DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beneficial my arse

Warning: if bugs give you the heebie-jeebies, you might want to skip this one.

Last night, I stopped at Southwest Gardener. It wasn't at all what I was expecting--it's no garden center in the traditional sense. I wasn't going to pick up dirt and compost there (although I gather they generally do carry some, but probably not in quantities I would be looking to purchase). It was mostly "pretty" things for the garden. I liked the metal quail families of course.

The lady working there chatted with me, recommended a book and some classes. When I told her about my ant problem, she said something to the effect of "there is no such thing as an ant problem--they're beneficial." Well, she hasn't seen my damn ants. In my opinion (obviously just MY opinion, since Mick doesn't think it's a problem either) swarming ants is a problem. When I can't stand in one place long enough to pull weeds because I'm being bit, it's a problem. It's no longer beneficial--it's a p-r-o-b-l-e-m.

My Truly Nolen guy came today. He does the inside first. Yes, I make a huge exception to the non-toxic rules in my house when it comes to bugs. I don't want them in my house. I don't want to be bit or stung while I'm walking barefoot in my house. So spray that shit in my house. And around my house. Just not in the edibles garden.

I told him about the ants under the curbing that goes around the plastic grass in the front yard. While he was spraying, quite heavily around the fountains, I went to pull a couple weeds. He mentioned they have a service  to take care of weeds that I could consider for the front yard. Eh, maybe. He was standing at the base of the tree that had the meandering root under the curbing. He told me that the tree was either planted improperly or watered improperly (I believe he meant watered improperly when it was younger--this tree is probably about 7 years old--it predates our living here). He says there is a big pocket he felt, and he was spraying into a hole going to this pocket in the rock right there near the base of the tree. And roaches were swarming out. Ew. Ew. Ew. Blech.

He made some recommendations to reduce scorpions and associated bugs by shaving the palm trees and cutting the ground cover back and "over" watering it so that it would grow up instead of out. He also hates our decking in the front. It's not sealed and anything and everything can be underneath it. I don't particularly like it either--the way it's installed makes it seem like an afterthought, not well designed, but it's alright.

In the back, he found a stash of scorpions (okay, "only" 2), roaches, earwigs, and crickets under a large rubber bin we keep the dog agility equipment in.

He did some other spraying, then said he was going to mix something else and come back to the garden. I went to dig up some weeds until I was too hot. I showed him some of the problem areas and he sprayed this "non-synthetic" spray, said it's okay for gardens like this, and I let him. And before you judge me, here's the thing. He's spraying and these bugs--silverfish, earwigs, ants, roaches--they are coming. More are coming out. There's males and females and babies. It's fucking gross. I can't stick my hand in the garden like that. Well, I can't even stand there because I'm getting eat up by ants.

We moved on, check out the rest of the garden. He drowns some ant hills. He moves the flower pots and kills an earwig family after moving the earthworms to the safety of the garden box. We see a "field spider" that he names as such since he gave me a lesson about spiders while we were inside. I'm supposed to look at the fiddle on the back to determine if a spider is a bad one, but you know I'm not getting that close!

What do you mean, you can't see the ants?
Then we go to the oregano. I told him I was pulling a weed and the ants started swarming. He looks and says "fire ants" so they aren't all the same everywhere in the yard. They're mad. We can't find "the" place they are coming from but he thinks they are in the roots. He sprays but either the plant has to come out or I'll have to keep putting stuff in there till they are gone. He wants me to look for granular instead of powder diatomaceous earth but says the DE I have will work, just not as well. He agrees that ants are beneficial if the numbers can be controlled. But fire ants--not beneficial. Earthworms, beneficial. Ladybugs, beneficial. Roaches--disease carriers, wash all produce that comes into the house. I have the heebie jeebies.

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