you can see, they hold on to the rough sides very well. I’ve watched them and it seems they use the capillary action of the wood to get their water as I haven’t seen their proboscis actually in the water.
About the food. By Monday, Melissa used up 1/2 of the food in the quart jar I placed on Sunday. I added another syrup jar on Tuesday and today both jars were almost empty. So I was adding more syrup to the jars an hour ago and I had no equipment or gloves with me. So I was moving the jars and bees and it felt so weird/funny to feel their little legs on me!
It’s going to rain this weekend. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a hive inspection. I want to at least spray sugar water on the wax foundation I moved closer to the brood. Hopefully, this will help them draw the wax out.