[NAFEX] Parasitic wasp forage revisited

Joe and Ellen Hecksel jhecksel at voyager.net
Sun Jun 1 19:41:10 EDT 2003


Hello all:

I just started to see curculio damage here in South-central Michigan.

I left rows of all many hardy vegetable plants; Chinese cabbage, kale, 
tyfon, mustard.  I hoped that many would over winter and provide forage 
for parasitic wasps.  Alas, none survived.  It was a rough winter by our 
standards.  We hit -17F in late November.  We had no snow cover.  The 
few greens that looked like they might be alive were leveled by the bunnies.

The only plants that are robustly blooming in the vegetable garden are 
wild mustard, aka yellow rocket.  I have not seen much bee activity 
around them so I cannot vouch for how effective they are for wasp feed. 
  Also, the are very near the end of their bloom.  So they are finishing 
just as my insect pressure is starting.

Autumn olive is in full bloom.  I see many bumble bees, honey bees and 
butterflies working them.  I see no wee-bitty wasps.

The raspberries are just starting to bloom. BINGO! The first ones to 
open are the wild black ones.  They are VERY heavily worked by bees and 
wasps of all sizes!  Raspberries look like the hot ticket for parasitic 
wasp feed.

I want to ask list members for a favor.  I want to know if there is 
significant differences in length of bloom period between raspberry 
cultivars or in attractiveness to bees.  It will be really cool if we 
can find a cultivar that blooms for three or four weeks.

Optimistically yours, Joe




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