Well, it’s 84 degrees outside right now and the sunshine is bright with not a cloud in the sky. Our dwarf okra plants are loving it, as you can see from the pretty flowers they’re still putting on. What you can’t see from that photo angle is that the base of each flower is crowded with big red wasps, sucking the juice out of the stems and totally ignoring the little butterflies and moths that are perching on the insides of the blooms.
We have had no end of trouble with wasps this year– several different species, and lots of them. Most of our plants that required pollination by bees have struggled this year, because the wasps have been killing any bee that shows her face in the vegetable plots. We have had to wage a total war against them, blasting their nests with wasp spray. The problem has been so bad that I actually went out at noon one day, sprayed and killed a huge nest with about fifty wasps on it, and by the time my husband went out to spray nests at 8pm, there were another 30-40 wasps hanging on the nest, oblivious to the army of their dead on the ground below.
This isn’t the first time we have had trouble with one type of insect getting much too populated for the area– the year that the grasshoppers ate everything right down to our holly bushes was a bad one– but it’s the first time that the bees have been so depopulated. Without bees, we don’t have fruit. So it’s looking likely that we will be purchasing our own hive next year. This means that we will need to continue the war on the wasps, of course, but also that I will have to plant a lot more flowers to make sure that the bees have a steady food supply.
I never complain about an excuse to plant more flowers, though. I am still impatiently waiting for my Sweet William seedlings and alyssum seedlings to really take off. The very warm and mostly dry autumn has made it a challenge to keep everything moist enough for the seedlings to prosper. The Swiss chard and other greens are wilting in the heat. We’re supposed to get a cold front this weekend, which should help, but that could spell doom for the okra plants. They’re too tender to withstand a norther.
It looks like we will have to launch another attack on the wasps, too. One of them flew into the game room yesterday and took up residence in the ceiling fan. We had to drive it out with a lighter flame before it would leave the inner mechanisms of the fan. If we’d left it, I have no doubt she would have built a nest right in the fan. They’re completely indifferent to human rights. Everyone thinks that it’s roaches that would inherit a post-apocalyptic world, but there would certainly be wasps left to hunt them.
Anyway, those beet seeds didn’t sprout at all, so I need to get to work. Peace out.