Every year I wonder if any pollinator friends will visit my gardens. I usually can count on the bees arriving early, but how about butterflies, hummingbirds and hummingbird moths?
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe)
I’ve tried to plant mostly pollinator friendly flowers and over the years I’ve seen a steady improvement in the number of pollinators in my yard. Bee Balm, Phlox, Petunias, Snapdragons, Hosta among others.
If you have rose bushes, you probably have Japanese Beetles. Mine arrived after my Knock-Out Roses roses finished their first bloom and are really making a mess of the plants. Most years I just let it go, but these are new, 3rd year plants and are finally looking great so I’d like them to stay healthy for next year’s show.
There are a lot of choices for dealing with Japanese Beetles and I am going to try a product that contains Neem Oil. Traps seem to be only good for attracting even more Japanese Beetles to your yard and many other insecticides can be harmful to good bugs like bees and ladybugs. This is especially important for where I am spraying, since the roses are right next to Bee Balm, which really does attract those big, beneficial bumblebees.
Neem oil affects only insects that chew and eat leaves, which beneficial bugs like bees and ladybugs don’t do. The active ingredients in the oil interferes with the insect’s hormonal balance leading to “confusion” and ultimately death. It should be sprayed every 7 or 14 days depending on the level of infestation. I’m planning on spraying on the every 7 day cycle to begin with, and I’ll follow up in a couple of weeks to see if I can go to every 14 days for the rest of the summer.
Word of warning–One rather unpleasant thing that happened to me was that when I started spraying, a whole bunch of Japanese Beetles came flying off the rose bushes and a few got tangled in my hair. Gross! I had no idea there were so many on the plant. I only saw a few, so I guess where there’s a few, there’s a lot! No wonder there was so much damage to the plants.