Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

 Click here for Part I that focuses on how natural insect predators helped fight the ACP pest in Florida

Add plant diversity to your gardens. Also make sure you have flowering plants year-round. Ecologists say these key recommendations will usher in natural predators to our gardens and orchards to combat pests.

These tips can even help ward off the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) that is alarmingly moving into our citrus trees after devastating the citrus in Florida. [Read more…]

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Note: This is a two part article – More info on attracting native predator insects for pests, photos and references  is here

Ken Kupfer is a popular speaker on biological control, which is the use of natural enemies to manage pests and their damage. While his work with organic and sustainable growers finds Kupfer in California nearly half of the year, he resides in Florida. There he personally witnessed the infestation of the Asian citrus psyllid, referred to as ACP. After devastating the Florida citrus industry, the ACP has unfortunately made its way to California.

“In Florida, the [mandated] use of systemic pesticides and foliar pesticides for citrus crops has really saturated the environment and it of course kills 99% of other bugs it comes in contact with”  Ken Kupfer

[Read more…]

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

A rattlesnake, numerous species of butterflies, cliff swallows bathing…….  I’m so glad I went, even though I had only an hour for a quick walk while my husband was at an art class. I chose Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa CA, which I wrote about in this initial March visit and this other March hike to Hunt Ranch.

Great place – no one there on a Monday late morning.

It had rained a couple nights prior so parts of the trails were moist – which attracted many butterflies getting minerals. I previously wrote about butterflies and puddle parties.

Lesson learned…. if you’re thinking about a short trek to a wild area – do it!

[Read more…]

Butterfly Update! Including Monarchs from our Yard and Mexico butterfly photos

Butterfly Update! Including Monarchs from our Yard and Mexico butterfly photos

Here in Southern California in January, despite some temps dipping into the 20s, I’m still seeing monarch butterflies in our yard, helped by some of our milkweed that manages to stay alive. I posted an article in October about how our tropical milkweed finally attracted monarch caterpillars. I’m happy to report it continues to birth dozens of caterpillars and even some adults.

Outside, these caterpillars are making it on their own themselves.

These caterpillars are making it on their own in January.

Here are some photos from our yard, plus a few butterfly photos from a recent trip to Baja Mexico, along with a few things we’ve learned. [Read more…]

Weeds for Butterflies and More on our Native Pollinators

Weeds for Butterflies and More on our Native Pollinators

This is a follow-up to my post on Attracting Butterflies and Pollinators to our Yards – more takeaways from San Diego area speakers Moe Magoski and Michael Klein, plus photos of pollinators, important butterfly plants we might consider weeds, and some resources. [Read more…]

Attracting Pollinators and Butterflies to our Yards

Attracting Pollinators and Butterflies to our Yards

Who doesn’t want more butterflies in their yards? You need nectar plants of course. But if you want to watch all the butterfly stages — which means your plant’s leaves will get eaten by the growing caterpillars — you need to include specific host plants, such as milkweed for monarchs, or thistle or mallow for Painted Ladies.

But you also need to watch your use of pesticides. Oh, and keep some weeds around.

These were among the important takeaways of the forum “Where have all the Butterflies and Bees Gone? How to Protect our Butterflies and Pollinators,” [Read more…]

Milkweed and Monarchs – Finally!

Milkweed and Monarchs – Finally!

Note: See comments below for discussion on native vs tropical milkweeds

We planted a couple milkweed (Asclepius curassavica or tropical) plants three years ago. But – no monarchs or caterpillars. The last six months the milkweed thrived and climbed seven feet up into our magnolia tree, and also spread via seed. Now we have a couple dozen plants out front.

I counted 8, only to check the next day and they were all gone. After all, they look like they were in their 5th instar.

After seeing this guy, I counted 8, only to check the next day and there were none After all, they look like they were in their 5th instar.

One week ago, after a short trip away, I was watering and noticed a huge caterpillar (see right) and then saw more. Yea – finally!

[Read more…]