Insect love…

It’s rather distressing to read about the loss of insects. Like David Attenborough said, the planet can manage without humans but without insects, we’re toast.

In a small way, I see this in my greenhouse, in which I take an annual survey of paper wasps the third week of August. The reason is that if there are too many nests and too much activity I take out a few hives to make it a little safer for guests. The paper wasps are good neighbors but the one time I was stung I think she landed on me my accident and didn’t like being brushed off.

But the last few years have been low paper wasp. It’s got me worried. I rely on them to deal with caterpillars and they are good with aphids, too.

One thing that I may be doing is treating the peppers with Neem. While tomato and basil are very easy to grow, come late spring it’s an ongoing struggle to keep aphids off of the peppers and eggplants. Since you can’t sell plants with bugs, and hand-picking is an endless task, I’ve been using a bit of Neem, which is about as gentle as you can get. But I’ve seen the ladies looking for aphids on the peppers and I worry. So…

I’m going to give up trying to sell pepper and eggplant starts. The peppers have always been a headache since seed life and germination is so unpredicatable, I get so worried about their chills, and I just don’t find all that much excitement in pepper varieties. And perhaps the greenhouse can be an insect sanctuary. I stopped treating the scale since the times I had whitefly was after I used some kind of oil treatment on the citrus. In the small scale of a greenhouse the delicate balance of nature is more visible and throwing some chemicals in just has unforeseen and usually not great consequences.