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Mixing in dinner!

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Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 11th January 2009, 12:51

To get the best from my wasps, I found I had to have a good meal for them just as spring sprung. It used to take about 15 days for the wasps to show up after the aphids started. However by "mixing" in the right dinner (plants) blooming at the right time I seemed to have fixed this problem. This past year just as the aphids started they were taken out!

The adults have to have food in order to breed, if they can not find food they don't breed. In late winter and very early spring there were almost no flowers in my garden and those around were the wrong flower shape, so the pollen was not exposed. I found by supplying the right flowers in late winter and early spring meant they were ready to breed the second the aphids showed up so they could lay their eggs. The aphids were wiped out.

The flowers I am using are Snow Daisy annuals, which self seed and come up in winter. German Chamomile which is also an annual, self seeds and starts blooming in winter. These first 2 will die once it starts to get warm but by then I have other flowers to take over the dinner service. And the last, Feverfew a perennial which blooms in winter if you do not prune it too hard in autumn. I make sure these flowers are close to all of my roses.

Here are Snow Daisy in full bloom in very early spring.


Feverfew nestled in near the roses

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Admin on 11th January 2009, 13:47

Deb, another good one for getting the flowers in Early are Hellebores. These are mine during the last winter....

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You should see how they have filled in now! I can't even see the ground!

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 11th January 2009, 15:07

Hi,
I am not sure about Hellebores for the tiny wasps, are they recommended?
I can't grow them here it is too hot and dry for them.

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Admin on 11th January 2009, 16:18

Not that I am aware of... but it makes sense that they would given how many other insects they attract. The honey bees, bumble bees, and native bees love them. They grow fast, are pretty tough, good for shady spot, and self seed all over the joint. I have about 10 different forms in there ranging from single to doubles and white to green, to spotted and burgundy red and in a drift like this they are really lovely. Next late winter/Spring is going to be just beautiful. They've closed in now and crowding out the weeds cutting my work dramatically in this garden this year.

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 11th January 2009, 18:27

I hve the dark purple H one Tas, love your 2 legged weeders and feeders LOL

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 11th January 2009, 19:09

Well, if they are the only flower blooming in very early spring and you find heaps of mummified aphids as soon as the aphids appear... then you know they are feeding on them. I would like to know as I keep a list of plants they can use.
The pollen has to be very exposed, no crawling in to the flower to get to it. For expamle then can not feed on roses as the pollen is deep in even semi double or single blooms. No bell shaped flowers will work such as pestomons. Daisy work as the center/pollen of the flower is unobstructed, the flowr petals are flat and level with the pollen, they can just land on it and they are there. They are very poor flyers and their wings get damaged very easily on flower petals.

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Admin on 11th January 2009, 22:26

What is the name of the actual wasp? They may not even be present in Tas.

This is what my single hellebore flower looks like. The anthers are nicely exposed.

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The double ones might be more problematic.

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The flowers are big, around 6-8cm in diamtre.

I often get lots of little white aphid shells...

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 12th January 2009, 09:13

Beautiful pics Tas love

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

Post by Guest on 12th January 2009, 09:14

Hi Tasv,
Your photos are wonderful. I love the muted soft colours, wish I could grow them.
I just checked and the aphid wasps are in Tassie, they are very small and you may never see one.
Aphidius sp. is the proper name.
Next early spring prior to any aphids, take note of what flowers are blooming. Then when the aphids appear, see how long it is before you start to see the mummies. Then count back about 5-6 days and note what was blooming. These little wasps can build up large populations in your garden and totally take care of the aphids. The hardest part is providing the right flowers for them to feed on. They are very tiny, have brittle wings and poor flyers. The have to be able land directly on the surface with the pollen. If they crawl around the flower attemting to reach it, they often break their wings. It seems that very open flat flowers like daisy or dandilion are the type of flowers they can feed from.
Here is a pic of the mummified aphids

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Re: Mixing in dinner!

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