Identifying Backyard Bugs
Whitney Cranshaw, professor and Extension specialist at Colorado State University, who's responsible for developing pest management programs for insect pests on horticultural crops, has authored a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the common insects and mites affecting yard and garden plants in North America. Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (Princeton University Press, 2004; $29.95) covers 1,420 insects and includes full-color photos of various life stages as well as concise, clear, scientifically accurate text providing basic information on host plants, characteristic damage caused to plants, distribution, life history, habits, and how to keep the pesky insects in check.
Tool or Gardening Product
If you don't have the time, energy, money, or skills to build a cage to protect berries or other plants from marauding birds, a quick and easy solution is to build a temporary cover with pipe and Build-A-Balls, which are a simplified, adult version of an erector set. About 2 inches in diameter, the green rubber connectors have six holes into which locally purchased pipe or bamboo poles (cut to the desired length) can be inserted at 90-degree angles. The base of the pipe is pushed into the ground. Bird netting can then be draped over the constructed framework. Build-A-Balls are available in sets of six for $13.95 from Gardener's Supply Company, 128 Intervale Road, Burlington, VT 05401, (800) 427-3363; http://www.gardeners.com.