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In the Garden: Visitors with Four to Eight Legs

Plant dill to attract ladybugs and other beneficial insects to your garden.

We’re going to plant dill. Want to know why?

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Dill attracts lots of beneficial insects to your garden. For instance, dill brings in ladybugs, green lacewings, braconid wasps, tachinid flies, hoverflies, mealybug destroyers, and aphid midges.

By planting dill, you can lure beneficial insects to help control aphids, tobacco hornworms, tomato hornworms, whiteflies, leafhoppers, mites, fleas, Colorado potato beetles, cutworms, squash bugs, and some species of mealybugs.

Then, when your cucumbers are ready for harvesting, use the dill for pickling.

And while we’re planting herbs, don’t forget mint. Mint repels less desirable garden visitors such as aphids, cabbage moths, flea beetles, fleas, and ants. There are more than 500 species of mint, including spearmint, pineapple, orange, chocolate (a favorite), lavender, calamint, grapefruit, basil, ginger, pennyroyal, licorice … they will each get the job done.

Melissa of Burnet inquired about more ways to control grasshoppers.

Melissa, you can plant marigolds and zinnias in your garden, which will draw soldier beetles. Soldier beetles prey on grasshopper eggs.

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Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, a local expert on spiders, tells us, “Spiders help keep the ecosystem balanced in our gardens by eating insects, many of which we consider to be pests. There's no reason whatsoever to kill a spider on a web or wandering among your plants. Only the black widow and brown recluse have venom that's considered dangerous but not deadly to humans.”

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Rabies has been confirmed in Burnet. Please, if you see an animal behaving oddly, do not approach it. Rabies infection is not like in the cartoons with a wild animal frothing at the mouth and a neon arrow above. Some odd behaviors might be a nocturnal animal walking about in the middle of the day, a “drunken” walk or wobble, no fear of human contact.

“Any mammal can theoretically be infected with rabies and can therefore transmit the disease to humans if exposure occurs,” according to rabiesalliance.org.

If you suspect an animal is rabid, call Burnet County animal control at (512) 756-6404 or you city animal control office.

Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1.

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at (512) 577-1463 or email him at bill@texasland.net. Contact daughter Martelle Luedecke at (512) 769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com.

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