Dragonflies are voracious predators of mosquitoes and other airborne annoyances. Mike McGrath reveals an easy way to coax these beauties into eating your pestiferous problems! Plus: Mike speaks with the co-founder of Mole Zap/Ant Zap about a new cure for moles.
AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach
Question of the Week:
This isn’t really a gardening question, but I’m curious about dragonflies. I know they’re very beneficial so I’m always glad to see them in my yard down the shore. (I call them all dragonflies, even though I believe that some of them are actually called ‘darners’.) Anyway, my question is: do the larger ones catch and eat the smaller ones?”
— Jim in Villas, New Jersey
A Problem with Snails
Lidia in Avalon, NJ has a major problem with snails. They are eating almost everything she plants in her garden. Mike assures her that there is a solution and that it’s best to tackle these creatures directly. He recommends a product called Slug-Go that is Iron Phosphate wrapped in a yeasty bate. The bonus is that yeast and iron are both really good for your garden!
Make a Poinsettia Bloom
Charles in Churchhill, Tennessee has a beautiful poinsettia that he nursed since last Christmas. The plant has done wonderfully in a 2.5 gallon pot on a column at the end of his driveway. Charles wants to know if he can make the plant bloom in time for Christmas this year. Mike gives Charles a history lesson telling him about the first poinsettia that was exhibited at the Philadelphia Flower Show in the 1800’s, which had many red bract’s, otherwise known as the red leaves on the plant. Mike is happy to tell Charles that he has picked the perfect time to try and do this and that he can absolutely force these beautiful blooms. All he has to do is put a box over the plant at night for 12 hours so it achieves an equal amount of darkness and light simulating conditions near the equator. This process will bring about the beautiful red leaves.
Mole / Ant Zap
Mike speaks with co-founder Sam Noto of Mole Zap/Ant Zap, an ingenious new way to humanely kill moles and ants in their tunnels without danger to you or your family. The product uses C02, which puts the creatures to sleep permanently in their tunnels. All you do is drop it in and wait. This is especially good for people plagued with fire ants, which are incredibly dangerous and sometimes lethal. This product allows you to quickly deal with the ant mound without harm to you. More information on Mole Zap/Ant Zap.
Wood Mulch Woes
Barbara in Egg Harbor Township, NJ has heeded Mike’s warnings about wood mulch, but was sad to see her neighbor spread cheap wood mulch all over her garden. Now the neighbor is dealing with mushrooms popping up that have a particular likeness to a certain body part. These mushrooms smell terrible and are a real nuissance! Barbara is worried that her own garden will be affected by these mushrooms springing up. Mike warns her not to kick these ‘stink horn’ mushrooms, as they are properly named, because they will send up a horrible odor. He suggests using agricultural lime or woodash to nutrilize the mulch, but the best bet is to never spead the stuff in your garden in the first place.
Stink Bug Control
Rick from Dayton, Ohio has a problem with stink bugs on his tomatoes. They are all over the plants, but so far the tomatoes seem to taste ok. However, he still wants to get rid of these pests. So, he bought a systemic pesticide that he used, which seemed to work at first. Mike is astounded that there is a systemic pesticide for home use on the market and strongly urges Rick to never use this kind of chemical again as it is in the fruit he and his family are eating! Mike’s recommendation is to make the plants strong from the get-go so they are not attractive to these pests. One way to do that is to get high quality compost and to make sure not to put the plants out till after the last frost date. If Rick can make some changes he’ll have a healthy garden!