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RE: native/wild bees- and other good bugs

Theresa - you are on the right track girl! When I decided to convert the
entire back yard over to a bird and butterfly sanctuary (was it 4 years
ago? Jesse help me remember) I went to absolutely no chemicals too.
Didn't use very many before, but quit all chemicals. Have dragonflies
make their way inland from the lake, w/ better than a dozen lavenders, I
have dozens of bees around all the time. My pepper plants produce better
than ever w/ all the pollinators and I have my favorite tiger and black
swallowtail butterflies in abundance. Pat across the street has a pond
and has several frogs in residence. That should help you draw these
(IMO) charming creatures too. Just came in from weeding and planting
Texas star hibiscus (thanks Andrea) and zinnias and spotted the first
gourd of the year.

One of the Corsicans has appeared virtually overnight. Got a couple
little ones forming on the back arch too. Too little yet to tell what

Pollinators sure help w/ getting more gourds too - gotta like it!!  Took a picture of the renovated blue and white bed too.
Fran - love those red-eared turtles!  Had a couple when I was a kid.
Off to scrounge up some lunch y'all -



---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Theresa- yahoo" <tchessie@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: gardenchat@hort.net
Date:  Sun, 29 Jun 2003 06:58:17 -0700

>Fran-  shar some of your toad and snake secrets.  I would love to have
>either and haven't seen a frog/toad since the year we moved in.  Apparently
>there were more little frogs that spring than usual and we had a couple in
>the yard temporarily- but they left.  Got any suggestions?  I have a couple
>of nice sheltered shady spots, even got a toad house to see if that helped.
>I don't really have a water feature, but do have a shallow birdbath that
>sits on the ground (was hoping that would do the trick).  The stupid
>neighbors cat managed to catch the one garter snake in the area (if the
>snake had only crawled into my yard instead of his it'd still be alive!)
>When we were kids, we lived next to a wooded area and used to get oodles of
>gartersnakes.  I still recall the joy of bringing a handful of babies up to
>my mom to surprise her (she wasn't to thrilled- she's not squemish, but has
>always had sort of a snake phobia)
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net]On
>Behalf Of fm4re
>Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2003 6:37 AM
>To: gardenchat@hort.net
>Subject: Re: [CHAT] native/wild bees- and other good bugs
>Great job Theresa!  This is exactly what I would like to accomplish too.  I
>know that the neighbors think we're nuts for not minding the yard snakes and
>toads.  My husband is the neighborhood snake man - gets called to remove
>garter and misc. yard snakes.  Of course we're experiencing more than usual
>this summer since the city is doing some "improvement" work on the big creek
>that runs through the neighborhood (nearing deadline to use the bond money
>or some poolitical move).
>While staring my beds this spring, I uncovered about 5 toads slumbering ion
>different beds!  Felt so honored that they decided to stay the winter!  The
>dogs and cats leave them alone - must not taste too good - but bark up a
>storm when spotted!  Also, all the bugs, toads, lizards, etc. make gardening
>so much more interesting to kids!  I've gained so much respect from the new
>grandkids (especially the boys) since I'm not squeamish about the critters.
>Fran, OKC, Zone 7
>Oh yeah, now have a new red-eared slider to feed the slugs to!
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Theresa- yahoo" <tchessie@yahoo.com>
>To: "GardenChat" <gardenchat@hort.net>
>Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 8:57 AM
>Subject: [CHAT] native/wild bees- and other good bugs
>Hi all-
>I thought I'd give you an update on my bees project.  Both types of bees
>(mason and California) hatched and hung out in my garden.  A few even laid
>eggs in the nest for next year.  Wish there were more, but considering they
>were interrupted midstream by having my house painted, I'm happy any of them
>found the nest.
>Also, I have ALOT more wild bees this year.  I have a huge black bumble bee
>who seems to have found a hole is an old log that he likes : )  I have
>learned the bumblebees are used commercially to pollinate tomatoes.
>Something about how they can vibrate their body.  Also, I have oodles of
>little bees that have been filling the holes in another small bee block
>(essentially a block of wood with smaller holes drilled in it).  They LOVE
>the lavendar, sweet allysum, and especially the flowers on the cilantro that
>went to seed.  I've never seen so many bugs on any plant before, several
>varieties of bees, a wasp or two,and butterflys and other flying critters.
>I'll make sure I let more go to seed in the future.  Finally, I have many
>ladybugs this year.  I released some in early spring, and seems that many
>decided to stick around.  They are in various locations, like in the
>leaves/stems of jasmine twining up the back arbor, on the fennel, and other
>I have had almost no aphids this year (they are gone within days after I
>notice a few), and my white flies are gone since I first released them.
>Oh- I also have a dragon fly who has adopted my back yard!  So, I feel like
>I'm getting closer to some homeostasis in the bug world.  Amazing how many
>more things live here since I stopped using chemical fertilizers!  I hadn't
>used pesticides (except in one desperate case) in a couple of years, but
>over the past 1- 1/2 years I also switched to using only organic
>fertilizers, and that seems to have made a big difference.  Now if I only
>could attract some toads and a snake or two!
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Pam Evans
Kemp TX/zone 8A


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