Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Hasta La Vista, Baby"

Their life ended with a slippery "squash" leaving a green stain on the driveway on this warm May evening.  Lilac lace dripped under the boysenberry beds.  Lacey petals were the cause of evil interlopers.  Once full, draping petals fluttered in the breeze attracting all kinds of pollinators.  Even evil pollinators.  Yes.  Budworms have attacked the petunias leaving tattered petals in their wake.

Each evening I tour the garden.  Lately, attention is on the petunias to hunt budworms.  Since they grow under the boysenberries, I prefer to hand pick the buggers.  You can pick the damaged bud from the plant and dump it in a bucket of soapy water.  The caterpillars inch down the throat of the blossom to dine on the delicate salad.  Picking the damaged bud is fine since it's ruined anyway.  Budworm hunting season in Bakersfield is May and August (and probably all summer long); so this is a task that needs to be tended to diligently.
Heliothis Virescens - Geranium Budworm
Budworms attack more than just geraniums and petunias.  I have found that gently shaking the plant can jar them from their dinner; but since the buds are already ruined I suppose picking the bud is the neatest way to snag them.  I don't use soapy water.  My trophies get marched out to the driveway just as "Taps" is sounding at sunset.  Then, SMASH!  My garden Croc sends them to the heavens with a "Yippee-ki-yay".  Rinse.  Repeat.


Lo said...

Aha....yes I recognize those villains from my geraniums...did not know they were also responsible for my tattered petunias. You are better than Google.

dorothy said...

I think that first paragraph sounds like a good opening for a murder mystery! But we already know 'who dun it'! I have tried spraying petunias with Bt for budworms but it hasn't helped much. I usually don't plant them. Maybe I'll try the squish method.