Friday, June 27, 2008

Water filled bags to scare off house flies?!

So what’s up with the bags of water that people hang up to get rid of flies? I’ve always wondered this myself, so I decided to do some digging. Theories I found include: flies see their reflection and are frightened off, flies don’t like movement so the bag swaying in the breeze bothers them, the bag reflects people or other objects that are in the area and frighten the flies away or that the refraction of light through the bag of water disorients the fly.

I also found an article from an entomologist in North Carolina that actually ran a test on the fly-water-bag-repellent theory and found that areas with water bags hanging up attracted more flies. He counted fecal smears from the flies and everything! Maybe people can poke some small holes in the bags and let the water cool them off since they don’t seem to work on flies.

House flies typically develop on animal feces, garbage or other decaying organic matter. To keep them out of your house, make sure that you have screens covering your windows without holes or gaps in it and that the weather stripping around your doors and windows has a good seal. You should also make sure that your garbage cans are stored away from the house and have tight fitting lids. It's also a good idea to wash your garbage cans out 1-2 times each month with soapy water. If you have pets, picking up their waste 1-2 times a week from the yard can help cut down on fly breeding sites. If you compost, make sure to turn your compost and keep it going so it doesn't begin to get funky. If you do happen to have flies get inside your house, fly swatters are great tools of the trade.
BB's update......
Well, it's been a somewhat busy week this week. BB's doing great and kicking- A LOT! We went to a meet the doctor's night on Tuesday to try to find a pediatrician and I think we succeeded. It's so weird picking a doctor for someone who isn't even here yet. One of the doctors looked at me and asked hesitantly if I was expecting. I was a bit taken aback since I think I look huge, but then again, I know what I looked like before. Also, I found out today (and I'm a bit miffed about it), according to my obstetrician I am a bit far along in my gaining of weight, so I have to cut back on the ice cream I've been eating. It's just so HOT outside and ice cream is just too yummy! I personally don't think I've been that bad in my eating habits, but my weight is telling a different story. Oh well....back to carrots for snacks...eating healthy ALL THE TIME gets old after awhile.....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Leafminers- artists of the natural world

I've been getting several questions about leafminers lately and what can be done about them so I thought I'd post something for those who haven't asked or just want to know.

Leafminers are the larvae of flies, wasps, moths or beetles that feed between the top and bottom leaf layers. The larval feeding creates a pattern in the leaf tissue that can often be used to categorize the leafminers (i.e. serpentine vs. blotch). Some leafminers pupate within the leaf while others emerge from the leaf to pupate in the ground.

Leafminer damage is rarely abundant enough to cause plant damage. Some consider it unsightly while others may step back and admire the art that is being created right before their eyes. Damage may occur on vegetables or various ornamental plants. Often when damage is on ornamental plants and some vegetables, it is considered merely cosmetic, but when damage is on crops such as spinach or swiss chard it is considered crop damage since the edible part is being damaged.

Typically, leafminers do not need to be managed. If you choose to do something about your leafminers, remember you need to either treat the egg stage or use a systemic to get inside the plant tissue. Be careful of applying systemic products to plants that will be consumed- read the label to see if you can treat the plant you want and also check how many days you need to wait before harvesting. If I choose to do something about leafminers on my plants, which isn't very often....I think their patterns are rather pretty, I'll pick off the infested leaves and dispose of them. A rather simple, no chemical approach, but it works.

This week with BB......

BB weighs almost a pound now and has eyebrows- how exciting! One site I was reading said that other people should be able to feel the baby moving around this week- that's been going on for almost a month now. We're starting to see when BB is moving which is a bit creepy to see my tummy boof out suddenly. BB gets especially wiggly when Alan reads to him/ her at night. All in all, things are progressing wonderfully although putting on my socks and shoes in the morning is becoming a real chore. I'm either going to have to recruit Alan for help or switch to flip flops!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is it a bee? Maybe not.

Have you seen tiny bees frequenting the flowers in your yard? Look closely; those may not be bees. Syrphid flies, also called flower flies or hover flies, can trick the innocent onlooker into thinking that they are bees or wasps. So how can you tell what you really have? Bees and wasps will have two pair of wings while flies have only one pair of wings.

Adult syrphid flies feed on nectar and pollen while the larvae (or immatures) can feed on a wide variety of items depending on species. Some larvae eat decaying plant and animal matter while others feed on insects such as aphids, thrips or mealybugs.