Anyone else?

ZachS. z5 Littleton, COJune 26, 2014

Has anyone else noticed a much larger pest problem this year then the last couple years? Maybe because it's been much wetter then "normal" around here but I have never had so many problems with bugs! Aphids, leaf miners, flea beetles, cut worms, heck even the flies are much more numerous that then they have been in a while. It's really starting to bug me (I'm so "punny" huh?)

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treebarb Z5 Denver

Oh, yes, Zach! I'm fighting a bit of fireblight in one of the apple trees and elsewhere have aphids, mites and now the grasshoppers are making an appearance. Looks like the mosquitos are going to have a banner year, too. It's the price we pay for a cool, wet spring.

I'm seeing lots of ladybugs, but still not enough. I usually have a lot of praying mantis, but haven't seen them yet. Come, on, mantis, there's work to be done!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Lots of bugs here too. Too many flies and aphids. There is also a major explosion, at least in my yard, of ladybugs. Something that I've noticed is that there seems to be a lack of wasps. Now some people might think that it's good thing not having pesky wasps about but they are major predators of garden pests.

I've been looking for bats around dusk for the last week and have not seen a single one. Maybe the white nose fungus has reached Colorado?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:00AM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

I, too have seen fewer wasps. Also bees. Usually the bees are swarming my lavender bushes but this year it's bare as a bone. Very few lady bugs and the ones I do see usually don't hang around more then a couple hours. I have seen several bats though.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 6:05PM
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I've only been here a couple years now so I don't really know what the normal bug amounts here should be. I have noticed not many bees in my garden, but I assumed it was because it's on a balcony. Last year, right before it started getting cold, I noticed a huge amount of bee activity in the tree literally right next to my balcony. Do bees not locate themselves in the same spot?

I have seen lots of fungus gnats lol and that's about it! I finally broke down and have ordered something to take care of them online today. Adios!

Coming from Oklahoma I'd say the bug problem here is next to nothing. I recall my porch garden there having enormous green grasshoppers! Many other little crawlers visited there as well, and so so many lady bugs there! They were my buddies, always patrolling my plants. Here it's just me and those damned fungus gnats lol.

All I can say is thank god for the reduced amount on june bugs in this state compared to OK!! I hate those things and they freak me out when stuck in my hair! That is all! lol

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 3:44AM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

In my experience, of the many challenges high altitude gardening presents, bugs (and many diseases) is not one of them. This year, while nothing has reached catastrophic levels, is worse then it has been the past couple years since I've been back in Colorado. Course, I TRIED gardening in Hawaii, and bugs, disease, and most problematic, weeds, forced my hand and I gave up haha.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 12:16PM
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Me too on the bugs. I have never had a lot of problems with things eating my plant leaves and this year I have holes everywhere. Ugh!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 8:10PM
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bugs not so much, but the wet fall, followed by a mild winter, followed by a wet spring, has us with a prairie dog population boom. Things are everywhere, and now the young'uns are leaving the den and learning about crossing roads in traffic.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Yes! I have noticed lots of aphids on my roses despite the systemic insecticide that's in the fertilizer. Also my sage and oregano look like Swiss cheese! Skeeters here are not especially bad but last week I was in Steamboat and they were fierce.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:34PM
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I just drowned out a rather vigorous civil engineering gopher in my rose bed.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:14PM
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NBM81(Zone 5b (Denver/Boulder))

I had aphids pretty regularly on my pepper plants earlier in June, but strong jets of water daily have kept the damage controlled. No other pests to speak of except RABBITS. Uggh, they're annihilating my petunias and they were eating my veggie seedlings before I covered everything in bird netting. I have also noticed a huge lack of wasps and lady bugs.

Other than that, at least north of Denver, the weather so far this season has been PERFECT for growing - I transplanted May 18th and my plants are far ahead of where they were at this time last year. I've already harvested several peppers and some of my tomatoes are blushing now. We also haven't had any hailstorms and only a handful of nice downpours. I know the same can't be said for Denver proper and areas to the south and east..

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:33PM
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While I have seen a few wasps around nowhere close to the numbers of years past. If I had to take a guess for the reduced numbers it would be wasp traps. I'd estimate that 1/3 of the houses that I work at have at least one trap if not 3 or 4.

Still haven't seen any bats either.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Lots of flea beetles,grasshoppers and increasing number of wasps. A little more bees this past week. Only a couple of lady bugs. Lots of potato beetles. Billions of ants. The birds are not eating fast enough. Sure miss those chickens. First Zs and yellow squash this week. Peas are done.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:41PM
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Lots of flea beetles,grasshoppers and increasing number of wasps. A little more bees this past week. Only a couple of lady bugs. Lots of potato beetles. Billions of ants. The birds are not eating fast enough. Sure miss those chickens. First Zs and yellow squash this week. Peas are done.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:42PM
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NBM81(Zone 5b (Denver/Boulder))

I have finally gotten a good number of small wasps and bees into the garden and they are pollinating like crazy. Aphids are not so much an issue now that the heat is more consistent (mostly 90s). Only a few ladybugs here and there. I pulled a few small hornworms off my plants a week ago and haven't seen any more since.

I hear the tail end of July and first week of August are when hornworms are typically in full force in this area. Keeping my eyes peeled!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:07PM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

I'm loving reading all the insect issues!

This is the first year I really went all out planting perennials and annuals, so I can't add much to the conversation regarding historical levels, but I can report what I have seen in and around our yard in Lafayette.

Flea beetles and lace bugs on zinnias were really bad. Some damage to a money plant from the flea beetles, but not nearly as bad as the zinnias. Flea beetles attacked tomatoes in years past, but seem to have left them alone this year. Grasshoppers ate the parsley and fennel to the ground that I planted for the butterflies. I thought I caught them all, plants grew new leaves, more grasshoppers. I gave up on them. Leaf beetles did a good number on orange carpet. They are all over the Black-eyed Susans and Echinaceas now. No aphids to report hence a void of lady bugs.

I started trapping and relocating rabbits which allowed many of my tender plants to get going after they munched them to the ground. Rabbit spray and deer spray worked for a day or two until it rained, then they went right back for the plants. Relocating was my only option and it worked like a charm so far.

I put out bee blocks and cut bamboo for the native bees and wasps to have nesting grounds. It was a really slow spring and early summer for them as most emerged almost three weeks later than in years past. Seems like they are in good numbers around here. Honey bees are in good numbers on salvias, catmint, and California poppies.

Thanks for the reports. Keep em coming.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:56PM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

Oh the rabbits. It has been a rabbit year for sure! I had 4 very small ones burrowing right through my pumpkin roots, which explains why they look so crappy (that and PM came about 4 months early this year).

Lots of flea beetles. But, they seem to like the established potatoes best, so, no harm, no foul. Just holes in the leaves and they look no worse for the wear (though I am eagerly waiting for them to die anyways so I can dig them up and ready the spot for some fall veggies). There is an abundance of earwigs, especially on the corn, so, I am not hopeful for a bumper crop this year (not that I really was anyways, it was more of an experiment on how close can I really plant them and still get a return).

My son dug up about 15 army worms out of a pot that is on the deck, and I think I finally shook the aphids from my tomatoes and one pepper, though "how" is unknown to me.

I came home from AT at the end of June to find all my beets decimated by beet leaf miners. A few small beets and almost no leaves to speak of was all I got out of that.

All of the flowers seem to be in top form though. Aside from an invasion of thrips on the morning glories early on, everything else looks good. The gladiolus have just started to bloom (though only about 1/3 of them have flower stalks).

The lavender and borage have been attracting bees en masse. The squash bees have finally "woken up" and are now fighting over what few pumpkin flowers I have, not quite the feast they got last year with 6 zucchini plants haha. Lots and lots of bumble bees, halictid bees of several kinds, hoverflies, and the longhorn bees are much more numerous than last year. What I haven't seen is the leafcutter bees or wool carder bees like I did last year. One leafcutter and zero wool carders.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:34AM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Zach, the last image of a digger bee, in the genus Melissodes, is sweet! We also have quite a few sweat bees (Halictids) visiting the salvias and Rudbeckias. I attempted two different kinds of lavender via wintersowing and neither germinated. I'd love to get a patch going as I know the pollinators love them.

The leaf cutters must be around as I've seen cut discs from my lilacs and peonies, but the 1/4 inch holes in the bee blocks they have used in years past are totally empty. They may be using my wood pile for nesting locations, which I frown upon as I burn up the bee cells in the winter, but nonetheless they are about.

On a recent trip to the Chicago area we had our camera stolen out of our car overnight. I'm jealous of your images. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:51PM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

Thanks! I like the digger bees, last year I had 1 or 2, this year there are dozens. Though, I have them listed in my records as Melissodes bimaculata, which comes up as a long horn bee? But, you would know better than I.

Around my house the leaf cutters like the chokecherries, I have noticed a decrease in the cut leaves on them as well as fewer of the bees. Maybe it was just time for them to move on...

Lavender has HORRIBLE germination rates. I.e. I have a huge lavender bush in my front yard that drops thousands of seeds a year, I get maybe 1-2 volunteer plants coming up the following spring. I think you are much better off with potted plants from the nursery. We just have the English lavender, and it does really well, and the bees swarm it every year.

I planted Cathedral Spires salvia this year hoping to attract more bees, but, instead it only attracts the skipper butterflies, but, thats okay with me too.

Heres some pics from last year:
(feel free to correct any of my I.D.'s)

Wool Carder Bee (A. manicatum)

Squash Bee (P. pruinosa)

Leafcutter Bee (Megachile sp.)

And one that I am completely lost to ID. It was pretty much a solid golden/yellow color with bright green eyes.

So sorry to hear about your camera. I know that's frusterating and really ticks you off. Why do people have to be so sh*tty sometimes? (The same thing happened to me once and it had all my pictures from my first deployment to Iraq on it. Talk about UNHAPPY.)

This post was edited by ZachS on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 19:38

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 7:36PM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Not to confuse- you are absolutely right on the common name of long horned bees. I lump the diggers and long horned bees together as they are in the same subfamily Apinae.

Sweat photo of the Anthidium manicatum! People might think I'm a little weird, but those Megachile are so cute. I've had them come out of the firewood I've brought in the house in Feb and March. They just wander about our house without issue and allow me to handle them without any aggression. That's why I try to provide bee blocks and insect hotels for them, but I guess nothing can compete with a good woodborer hole to them.

Stopped at Lowes this evening and looked at the bargain bin plants. Much to my surprise, they had English lavender for only 3 bucks in the quart size and there were two Meliossodes bimaculatus visiting. I was on a bicycle, so I'm sure everyone really had a laugh seeing the lavender waving from my backpack for almost eight miles. Anyhow, thanks for mentioning the bees visiting your lavender as I am now hoping they continue to visit my new plants.

At first glance I think the unknown photo is of an Anthophoridae, perhaps Anthophora terminalis but I would need to get some references out to add some confidence to that guess. Im not afraid to admit I'm not great with bee identification as they can be tricky, but I keep on learning. I mostly work with bark beetles.

Sorry to hear about your photos as well. I'll never understand what goes through a thieves' mind. Just once I'd love to catch them in the act.

Again, thanks for sharing your beautiful images, I enjoyed the post and sorry to derail the original post somewhat.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:10AM
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bugdoctor(5 CO)

Ugh...I guess my stupid autocorrect thinks 'sweat photo' is better than 'sweet photo'.
Go figure

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:17AM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

I like sweat photo better, personally, so I understand where your autocorrect is coming from haha.

Anyways. Thanks, I went on a bee hunting photo spree last year, trying to find as many different bees as I could. I gave up a few days later because out of LITERALLY a billion and a half pictures, like 6 came out looking good. The damn things don't sit still! I have yet, in my life, and I have tried for years, to get a decent, in focus, picture of a bumble bee. I have come to the conclusion that it is simply not possible.

My favorite are the squash bees. They act almost "friendly" (though, in that picture he looks mad, he's really not I swear) and don't seem to care how close I get or what I do. They just buzz around me until the squash flowers close up for the day and they go to bed.

I made a bee block a little bit ago, just set out yesterday (probably a little late out of the chutes) We'll see how it does. My luck all I will get is spiders in it haha.

I think you are definitely right with Anthophora, looking on bug guide there are a lot of similarities with others in that the genus.

I think you'll be happy with the lavender. Once it gets established, it is virtually maintenance free. It thrives in our arid environment and will reward you with the smell of lavender and a ton of bees for years to come. And it gets pretty big, so, make sure to put it where it has room to grow.

I agree. We'll theres a lot of things that go on in this world that really baffle me that humans are capable of doing to each other. That's why I stopped watching the news.

Now worries about derailment, I think we can get it back on track easy enough ;).

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:38AM
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