How to Identify Garden Insects

Stay on Full Alert for the Pests of Summer

Picture the gardener who can’t go out to work in the garden any time he wants This gardener has to wait until the mosquitoes, deer flies, wasps and other biters are inactive. Mostly, he has to garden in the heat of the day when the mosquitoes aren’t around rather than the cool of HIP evening when they are. This gardener doesn’t have the choice of wearing shorts and tank tops and getting a nice tan at the same time he has to be covered when gardening to avoid bug bites.

And there’s more to haul out to the petunia bed than just a trowel and watering tan. He goes nowhere without Yard Guard and Deep Woods, and he always smells like insect repellent. A hat? He always wears one Sandals? Never.

Life in the summer garden is not easy if you are the person pictured above. For people who live in heavily-wooded areas or near ponds or sloughs, insects are a fact of life. Summers demand an electric bug Zapper.

But even if you don’t live near the woods or waters, insects that attack people are a force to be reckoned with. Some people – many of them totally unaware – have lives that are 20 minutes away from death at any given time. They are extremely allergic to bee stings.


Case in point. A man at a Milwaukee beach with his girlfriend enjoying the sun and Lake Michigan water, was drinking a can of pop when a bee landed on the can’s mouth opening. The bee crawled inside the lip of the opening and he took a swallow. The man, who never even knew he was allergic to bee stings died within minutes when his breathing was cut off from the swelling. If you swell unduly and suffer discomfort from ordinary mosquito bites, you may also be allergic to bee or wasp stings. If are bitten by a bee this summer, and the area starts to swell, don’t hesitate to rush to the nearest emergency room.

If it turns out you are allergic to garden bees and wasps wear a Medic Alert chain around your neck (You may not be able to talk in the next emergency to tell medics what is wrong with you. Bee stings affect the allergic person’s ability to breath. I know because I’m one of them. Additionally, your doctor will give you a prescription for a bee sting kit, to be purchased at your pharmacy. It contains antihistamine, adrenalin and a hypodermic needle for emergency use. It may save your life someday. It has saved mine.

While many people are afraid of bees because they sting, they don’t attack unless they are frightened, hurt or then hive is threatened. If you walk across a field of blooming clover in your bare feet and step on a bee, you’re inviting a sting. If you leave snow shovels leaning against the garage until midsummer, chances are that in removing the shovel, you may rip apart a wasp’s nest.

And beware off old straw piles, too. You may need a little straw to cover a newly-seeded lawn, but old straw attracts ground bees. Be aware to the dangers that lurk in the seemingly-harmless garden and enjoy a safe summer by staying one step ahead of the pest problems.

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