Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
I was going to write an article all about how much I’m loving Fiskar’s new Easy Pour watering can - how the adjustable flow control makes it easy to apply water to my delicate Baby Blue Eyes flowers that always seem to get obliterated by the water flow from my other watering can. About how easy it was for my daughter to hoist a full load of water (2.6 gallons!) without complaining that it’s ‘too heavy’. About how nice the two handles are, making it a cinch to reach those awkward spots without straining my back.
So, I went out to my garden to photograph my daughter with an ‘action shot’ of the watering can, when she screamed, “ewwww…there’s bugs stuck all over my pants!”
End of photo shoot.
Upon closer inspection I saw the bugs – thousands of them. Thanks to the unusually cool temperatures we’ve experienced this spring, my garden is absolutely overrun with sticky icky aphids.
Did I panic? Did I run to grab the nearest chemicals to spray on them? No. Instead I took my daughter on an ‘Easter egg hunt’ of sorts to look for the good bugs that were (hopefully) descending on this smorgasbord of aphids.
Sure enough, we found what we were looking for – ladybugs! Ladybugs fall into the category of ‘Beneficial Insects’, meaning they’re the good bugs that eat the bad bugs. If I were to just grab the nearest ‘death in a spray bottle’, I’d not only kill the aphids but I’d kill the good bugs as well. Bad idea.
Did you know that less than 3% of the insects in the world are harmful? Most are beneficial and help control the bad bugs while pollinating flowers and improving your soil by decomposing organic matter.
Look a little closer and you might get lucky and find ladybug larvae. They look like orange and black alligators.
As we continued our hunt, we found a Soldier Beetle (the cool looking, rectangular black and orange bug) – another wonderful beneficial insect.
Between ladybugs and soldier beetles, I knew my aphid problem would be under control soon.
And if not, I could always squirt the heavily infested stems with a few strong blasts of water. Did you know that once aphids are knocked down to the ground they can’t climb back up? And if that doesn’t work, I could also use a home remedy of 2 tsp. of mild dish or laundry soap mixed with a squirt bottle filled with lukewarm water. Sprayed weekly this mixture causes the aphids to dehydrate by washing off their protective waxy coating.
One of my very favorite beneficial insects is the praying mantis. Unfortunately, we rarely see them in my area. However, a trip to the nursery is all we need since many sell praying mantis. Keep these little nests in a warm location in the house (in a plastic terrarium – not loose!) In a few weeks you’ll notice them bursting out of their cozy home.
Quickly put them outside, as they’re absolutely voracious when they emerge. If you can find an aphid-covered rosebush, or some other such ‘buffet’, they will start feasting immediately!
Praying mantis are somewhat territorial so you’ll most likely see the same one throughout the summer, hanging around its favorite plant. They quickly grow from this teeny-tiny size to a whopping 4 – 5 inches.
So next time you’re in the garden and you spot the ‘bad bugs’, take a moment to see if you can find the ‘good bugs’. They usually go hand in hand!