Welcome to this week’s homestead update.
Last week, I forgot to talk about the beekeeping meeting I attended. When I took the beekeeping short course, it included a year’s membership to the Susquehanna Beekeepers, that’s my local beekeeping organization. Each month, we have a different speaker that’s an expert on some part of beekeeping. This month the speaker was an expert on the Small Hive Beetle. I learned quite a lot about them. They just made it to my area, so lucky me, I get me bees late int he year and we just started having problems with the SHB. But according to the expert, there’s not a lot that we need to worry about when it comes to the SHB. As long as the hive is strong, the bees are able to keep the SHB in check. Continue reading
Posted in 13 Skills, beekeeping, weekly
Tagged bees, beetles, food, garden, pest, planting, shed, vegetables, weather
While I was taking some pictures of some bugs in the garden, I spotted my main pest, the Mexican bean beetle. This was the first that I’ve seen them this year, but they have begun the yearly attack on my beans.
Mexican bean beetle
Obviously since they are Mexican bean beetles, they attack bean plants. Every year, these suckers attack my green beans and fill the leaves with holes. That would be bad enough, but they also eat the bean pods. To add insult to injury, I have yet to find anything that Continue reading
I was working in the garden this weekend and came across some bugs that I could get some pictures of. I thought I’d share them with you guys.
This first bug is still unidentified. These were sitting on the leaf of a wild raspberry plant that is invading the asparagus. They are very cool looking, and since I don’t know what they are yet, I decided not to kill them. Hopefully they turn out to be a beneficial insect. They look kind of like a moth, but they also have beetle characteristics. So Continue reading
Welcome to this week’s homestead update.
Zucchini & okra
As I mentioned the other day, we went camping at Lake Sherwood campground in West Virginia. As most people who have grown gardens know, I ended up with some big zucchini squash after ignoring the garden for 2 weeks. The biggest is in this picture, it’s about 14″ long, but over 4″ in diameter. This will be too tough to use for anything but zucchini bread. The okra in this picture were the first pods, so while small, were still too woody to eat. Continue reading
I haven’t had a lot of time to write up posts, so I figured I’d show a couple pictures taken in the garden since I returned from vacation the other day.
Here’s a shot of the okra bed. It is incredibly overgrown by weeds. When I left for vacation, there were a few weeds in there, but nothing like this. I think that I’ll need to cut that growth way back but allow it to grow. It will act like a living mulch and keep the soil from drying out. I just think that if I pull that all out, I’ll do some damage Continue reading
That’s the fall insect invasion. Every year I have a bunch of bugs trying to find a place to spend the winter. What better place than a nice warm house? That search for a winter home has begun.
Brown marmorated stink bug
Like most of the east coast, I have to deal with the brown marmorated stink bug. This thing gets into everything. Over the summer, these things stuck their noses into most of my okra, causing damage to the pods. These bug bites just make the vegetables ugly. This doesn’t hurt a gardener, but if I was trying to sell my produce I would lose a lot of money. I wish these didn’t come here, but since they made it to America, I guess they are a pest that I have to contend with.
They actually started trying to get into the house a month or so ago. Then we had a cold spell and they disappeared for a while. But now that it is warmer again, they are back with a vengeance. The bad thing about these is not much eats them. I had a funnel-web spider make a web on the front porch. I tossed one of these into the web and the spider immediately reacted. It ran down, found out what was in the web and retreated to its hiding place. If a spider won’t eat it, what does? I know that at the University of Delaware, they are experimenting with a small wasp from the stink bug’s native area. But that is going to take a couple of years before they are approved for release.
Multicolored Asian lady beetle
The other invader is the multicolored Asian lady beetle. Unlike the stink bug, this is a beneficial insect. They eat a lot of pest insects. I was amazed at how many different types of ladybugs are around. I was able to identify this one because the spots on the pronotum (the area between the head and the abdomen) blend together to form the letter “M”. While these are a beneficial insect, they do become pests at this time of year. They keep trying to get into this warm cave that we call our house. I suspect that I will have hundreds in the attic before the end of the fall.
The invasion continues
Here’s a shot of the invasion in full force. Notice the stink bug in the foreground and the lady beetle in the background. I don’t know what that millipede is doing there. But this was in the corner front door.
Today is going to be a bit shorter than normal. I was kind of busy with the family and didn’t have much time to do much on the homestead. I do have an update on a weed. I also have a couple bug pictures I took in the garden today.
Yellow woodsorrel seed pods
In one of my previous posts, I talked about Yellow Woodsorrel. I mentioned in that post about the green seed pods being edible and being a good thirst quencher. Today I was able to gather some of the green seed pods to show what they look like. The penny is there for scale. I noticed that once they start to fade from this color, they are no longer good. They really do quench your thirst and taste more like lemons than the leaves and flowers.
Last of the honeybees?
While I was in the garden, I saw that there were many honeybees on the cosmos. I think that the foraging is getting slim for these little guys. I was able to grab a good picture of one of them. This is probably the last couple weeks of her life. We had frost on the car windows last night, but not on the grass. This means the hives will be decreasing their size and this girl’s time is short.
Asian multicolored lady beetle
While I was trying to get a picture of that honeybee, I noticed this bug. I never saw one of these before. It is the larva of a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle. Many know that these are beneficial bugs that eat aphids and other destructive pests. I have only seen the adults.
It is so cool to find these beneficial bugs in the garden, even so late in the year. Maybe I’ll put together a post over the winter with some of the beneficial bugs that I’ve found in the garden. Since I’ve been leaving some areas grow wild, and have flowering plants in other beds, I have found many beneficial bugs in the garden.