Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the latest pest to plague our organic gardening efforts: the harliquin bug. (Forgive the picture quality, it was taken by a five year old.)
This little pest loves plants like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. We first noticed them a week and a half ago, but I didn’t think much of them. A few days later, they had multiplied and were covering our brussels sprouts. A day or two later, the brussels sprouts were wilting and the tops were dying. I decided it was time to engage in combat.
My first effort was insecticidal soap spray. This is supposed to be effective against these bugs, but spray as I did, I think only 1/4 of them died within a few days. These little stinkers started to nag at me. I was not about to lose our garden to some bugs! But, I wasn’t going to spray pesticides either, so I was at a loss.
Then I had a dream one night about some friends from high school visiting me and helping me pick off the bugs and put them in soapy water. The next day, I went out and picked at least 150 bugs off the plants. The kids held the soapy water buckets. Two days later, I went out and picked bugs again, this time there were far fewer. The next day, I pulled all the plants that were covered in eggs and threw them out.
I was sad to lose my brussels sprouts just as they were starting to make some beautiful baby sprouts. I managed to salvage two cauliflower plants by pulling off only the leaves with eggs on them. The broccoli was covered, so it was pulled out, too. (Though we weren’t as sad about that since we have been eating more broccoli than Thomas can handle these days.) And it seems to be under control for the time being. The bugs will move on to peppers, beans and tomato plants if there are none of their favorites left around, so I must remain vigilant. And just to show that I did almost have some brussels sprouts:
All this has had me hoping more in Jesus. These little pests are just another result of sin in our world, which reminds me of how much I need God’s grace through Jesus and gets me longing for a day when there is no more sin, death or pain. Nice little reminders from a bug, which makes it worthy of a blog post.