An Organic Wasp Killer that Takes the Sting Out of the Great Outdoors

The Importance of Organic Wasp Killers for Backyards

Wasps can be very beneficial.

However, wasps elicit fear in many people, especially those who are severely allergic to them. Painful to humans, a wasp’s sting can vary greatly in toxicity.

For those without an allergy to wasp stings, they will experience varying degrees of burning, itching, redness, tenderness, and swelling that may last up to a week. These reactions can be treated easily with ice, meat tenderizer, or other commercial topical ointments.

Others may have an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can include a rash, hives, headache, minor respiratory symptoms, and upset stomach. These reactions can be treated with an over-the-counter antihistamine.

For those rare individuals, a wasp sting can cause anaphylactic shock (fainting, difficulty breathing, swelling, and blockage in the throat) within minutes of being stung. These systemic allergic reactions may cause a person to die unless treated immediately with an epinephrine injection and a subsequent visit to the hospital. For individuals with allergies, a wasp killer becomes an important line of defense whenever spending time outdoors.

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How Wasps Can be Beneficial in the Garden

wasps by myriorama

Everyone knows that honey bees or lady bugs are beneficial insects. But there are other beneficial insects in the garden that we often don’t think of as beneficial. These insects may be minor pollinators but the reason they are really beneficial is because they are predators of harmful insects. TheGardenLady is specifically thinking of insects in the wasp family. When people see wasps, they generally are fearful that the wasps will sting them or others on their property. But many of the wasps are so busy going about their work, they won’t sting unless they feel threatened.

There are predatory wasps that attack caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects and parasitic wasps that lay eggs in harmful insects and when the eggs hatch they eat the harmful insects.  See here.

One example of a beneficial wasp is the potter’s wasp which is a predator that gets rid of unwanted caterpillars.  See here.

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Battling Animals in the Garden – Part II

Baby Groundhog #1 by Chiot’s Run

Besides battling the deer in my garden (see last post), I have rabbits. They could have eaten some of my plants. I haven’t seen any rabbits on my property so far this spring, so that was why I had not blamed them for this early spring eating. Liquid Fence supposedly guards against both rabbits and deer. So I hope they won’t eat what I have sprayed.

Then I have squirrels who have not vacationed over the winter. They may be digging up some of those acorns they planted last fall or some of the bulbs I planted, like crocus bulbs.

Or is it the resident groundhog (Marmota monax) also called a woodchuck that lives on my property who is eating everything? (There is probably a family living with him) Since I am not a Jane Goodall type who can tell one groundhog from another to be able to name them, I cannot discern how many waddling groundhogs are out and about each day. To my eye it seems to work solo.

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Battling Animals in the Garden – Part I

snoopy baby deer by AlicePopkorn

I wrote in a recent TheGardenLady column about the deer seemingly decimating my plants. For example, the hemerocallis or day lily shoots that have emerged this spring have been shorn aImost down to the ground. The same thing has happened to the leaves of the tulips that are emerging from the ground. It looks like they were mowed. I am hoping that the eating of the leaves will not affect the flowers which have not yet emerged. So I have sprayed a lot of Liquid Fence on these pathetic stumps of plants hoping to prevent more eating damage. There is other evidence of chewed plants. I based this blame on the deer because I have seen what looked like deer tracks in the mud and deer scat otherwise known as poop all over the lawn and garden.

But am I correct that it was the deer that ate my plants? I have a variety of wild animals residing in my gardens, so the blame could be on numerous animals. On the one hand, I am still excited whenever I see a wild animal on my property. But on the other hand, I am really upset when I see my plants eaten. I had written in one column that gardening is like a battle- a judicious battle.

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The Dangers of Chemical Pesticides

Pesticides are chemical substances that are used to kill, repel, or regulate the growth of biological organisms. This diverse group includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, nematicides, acaricides, rodenticides, avicides, wood preservatives, and antifoulants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently estimated that more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops, forests, residential areas, public lands, and aquatic areas in the United States every year. The release of these chemicals into the environment creates a potential for unintended adverse health impacts to both humans and surrounding wildlife. (Laetz, Baldwin and Collier)

Pesticide Regulation

Mixtures of pesticides are common in the human food supply. These mixtures are also common in the aquatic environment, including lakes, river, streams, and other surface waters that support aquatic life. Assessing the cumulative toxicity of pesticides in mixtures has been a difficult challenge for environmental health research, as well as ecotoxicology, for the past several decades. In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act, which directs the U.S. EPA to assess the human health risks from cumulative exposures to pesticides that share a common mechanism of action. Consideration of mixture toxicity is also required when pesticide tolerances are reassessed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

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Israeli Flower Websites

Gorgeous flowers on the hillside of the Hinnom Valley

Purple Flower by WKeown

This April people around the world will be celebrating both Passover and Easter. This year you might like to decorate your house with flowers that Moses or Jesus might have seen or trod on. You may want to buy flowers that are native to or are grown in Israel. If you wonder what flowers are native to Israel and much of the Middle East and what flowers grow in Israel, TheGardenLady thought some websites about Israel’s flowers might be interesting.

One of my favorite sites is called Spring Awakening in Israel.  The homepage says Flowers in Israel, “That they all may blossom in a beautiful world beyond war.” My wish completely. This site gives the Latin name, the English name, the Hebrew name and some have the Arabic name of each of the flowers. It gives the names of the flowers that were in the Bible. From flowers listed as native to Israel, some of the flowers that I believe we might find in our local flower stores to create more authentic bouquets for the holiday table could include Anemones, Madonna Lilies, Jack in the Pulpits, poppies and irises. To walk on the hills of the Galilee in the spring among the red poppies is a sight to remember. Put that on your “bucket list.”*

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Madonna Lily – Lilium Candidum

lilium candidum by Giuliagas

Easter will soon be here and with it all the wonderful flowers of Spring will be appearing in the stores. Mostly we think of the flowers that are produced from bulbs like tulips, hyacinths and others. The most popular of the flowers is the Madonna lily, Lilium candidum. Not only is this flower spectacular but the fragrance is heavenly.

The oldest picture of this lily dates back 3500 years ago, found in Crete. Lilium candidum was a popular flower in ancient Jewish civilization and is mentioned in the Bible, both the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible.

Lilium candidum by Nick Turland

This lily is considered to be most significant flower for the Christians and when you see early religious paintings, you will see the Madonna lily as one of the symbols.  See here. The pure whiteness of the flower is a symbol of purity, chastity,innocence, and sweetness associated with virgins and is the special flower of Mary, the Holy Virgin.

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Alpine Plant Sales or Conferences

The Fells – Photo source: The Fells Chapter of NARGS

For readers of who love alpine flowers and are interested in using them in their gardens or are planning on making a rock garden, or whatever, one of the best places known for their Alpine plant sales in the Eastern US is Stonecrop Gardens in NY.  See here. They will be having their annual Alpine plant sale and tour of their Alpine plants this April.

Saturday, April 23: 5th Annual Alpine Plant Sale with Wrightman Alpines, Evermay Nursery, Garden Vision and more, 9am-3pm, $5/members-no charge

Thursday, April 28: Guided Garden Tour featuring Alpine Plants, 6-7pm, $10/members-no charge

On April 17 The New England chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society will be having a rare plant auction at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass.

See here.

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Wooden Garden Furniture

Bench in Double-walled Garden by Charles Stirton

It’s only the start of April, but already the temperature is a little bit warmer, the days are lighter for longer and the season begins to change from Spring to Summer. I absolutely love this time of year.  It’s the time of year when the difficulties of winter, such as the terrible ice and snow, become distant memories and I can really start to look forward to the warmer months.

While having sunny April may not always mean that the next few months will have good weather, I find this time so exciting and uplifting, as it means I can get out into the garden again, do some clearing, planting, and best of all, relaxing on my favorite garden bench.

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UK Gardens

Chelsea Physic Garden by

TheGardenLady loves to visit gardens. Spring is here and the urge is back.

A number of years ago, TheGardenLady created a tour of gardens of England for myself and garden lover friends- this is not a business that I do, just a labor of love. The tour that I had created included such fabulous gardens as the Chelsea Physic Garden, Kew, Sissinghurst, Wisley, The Great Dixter, Stourhead and other wonderfully gorgeous gardens. The gardens I visited were so wonderful that my friends have asked me to plan another such tour.

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