The Nightly Light Show

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Sorry, fireworks enthusiasts, but I do not understand your passion for the loud and smoky. I grant you, they’re beautiful – but the rest of it leaves me unimpressed. I would far rather watch the quiet, gentle light show in my back yard.

As I go about my random outdoor tasks here at the unlikely homestead, I often encounter fireflies hiding under the big leaves of many plants in the garden, and I happily leave them be. They’re likely not eating my precious plants, but even if they were, I would gladly share a few leaves in exchange for their brilliant nightly displays. I wonder if the flashes I see are any of the slumbering bugs I’ve found during the day.

Hundreds of fireflies dance around as bats fly far overhead. Crickets, tree frogs and toads sing, completely wrapped up in their own choruses.

Meanwhile, the Japanese beetles and the cabbage worms wreak havoc. Even though the worms may be less destructive, I am more tolerant of their damage. They are somewhat adorable, hiding quietly and slowly munching away, and they turn into pretty moths flitting around later on. Again, the price of admission. The Japanese beetles are obtrusive in every way, and their damage accrues much more quickly:

Today, a friend at work linked me this product and offered to share shipping costs if I wanted some. I read up on it – it’s only clove and peppermint oils and a bit of natural soap.

“To control the toughest bugs in the kitchen, Bug Shooter organic
insecticide kills the most common flying and crawling insects,
including; fire ants, aphids, bean beetles, cabbage loopers,
caterpillars, earwigs, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers,
mealybugs, mites, rose chafers, scales, snails/slugs and adult
whiteflies.”

Wow, sounds like great stuff! I ordered a bottle to try out.

A few hours later, I realized I won’t be using it in the garden – perhaps on my most beleaguered trees and shrubs to save them from the beetles, but nothing more.

If it kills all of those things… it will probably kill my friendlier bugs, as well. What about the fireflies, the earthworms, the butterfly larvae, the ants, the bees? I surely don’t want to kill them, too, and I’m certain the product doesn’t discriminate. What about the fat and happy tree frog living on one of my broccoli plants and eating all those bugs? No, I’ll keep this product to the trees and bushes, where I mostly only see the dreaded beetles.

I’m happy there is a greener alternative to the mass, toxic insecticides previously available for those people who must use them, though.

As it stands, however, I’m going to mix up a batch of cayenne pepper, a little oil and water to try on the garden, instead. Several people, including Mike’s mom Sharon, have suggested this and said it works well.

The lure traps continue to fill up and are still generating much interest from the Japanese beetles. Even though they may attract beetles from other yards, I don’t care – the more they kill, the better. My dad and Janet have been using these traps for a few years now and report almost no Japanese beetles this year – maybe a couple of dozen, total. I’m trying to keep that end goal in mind.

Since I can’t do beetle patrol when I’m at work, Janet suggested hiring a youngster and paying him a nickel per beetle. That’s not a bad idea. 😀

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