Random Acts of Living

Monday, August 9, 2010

Insects and Flowers

A few days back I was getting ready to get in my pool when I noticed the surface was covered by insects and they were getting sucked into the skimmer. Not knowing what they were I didn't stop this process.
Later I emptied the skimmer on a piece of paper so I could get a better look at what these were...
Looking on the Internet I believe these to be Five-banded Tiphiid Wasp -

Description: Five-banded tiphiid wasps are parasitic wasps
that are about 11/8 to 13/8 inches long. Adults are black with
yellow on their head and thorax. They have yellow bands
around each segment of the abdomen and yellow legs.
Their antennae are black.

Benefit: Larvae are parasites of May beetle, scarab beetle,
and tiger beetle larvae. Female wasps lay eggs on
burrowing larvae in the soil. Larvae penetrate the host and
feed until the host is eventually killed. Adults feed on nectar.

Management: Commonly found in southern Nevada,
homeowners may find five-banded tiphiid wasps in or around
their home in the fall and winter. If disturbed, the wasps may
sting. Five-banded tiphiid wasps are not harmful,
if they are found in your yard, encourage them to stay.
Looks like I should have tried to save these. The next day I found just as many floating on pool, heading to their demise in the skimmer. So I got the net and fished them out. There's been a few since, but not the hundreds there were the first couple days. I wonder what drew them to the pool like that?
My flowers are sure looking pretty. It's kind of hard to see them all in the picture. Check out the sunflower below, hiding behind the other flowers.
You know how everyone uses the little heart symbol? I "heart" my kids, that type of thing. I want a heart with an international "no" symbol over it. Than I can do a "I do not heart"... squash bugs. It's bad enough the squash bugs are eating up all my squash plants but now I even have to watch for the stupid eggs on my arugula!!!
If you can't see what I'm talking about then click on the picture, it should get big enough for you to see them.

I hope you're all staying cool or at least out of the sun. Drink plenty of water, we'll be complaining about the cold before you know it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Did I Say It Was HOT?

Wow! It's been a while since I last posted here. I've just been so preoccupied with other things lately. I've been getting up around 6:30 - 7am and going out to the garden. I don't use any pesticides so to keep the squash bugs from destroying my plants I have to turn leaves and look for eggs or even bugs which I then squash. It takes a while to turn all those leaves in two beds of squash plants. Then I go for my bike ride. My daughter had measured out a route around town that was two miles long when she was walking during her break every day. I ride this route and usually do two laps. That usually takes me about a half an hour unless I stop to talk to someone along the way. When I get home I cool down in the pool and swim a little, stretch a little and just float. By the time I get in the house it's around noon. With as hot as it's been I usually don't go back outside again till the next morning. This morning I went outside and saw this...
...my poor catnip was all droopy. I had watered it just like had been watering. But...
...my marigolds were droopy, too.
The marigolds on the porch looked sad, but the ones on this side of the step looked good. They are in the same kind of pot with the same soil as the the ones on the other side that looked so bad. Must be the location. The garden is LOOKING really good. But it's not producing very well.
My sunflowers are getting nice and tall. I have one birdhouse gourd, but you can't see it in this picture. It's hiding behind the leaves there at the bottom for the fence.
Below is an earlier picture where you can see the gourd.
My flower bed on the alley side of the studio is looking pretty.
The luffa is blooming.
I love the little yellow 'flowers' within the pink flower. So pretty.
By the time I go back in the the house the catnip and marigolds have rejuvenated. Tonight I'll check to see if they need an evening watering.
I hope everyone is keeping cool out there where it's so hot.