Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beneficial Bugs: Tachinid Flies

Order: Diptera. Family: Tachinidae

Large flies that are good against caterpillars. Ranging from 1/8 – 1/2 inch in size with coarse bristles covering their abdomens. They look similar to houseflies but are more of a mottled black, gray or brown instead of brightly colored. The adults feed on flower nectar, it’s the larvae that prey on caterpillars, beetles, borers, stink bugs, sawflies and a variety of insects.

Female tachinid lies lay their eggs on the bodies of their hosts or where the hosts feed. When the eggs mature they kill the host. They then drop off and pupate in the soil.

To attract these flies, try spearmint, dill or tansy to attract adults.

Companion Planting: Castor Bean

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Castor BeanCastor Bean.

Experiments show that castor beans will repel moles if planted around a garden. They are also a good mosquito repellent. Be careful when using this plant however as all parts of it are extremely poisonous to livestock and humans. Just 2-3 seeds ingested by a child can cause death.

Castor bean plants can get quite tall, up to 8 feet, and there are many varieties. Some have a beautiful fall foliage.

If using it to repel moles, plant them every 5-6 feet around the perimeter of the garden.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Companion Planting: Borage.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

borageBorage (Boraginaceae).

Also known as starflower, this flowering herb can grow the size of a small bush with some compost mixed into the soil and regular watering, and if it does, it will be covered with blossoms and honeybees. A perfect example is the photo to the right.

The flowers are edible and have a slightly cucumber flavor that can be added to salads or squash dishes. Borage is high in potassium, calcium and other minerals. It’s also fairly high in vitamin C.

The seeds are used to make borage oil, one of the highest sources of Gamma-linolenic acid or omega 6 oils, however, you would need a great many plants to get enough seeds to make your own oil.

If you want to keep honeybees around, this annual herb is one of their favorites.

For full articles on Gardening not shown on this blog, go to our Garden Circkles Page.

Beneficial Insects: Ground Beetles.

ground-beetleOrder: Coleoptera. Family: Carabidae
Average Size: 1/8″ to 1″.

Ground beetles are usually found under rocks or other debris in gardens, fields and woods. You will also find them under a compost pile quite often. When disturbed they may give off a foul odor. They feed on other ground-dwelling larvae and insect eggs, but are partial to cutworms, gypsy moth larvae and root maggots.

The adults have a blue-black or dark brown hard outer shell with a bronze or green metallic sheen to it at times. To attract ground beetles, plant white clover as a ground cover or put down some stone or paving bricks as a path for them to hide under.

For full articles on Gardening not shown on this blog, go to our Garden Circkles Page.