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A Resolution Regarding Bugs

box elder bugs
May 18, 2012

Yesterday, while walking past the cabbage bed, I noticed a number of small red bugs scurrying along one side of the insect barrier (Agribon AG-15) that protects the bed. 

As I got down on my knees to examine them, I recalled my Resolution Regarding Bugs: that I must remain entirely objective when I encounter bugs in the garden; that I must not act impulsively in regard to any bug; that I must treat all bugs as innocent until proven guilty; that I must slow down enough to observe them closely; and that I must learn as much as I can about each one of them when it is possible to do so.

It didn’t take long to ascertain that these were box elder bugs, that they were on the outside of the insect barrier, and that there were at least three observable stages of development.

There are a number of box elder trees in the immediate vicinity, so these bugs are a common site.  What I didn’t know until now is that they like orchard trees . . . and, yes, the cabbage bed was set between our two apple trees.

Box elder bugs are more of a nuisance than a threat, certainly no cause for panic.  According to Organic Gardening’s Insectipedia, they may puncture and slightly deform fruits, but the injury is usually minimal.  I can live with that: I have a few punctures myself. I checked the apple trees, but I saw no damage or even any evidence of them.  Unless I find a great number of them in the apple trees, enough to do significant damage, I will simply disregard them.


What a logical "Resolution Regarding Bugs". If only more of us will adopt this resolution instead of calling on the toxic giants to annihilate everything whether beneficial, which most are, or harmful. Thanks. Stay natural, David
Thanks, David. You would be surprised how much this resolution changes your behavior on a daily basis. One would do well to read it each day before heading out to the garden, read it and pause for a few moments before setting foot outside. Best wishes to you, rv
Thank you for the link to Organic Gardening’s Insectipedia. I spent an hour online the other day trying to identify an insect found on my dill. Turns out it's a soldier beetle, which I think I'll let stay - even if it is eating the swallowtail caterpillers!
Boxelder bug nymphs are bright red with black head and wing pads.

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