Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wasps Be Gone!

So, you've tried those wasp traps from the local stores and might have even tried traps with raw meat, but those pesky wasps are not interested in your traps? You just might be hanging up the wrong trap. Lager Sagers, one of the hosts of the KSL Greenhouse show, says that the wasps you see in swarms around your yard and attacking your ripe fruit are probably not the same kind of wasps we had ten years ago. They might be the European Paper Wasp, a species not native to the U.S. In the best tradition of self-reliance, the trap you need might be one of your own making. No fancy pheromes --- just an old plastic soda bottle, fruit juice, soap and water.

Lager Sagers explains about this wasp and the trap in the following article on KSL: The Right Trap for the Right Wasp

If you, like me, need a visual illustration, I found the trap Mr. Sagers describes on a different website: Do It Yourself Wasp Control

If you plan to make one of these traps, it is important to use the correct proportions: 1 part fruit juice to 10 parts water + 1 tsp. liquid detergent. These proportions encourage fermentation of the mixture, which draws the wasps.

Wouldn't this make a great project for a youth group?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Night of the Living Grasshopper

Out of desperation, I sent my daughter outside with the vacuum cleaner to suck up the hordes of grasshoppers eating my pole beans. (We put the vacuum on a hard piece of plastic to keep the brushes from sucking up the dirt.) She finally developed a technique, sucking up 40 of them in two hours. You'll have to be desperate to do it, but maybe you are desperate like I was, and this works really well with squash bugs. Since all 40 hoppers she got were eating my green beans, it should help a little. She says you have to move really slowly and not just jab at them, causing them to jump away. It's problematic anyway, as the leaves of the beans tend to get sucked up, too. Moving slowly, you can avoid the leaves and not startle the hoppers. My thought is that you could avoid getting the leaves if you make it a two-person or two-kid job, only turning the vacuum on when the nozzle is right where it needs to be. Then, the hoppers aren't startled by the wind until it's too late!

O.K., now to tell you what happens when you have 40 live grasshoppers in your vacuum. We vacuum up wasps in the house and they never get out of the vacuum. Grasshoppers are made of sterner stuff, let me tell you. My daughter had left the vacuum in the garage so she could return later to the garden. When my son brought it inside to vacuum the carpet, hoppers started coming out of the vacuum in our house! We sucked them back up and I decided this required a change of vacuum bag. I didn't anticipate the next circus act, as all those dusty hoppers were at the opening of the bag just ready to hop out when I removed the bag! One hopped right on me and the others were covered in vacuum dust, ready to go, a la "Night of the Living Grasshopper". In the meanwhile, I was screeching (a tad startled to have one hop out on me); my daughter was screeching looking at those dusty hoppers trying to get out in our house; and I was fumbling to get that cover over the opening as quickly as possible to keep the other hoppers inside. It was completely gross! It sure makes, though, for one of those family memories that will give us a lot of laughs in the retelling!