I’ve been gardening partly to benefit birds for over 10 years now. I’m not allowed to have bird feeders where I live, but I can provide a water feature and plants that help provide food, shelter and nest materials. I also have permission from the Condo Association for a nest box, which was used by Carolina Wrens this past summer. I refrain from using pesticides to help ensure that the bugs in my garden are safe for birds to eat. Like a lot of people, I am also interested in invertebrate conservation, so I have planted several species of plants specifically to be used as host plants for butterflies and as habitat for beneficial insects.
When I got a new dishwasher this spring, I decided to get rid of my broken garbage disposal rather than purchase a new one. When it was working, I rarely used it anyway since I composted almost anything that would normally go down it. In a way it’s kind of a bad habit because I already have more than enough stuff but I do enjoy saving odds and ends of things I might be able to re-use and seeing if I can make them into something useful. My Dad installed my new dishwasher for me and removed the old garbage disposal and he gave me several ringlike parts that he thought I might be able to use for something. One of them fits perfectly a glass part of a broken fountain/mister that someone else gave me.
I’m interested in invertebrates and invertebrate conservation, so I manage my garden to support a population of beneficial insects. Today while doing some much-needed garden maintenance I saw no pest species except crickets (so I thought anyway) but to my pleasure I did find these guys…
This individual was about 2 inches long and was mostly a mottled light brown color. The picture shows it on the edge of a paper bag that I was using to collect seeds.
When I took this picture I was excited because I thought this was an Assassin Bug, but after looking online to try to identify which kind, it’s seems more likely that it’s a Leaf-Footed Bug. If that’s the case it sucks plant juices and it doesn’t prey on other insects like the Assassin Bug would do, so it’s NOT good to have in the garden. But I only saw one so it’s not a big deal.
I’m so excited, my Swamp Milkweed is being used a host plant for Monarchs! I’ve been seeing a lot of Monarchs in the garden for the last month or so. I’m so happy to be not only helping feed them with flower nectar but providing them habitat for their larvae. I have Common Milkweed started in two other parts of the garden and I’m going to spread the Swamp Milkweed seed around this fall to try to grow more.
Are you interested in making your garden more habitable to beneficial insects? Here is a list of invertebrates you might want in your garden, followed by a chart showing what plants are likely to attract them and what plants may repel pests.