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OT: pests

Well, it's been an eventful afternoon.  As I was planting some recent
arrivals, I saw that something had attacked my newly-planted big beautiful
rhizomes of several varieties, boring holes about the diameter of one's finger
in the side of the rhizome right at the base of the fan.  This isn't
typically-appearing cricket damage, but I couldn't figure what else it would
be.   Approaching the carport cupboard where I keep the diatomaceous earth, I
moved a bag of duck decoys and was met by a swarm of bees -- not honey bees,
but black and white and about honey-bee size.  As it happened, I had a
hand-tank of bug spray at hand, so had at them with it.  The
best-defense-is-a-good-offense tactic worked for about 15 seconds, when I
began to breathe the stuff I was spraying, since they were circling me at
head-height by then, and one of the critters lit on my leg.  I brushed it off
without a sting and decided it was time to run  --  something I haven't done
for several years.  My fallen arch and arthritic knees let me know how they
felt about that as soon as I got inside.

Unable to reach the diatomaceous earth, I went to the hardware store for some
more, since I don't want the crickets to have another feast tonight.  The
hardware store was out of it.  Three and a half more miles to Home Depot.
Yes, the manager said, they used to carry it but don't anymore.  Back home to
the telephone.  "Dia -- what?", said several plant nursery clerks.  Finally, I
located it at a hardware store 15 miles away.  That's not much distance in
Kansas, but in the Washington area rush hour, it's a different story.
Fortunately, I got through or around the worst tie-ups and was back in time to
treat the newly planted beds and several other beds holding important
seedlings.  Interestingly,  a thorough patrol of the premises  --  about 1,000
clumps  --  didn't reveal any other significant cricket damage, and none of it
recent, confirming the fact that I have neither seen nor heard crickets this
year.  Now I've got a new worry: Suppose it isn't crickets?  I don't want to
think about it.  The bee man is coming tomorrow.  --  Griff

zone 7 in Virginia

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