Saturday, 28 August 2010

Living in Harmony with Insects

I have been looking up all sorts of insects on the web this summer... my radishes were attacked by flea beetle, my brussels have been ravaged by greenfly and I have been trying to encourage insect predators such as ladybirds to keep things in balance in the hope that I will at least be able to harvest something. Every caterpillar I find is moved carefully to the wild end of the allotment and I feel rather proud of my Buddhist intentions and if I have very little cabbage at the end of it all I will console myself with the thought that I am living in harmony with nature.

Bearing that in mind... there is one creature that drives all my pacifist, Buddhist, hippy good intentions right out the window. Enter stage front.... The wasp!! And there hundreds of them sucking the juice out of my grapes right now!!!!


The grapes are just this side of ready... but obviously sweet enough for the wasps. and on top of that the grapes hang just outside the conservatory door above the patio... which means we cannot open any windows or doors without having the house filled with the little blighters. I've been stung twice this year already (albeit one was a poor unsuspecting bumble bee which ended up being gently squashed when I was dead heading the roses and decided to let me know he was there) and although I am not anaphylactic-shock allergic... I definitely have a bad reaction to a sting which I do not want to repeat... so...


I searched for solutions to my problem here. And decided to fashion a wasp trap... using one empty squash bottle.


Top cut off........... soapy water in the bottle...


top smeared with jam and then inverted into the bottle.




Taped and tied with string


and hanging under the vine......


Is it working? No it bloody isn't........ there are just far too many juicy sweet grapes to tempt them. Billy Steve is going to have to don gloves and harvest the grapes. There aren't enough to make wine so I think I will have a go at grape jelly. If I manage to get anything at all from the vine it will be a bonus... the wasps usually get them all... until Billy Steve gets home from the shops I shall just have to try and cultivate a 'laissez faire' attitude... bit like someone else here....


... I guess it's a bit more Zen than the frantic hand-waving, jumping up and down, shaking my head and screaming dance that I have been doing all morning.

5 comments:

  1. Oooo, don't like wasps. Poor you getting stung twice this year - it bloody well hurts, doesn't it?

    Grape jelly sounds yummy!

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  2. Update: the wasp trap has been up for a few hours now and has 7 dead wasps in it... but there are still 77 + wasps greedily feeding on the grapes still on the vine. Def grape jelly making tomorrow. recipe can be found here... http://www.certo.co.uk/Recipes_Framed.htm

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  3. We grow grapes outside but seldom get enough to do anything with. The vine does look pretty and hides the awful fence with all that burgeoning green. The one year that we did get several pounds of grapes, I made jelly and it was an out and out winner. Hope yours is too.

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  4. I always feel sorry for the wasp. We surround it with substances destined to appeal to its sweet tooth then complain when they come to investigate. Often killing the poor thing without a second thought.

    I often imagine that the wasp must feel like some kind of superstar as well because whenever one enters our office there is a mexican wave goes up, little wonder they keep coming back.

    They are the unsung hero of the garden as they eat all sorts of other bugs such as aphids. They just happen to like fruit as well. Like many such insects they are a pollinator as well although nothing like a buzzy bee.

    Can you screen of the vines somehow to stop the wasps getting to them in the first place? They'll soon move on when the realise they haven't a hope.

    On another note, don't squash them, this only attracts more as squashed wasp has a scent deliberately designed to muster the forces as a hive defense.

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  5. We have now progressed to hanging a pretend wasp nest (a partially inflated black bag) just at the entrance to the conservatory and this has cut down on the numbers of wasps, but not got rid of them totally... You are right mr Broccoli I shall have to net the vine next year, a lot of work involved in that and I was hoping to avoid it. lol! There's no half measures in this gardening lark is there?

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