The good, the bad and the buggy.

This time of the year is bitter sweet in the garden.

Insects of all kinds flock to our garden.

They’re fun to watch and photograph.

At least most of them are.

Among the butterflies…

And a variety of bees…

We also get Japanese Beetles.

The Japanese Beetles did a number on our Purple Coneflower, but they’ve already come and gone. Thank goodness.

But look at these buggers, stink bugs.

Stink bugs … I don’t like em. I don’t like em one bit. They stink.

We try our darndest to avoid using any pesticides, and opt instead for interplanting other bug repellant varieties close by, as well as the picking and stomping method. Or the picking and flicking method. That one works well too.

While pesticides, even organic ones, may get rid of the beetles and other pests, the other guests that we want to keep are usually affected as well. So we’ve held off using anything as much as possible.

And even though much of the purple coneflower looks pitiful, the bees and butterflies don’t seem to mind.

Still, I’ve been doing some research, but no method sounds all that fantastic to me. And as I said using other insecticides, even organic/natural ones, concern me a little, especially for the bees. Bees can return to their hive with just a little insecticide, and ruin a whole colony. Just like that. I’d rather have stinking looking flowers than worry about that.

I’m curious to hear what works for you to control a buggy sit-ye-ation. What have you tried that has worked like a charm? Do you have any tips or tricks for ridding the bad guys, while keeping the good?

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  1. 3


    Those pics are so pretty! I’m sorry your flowers aren’t looking so hot right now, but you’re right. Bees are so important! It scares me to think that their numbers seem to be shrinking every year!

  2. 4

    sas says

    Hey Sis, I combine a teaspoon of dish liquid in a gallon of water to spray on my plants. Seems less harsh than the store varieties and seems to work, plus it’s cheap! Not sure how the bees and butterflies react to it.

  3. 5


    Our river birch has aphids, but the ladybugs come and attack. The lady bugs eventually end up in our house, but I can deal with it. Never seen aphids that close before.

  4. 6

    Tracy says

    I agree with Southern Gal – ladybugs love to eat aphids. Our nurserys sell containers of ladybugs just for this purpose. They also sell praying mantis egg cases that people put in their gardens near infestations because when the babies (nymphs) hatch they are really hungry and love aphids and other bugs (but when they get bigger they will eat almost anything that isn’t bigger than them).

  5. 7


    Ladybugs can be ordered through the mail if you can’t find them at the nursery. We love to see ladybugs in our alfalfa meadow to eat the aphids!

  6. 8

    SMITH BITES says

    We too, are trying to encourage the bees back to our garden; 8 yrs ago when we moved here, there were tons of them happily pollinating our fruit trees – then nothing for the last 5-6 yrs. Last week we saw THREE honeybees and we are thrilled! Spraying the beetles w/soapy water, the ‘pick & flick’ method have worked but it’s a full-time job! Lovely garden – it’s hard work but sooooo worth it! Looking forward to meeting you at the ‘Big Summer Potluck’ in a couple of weeks!

  7. 9

    Mom says

    Has anyone heard about putting beer in saucers around the garden? I remember some one told me they did that and I forgot why they did it. It had something to do with getting rid of bugs. But watch where you put them in case there are household pets around. Tipsey dogs and cats would not be a good thing.

    Gorgeouse pictures, Amy. Good eye!! Love ya.

  8. 10

    Patrice says

    I know this isn’t answering your question, but I just wanted to say how lovely your photography is. The first picture is gorgeous!
    Keep up the good work!

  9. 11

    Steph W. says

    I’ve been swamped with cabbage moths and aphids this year. I’ve been using this method, and although it stinks, it’s the best I’ve found so far.

    1 tsp of dish liquid
    2 bulbs of garlic
    6 dried chilis or 12 fresh chilis
    7 c. of very warm water (divided)

    Throw all ingredients into a blender with 1/2 of the water, and make a disgusting slushie. Strain through a coffee filter or muslin bag or papertowel. Add the remaining water and store in glass jars in dark cool area. Throw some in a spray bottle and just go through every couple of days and look for little buggers and give them a squirt. I accidentally squirted a couple of honey bees the other day. They were mad, but perfectly fine (other than smelling really bad, lol). The stuff is supposed to keep the bugs away, and it seems to work, but you have to reapply every few days. Hope this helps :) Also, as far as I can tell, NOTHING kills japanese beetles (at least nothing you would want on food you eat)…they are from the devil. I go around every couple of days and knock them into a jar of HOT soapy water, but that really just keeps everything from being eaten entirely. P.S. Love your site!

  10. 12

    Wenderly says

    Just chatted with my sister (a horticulturist) she says that ladybugs are good for aphids, but praying mantis’are even better! (or both) She has a client that had a huge problem with them and placed praying mantis’ in the beds and they haven’t seen an aphid in 2 years!
    Good Luck!

  11. 13

    callie says

    Plates of beer are to attract slugs to their drunk demise. It does work. Your local grocery might think you have a drinking problem though. It does take nightly plates to make a dent in the population.

  12. 14


    I don’t have any ideas on how to get rid of the bugs, but your pictures are gorgeous!! Stopping by Mingle Monday!

  13. 15


    Ok, I just gotta know, what lens did you use and what was your setting? These photographs are absolutely stunning. {As usual!}

    Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!

    Thanks for joining in on Mingle Monday!


  14. 17


    I had a HORRIBLE aphid problem this year as well. I made a solution with 1 part vegetable oil, 3 parts water, and 3 drops of Ivory liquid dish soap. The were attacking my day lilies so I had to sit and spray each individual leaf heavily, pull out the ones that were covered in the aphids’ “honeydew” and starting to turn brown. To catch the rest that seemed to be living in the mulch I placed yellow plastic cups (they LOVE the yellow) with the same solution every two feet along my garden (it’s a border, didn’t want you to think I had yellow polka dots everywhere). The aphids saw the yellow, climbed in to see what was inside, and within 2 days I had hundreds if not thousands drowning in there. As I did this I didn’t see a decrease in bees or praying mantis and the ladybugs didn’t disappear until the aphids were gone. Worked like a charm! I also use the beer in a dish trick for slugs. I found that even after the beer dries up, they’re just as attracted to a bowl full of rain water!

  15. 18

    Kim Lund says

    I was looking at your pictures and I have been having a problem with aphids. I didn’t even know what they were and couldn’t find a picture to describe them or identify them. They get on my squash plants every year and kill them just after they get good size squash on the plants. Just want to say thanks for identifying my pesty bug.

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