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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

White Hats and Black Hats

As a child in the early 60’s, I would turn the black and white TV on and more often than not, there would be a western on. I instantly knew who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and Jared & Heath Barkley wore white hats and the bad guys all wore black hats (Nick Barkley was kind of a jerk). Nowadays things aren’t so clear. In movies you don’t know who the good guys are or who the bad guys are until the end of the show. In the garden, you may or may not be able to tell who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. For example, in the following photo, it is easy to tell who the good guys are because they are wearing white hats.
This is a horn worm that has been eating my tomatoes – a real bad guy! The white hats are eggs implanted by a parasitic wasp. The larvae from these eggs will kill this horn worm. GO! GO! GO! The Lone Ranger rides again! And there are a whole bunch of Lone Rangers!
Now, check out this guy! Is he a good guy or a bad guy?
 Obviously he is a bad guy because he has spines on his back and he had been eating my raspberry plant with that mean looking mouth.  Not so! He is a good guy – an assassin bug. Look what he is doing in this photo.

He is sucking the guts out of a stink bug that has been eating my raspberries. GO! GO! GO! I feel like I am watching the Roy Rogers rolling around in the dirt with a bad guy, knowing in advance who is going to win the fight. This one of the funnest parts of gardening, watching the good guys battle it out to save my garden from the bad guys and knowing who is going to win.  


Brighthaven Becca said...

We had an assassin bug park itself on top of our beehive one day. I caught it sucking the guts out of one of our honeybees! Yikes! All in all, I love these garden good guys, though. :)


Good bugs. Bad bugs. They all out number me in the garden. I feel like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Dang. What kind of a hat did Davey have on - good guy or bad guy? I think it was road kill.

Furthermore, I have had a life long struggle differentiating between Crockett and Boone. I put the blame squarely on Uncle Walt's shoulders.

daisy g said...

I need some of those assassin bugs. We have tons of stinkbugs here.

David said...

OK, I can't say that I've ever watched the WWE of bugs or the Ultimate Fighting championship of bug battle, but I know that it goes on and the good bugs win if they are there. We all need a hungry assassin or two in our garden. I haven't had too much trouble with bugs but the dreaded squash vine bore. Now that's another story. I just haven't been able to find a way to circumvent the bore. That's doesn't mean I'm giving up. Any body know of a remedy for vine bores?

Have a great day in the garden.

Jennifer said...

This post made me smile.

Once I excitedly called my young kids over to see a praying mantis on the fence. Didn't know it was about to slurp up a daddy long leg's legs like spaghetti noodles. It was a while before we had spaghetti again.

High Desert Chronicles said...

Next year we'll be ready for those menacing stink bugs! It was too late in the season to order praying mantis so next year we'll be ready for them. They have officially taken over our gardens! No amount of homemade garlic oil/dish soap is solving the problem. We'll be armed with lots of radishes planted, praying mantis, nasturtium and could you please send over some assassin bugs and extra parasitic wasps? We have a few, but not enough! LOL Great blog.