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12 CHOICES – PLANTING A DEFENSE

Two previous articles provided tips on surviving stinging flying insects. Summer Fun: Taking the Sting Out deals with preventing pests from taking up residence. Getting Rid of the Swell shares a recipe for a natural repellant. Another natural defense against flying, stinging insects, such as wasps and bees, involves choosing the right plants to border your home and patio.

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

Keep in mind that your don’t want to kill hoards of these insects even though they’re pests.  After all the bees’ absence impact our flowers and food supply; and other insects eat to keep that species population down and stop them from eating our gardens and flowers.  With that in mind, we just want to discourage the stinging pests from camping out near the places we often inhabit.  

If flowers or plants with a sweet aroma sit around entryways, patio or deck, move these nectar producing plants if you’re concerned with flying insects. These plants attract them. The same goes for any tree or plant producing anything with an enticing sweetness.

Eucalyptus - public domain photo

It appears that herb plants with distinct aromas work well. Often people think of eucalyptus and citronella plants. Thyme is also a good one. Plus, as a bonus with thyme, you can snip off some for cooking. All are good at warding off pests if you’re wearing the aroma, or burning from a diffuser or candle. According to some nurseries, these plants’ effectiveness as repellents require planting lots of them in one spot.  Check with your local nursery on care information and best results for your geographic location.

Marigolds via public domain

Marigolds reportedly have an aroma (Tagetes spp) that turn flying pests off. These pretty flowers come in many colors. Marigolds fit in well with other flowers. Neither bees nor wasps like mint (peppermint, spearmint, etc.). It’s a hardy plant requiring little maintenance. Experts recommend keeping mint in pots as, like wild flowers, mint has a tendency to spread and take over a spot.

Marigold

 

If you like shrubs around the house, consider wormwood.  The same substance,  absinthe, that makes this plant poisonous also wards off the pests, wasps in particular. For this plant, it’s important to check with a nursery to decide where to plant and what other plants/flowers shouldn’t be near it. That same absinthe could kill surrounding flora after a rain storm as run-off.

All of these plants have specific care needs, but seem easy to grow and maintain (read: not kill).

The insectivorous plants are the undisputed champions to control flying pests. These carnivorous beauties are climbing evergreens. With these plants near your doorways, patios, etc., their receptacles’ siren songs entice the pests come in and never go out. Although they do kill them, at least it’s part of the circle of life! And, I think that the critters learn to steer clear after a few of them don’t return from scouting missions! These plants attract the flying insects through nectar and subterfuge.

Insectivorous (carnivorous) plants have a bizarre appearance, but have a strange beauty also. Experts strongly suggest that carnivorous plants be purchased from a knowledgeable and reputable grower. The reason:  uprooting these plants from their habitat has resulted in habitat destruction and over-collection. At any rate, the grower or expert nursery can ensure a healthier plant and offer maintenance instructions.

North American Pitcher Plant via clker.com

 


The carnivorous pitcher plant’s leaves form “pitchers” or “cups” containing intoxicating nectar. Insects fly in, get trapped and the plant’s leaves fold over on the pest. Digestive enzymes do the rest—the circle of life.

Green Pitcher plant -public domain photo

 

The insectivorous sundew has its own delicate and deadly beauty. Sundews’ also produces an alluring nectar.

Sundew Plant - public domain photo

However, it has glistening, brightly colored stalks as an added attraction. The stalks give the illusion of dew. Insects land and get stuck on the sticky stalks. Enter digestive enzymes.

Sundew plant - via public domain/DO'Donnel

 

 

 

 

 

Other carnivorous varieties to investigate:


  • Butterworts sport leaves covered in stalked glands that give off sticky nectar.

  • Venus fly traps feature leaves that snap close when insects enter.

  • The bladder-shaped leaves of bladderworts imprison them too.

  • Corkscrew plants trap insects in twisted tubular channels.

Carnivorous plants are reportedly easy to grow. Certainly, they will be a conversation starter at your next barbecue.  Check out Growing Carnivorous Plants to decide if these pest eliminating, strangely alluring plants might be the answer.  The following care articles provide information that is specific to the pitcher and sundew: http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Pitcher-Plants, http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Gardening/diggin-it/2011/0125/Pitcher-plants-are-native-carnivorous-and-fun-to-grow and www.thegardenhelper.com/sundew.html.


©2012 DLewis

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Tips, Uncategorized

 

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