Bugs…Can’t live with them, can’t live without……. Huh, well, dang. I can’t even finish that sentence. I just can’t say anything good about bugs no matter how the bosses feel about it. All bugs give me the willy’s and not a single one of them tastes good. Well, maybe ants taste okay if you like lemony things. But you run a real risk in eating them. As I have learned more than once, an ant bite on the tongue is the worst! (I recommend the tiny ones in bulk rather than individual big ants). So, aside from the occasional, tasty little ant, there really is nothing good about bugs. Except maybe butterflies. Butterflies seem
to bring a smile to everyone’s faces when they appear and the yellow ones remind me of flying potato chips and I do like a good potato chip now and then. Truth be known, I would eat potato chips all day, every day if I could figure out how to get them.
What were we talking about? Oh…bugs.
I have detected something very bizarre about the way we treat the bug issue here on the farm. It would seem there is a perception among the powers that be, (the bosses), that there are good bugs and there are bad bugs and that we should act accordingly.
I’m no expert but I can tell you I have about a million stories about bugs and not one of them involves a good bug. If I have to hear the line” All creatures serve a purpose in life” one more time I think I’ll cry. I ask you, what purpose do those annoying little flies serve? I’ll be catching a quick little snooze on the lawn and one of those stupid flies will land on my nose and then my ear and then on my other ear and I’ll snap at hm and, if I’m lucky, I won’t catch him because flies taste horrible.
One time a fly flew IN my nose and I accidentally snorked him up and then sneezed violently for the next half hour. Sheesh…I won’t even get in to how they hang out in my dog food bowl. What do they see in dog food? I don’t even like dog food. I’ll take a good chip over dog food any day. Flies serve a purpose? Let’s just put that idea to rest, okay?
And spiders. Whoever invented spiders should get some serious therapy. These are without a doubt the creepiest things you will ever get stuck in your fur. And those webs! What’s that about?
This is what I look like when
I accidentally trot through a web
But the real purpose of my report today is to tell you about squash butts… Did I say butts? Heh, heh… I meant bugs…squash bugs. (We in the protection service industry can be a little humorous at times : )
What I’m about to tell you regarding the squash bugs residing at Old Town Farm you will find hard to believe. WE GROW SQUASH FOR THE SQUASH BUGS. Yes, you heard that right. We have a particular area of the garden where we plant summer squash, their favorite cuisine, SPECIFICALLY for those stinky little bugs. The bosses say it is because, after 40 years of trying to get rid of them in every conceivable way, (except using poison), squash bugs have flourished.
These are the things we have tried in the past:
1)Putting chickens in the garden.
They proceeded to scratch and eat every seedling in the garden while avoiding any contact whatsoever with the squash bugs.
2) What is known as “companion planting”: interspersing nasturtiums, tansy, onions, garlic and such among the squash plant to deter the bugs.
This plan served to provide a lovely environment in which the squash bugs consumed all the squash plants.
3) Hand picking the bugs and rubbing their eggs off the underside of the plant leaves
I don’t know if you’ve ever stepped on a squash bug but if you have you know that your shoe reeks for the rest of the day and wherever you go people glare at you and turn their heads in disgust. Imagine squashing hundreds of them at a time by hand, (wearing rubber gloves, of course). We have a lot of squash plants and we did this “hand picking” thing only once. Blugh! It slowed the bugs down for about a week.
4) The old “put shingles black-side-down beside the plants and the bugs will get under
them at night to get warm” trick. Then step on them.
See number 3
5) Covering the plants with row cover material; uncovering them each day for 2-4 hours so the pollinators, (bees), can do their job, and then covering the row back up.
Hah! I don’t know who thought this one up but it stands to reason that if a bee can figure out when the plant is uncovered, so can a squash bug. And the little stinkers did.
6) Hiding the squash plants from the squash bugs by planting them far away from where we planted them the year before. (as far away as we could get was the garden up by the mailboxes on Montoya Rd)
Hmm…Turns out, squash bugs can fly and this was just a dumb idea.
We are now toying with the idea of guinea hens. They are said to be voracious bug eaters who don’t care about the stink.
Problem is, they are very loud and not in a good way. (try to imagine a train wreck – this is what guinea hens sound like ALL the time). We may have to get the neighbors to sign off on this one.
In the meantime, we continue to concentrate the squash bug problem in one place, thus keeping them away from our beloved cucuzza heirloom squash…the cucuzza being a whole other story I will tell you about someday.
For now, we are accepting ideas for doing-in the squash bugs. Please send your suggestions to:
Franco The Dog
Head of Protection Services
Old Town Farm
Thank you for your time,
PS: Please note that I did not mention that stupid cat even once in this blog