Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dog Vomit and Worse, White Flies

Have you ever seen anything like this?
Don't be alarmed, it is just a harmless slime mold (type of fungus), appropriately named "Dog Vomit." It is common in/on wood mulch, like this cedar bark.

In more worrisome news, I have a major infestation of white flies. Because I think pesticides do more harm that good, and the white flies are not going to kill everything, just weaken a lot of plants, I'm going to try the integrated pest management (IPM) route. I have been trying to increse the beneficial insects in my yard, like the tiny predatory wasps that should be taking these guys out. I am either not doing a good enough job attracting them, or the job is just too big.
How do you know it's white flies? Tap a plant, and zillions of tiny white winged insects fly out. The larvae suck plant juices, weakening the plant and spreading diseases.
When the larvae have been parasitized, they are dark in color, so I'll be in my garden with a magnifier this evening, fingers crossed!

My plan is to purchase some lady bugs and maybe lace wings, plant even more tiny flowered plants to attract the good guys, and spray everything with a hose. I've also comee across mentions of using Dr. Bronner's soap, something I always have on hand. Wish me luck!

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