No-mess lizard IPM ;-)

PupillaCharites(FL 9a)August 19, 2014

The high tech IPM system for Cabbage Loopers and Armyworms works like this:

I spend a half-hour every morning in the joy of watching my tomato plants grow and looking for pests and disease while I'm at it. Armyworms are the most brutal but Cabbage Loopers the most numerous.

This is the IPM strategy in partnership with Cuban Anolis lizard interns:

Pick off caterpillar.
Put in lizard plate.
Put plate near lizard.
Caterpillar loops or does hula dance in a daze.
Eagle-eyed intern see movement.
Intern runs at top speed ending with a long jump and grabs Cabbage Looper in its jaws head-first.
Everyone feels satisfied.

Then lizard eases it down its throat making human facial expressions of delight. When the mouthful is too big, it even closes its eyes - same as a human reflex to swallowing a horse pill.

I forgot lizards' special plate so the pics are on a brick. Special acknowlegements to Liz the Lizard and Lou the Looper who kindly volunteered. I usually put a bunch of cats on the plate and when I'm done put it out and several lizards come to party, even though they normally are pretty territorial.

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Cool beans! I love watching the little garden animals do their thing! How nice of you to help them get their dinner. Too cold up here for anoles, but if I weed up a cutworm, I've been known to put it near one of my garden toad friends for a snack. Due to our very wet spring and early summer, we have an overabundance of teeny little toads and frogs of all kinds this fall. You can't take a step in the garden without seeing two or three hoop away. I wonder how many will make it through the winter. One wet year about 20 years ago we had babyJefferson salamanders all over the place, but I have not seen any of them for many years.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 5:35PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Thanks ddsack

We must be about as far apart climate wise as it gets in the lower 48. It sure is a great feeling to feed the beneficial creatures with trespassing pests that prey on our tomatoes. After squashing one too many caterpillars and developing an ant problem as a result, I needed another solution and started throwing them in the fishpond. I was never sure what happened. It is much better to see them, as they say, go down the hatch!

Glad your amphibious friends are there to give you a hand, the more the merrier, and that we've both found productive ways to be part of the food chain that probably have the neighbors wondering if we've lost our marbles ;-)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:55PM
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