Got Bugs?

Technically, the period of July 3 through August 11 is known as the “Dog Days” of summer (at least in the Northern hemisphere). These days, where I come from, it should be known as the “bug” days of summer.

I have been remarking on the Northeast drought for awhile. But what has been bad for the plants has been extraordinarily good for the bugs! I don’t ever recall a summer that’s been so good for aphids! Usually, they are an early spring/late fall thing for me and then I don’t see them.

This year, I am seeing them everywhere and in colors that I didn’t know existed! On my milkweed, they came in a festive orange that made me look so closely that I was practically breathing in aphids! But I had to be sure they were bugs and not eggs (not that I am certain that would have been any better–but I would have wanted know “eggs of what?”)

And of course I have the traditionally dark ones and the lovely lime green ones–you want aphids; I have aphids! My ladybugs can’t keep up.

With a drought advisory on, I feel a little bad about using the hose to wash these things off all the time. But of course,  the container plants need water more than they should anyway. I am trying to be frugal about it.

At least now I have a place to report my unusual aphid infestation–or anything else I might see.  There’s a web site (an app is coming) called The Big Bug Hunt. It gives gardeners a place to report bugs, to identify some common bugs, and to keep updated via email on bugs and other news.

It is designed to be a “citizen science” project, much the way Project FeederWatch  and eBird are for birds. If you see a bug infestation in your garden, you are encouraged to report it. That way, gardeners help other gardeners.

And what’s not to like about that?

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