Aug. 18 column

Here is a link to my column in today's edition of The Spokesman-Review: Be prepared when insects invade. As you can guess, the topic is dealing with insects in the garden. In it, I list many ways to address insect problems in an organic manner.

It's so important to be able to identify insects in your garden because many of them are beneficial so naturally you want them to do their thing. In the photo above, you can see a black-and-orange ladybug larva. You can also see there are a lot of aphids on the underside of the leaf (click on the photo to view a larger image) and that ladybug larva is having a fine feast of them. The larva might look like an insect you'd want to get rid of, but these guys are definitely worth having a lot of in our gardens.

One thing I didn't have room to put in my column was to mention a reference book that I frequently use for insect ID. The title is "Garden Insects of North America" (Princeton University Press, 656 pages, $29.95) and it is excellent. It offers the reader several different ways to pin down the identity of an insect and there are a lot of fabulous photos that are very helpful. I reviewed the book this spring. Here is a link to the review in case you'd like to know more about the book.

I do hope, though, that your garden is doing well and that insects are not a problem for you!