Friday Report: I’ll take one black mamba aphid viper, please
August 23, 2013
Monday afternoon, as I pulled in the drive I saw my wife standing out front in the garden in a pose not unlike Cat Woman hacking up a hairball in the petunias.
I hastily parked and ran to her aid. She was fine, "I just ate a bunch of aphids," she explained.
Relieved, I was half-way to the car before I paused, looked back over my shoulder and asked, "Why were you eating aphids?"
"I wasn't eating anything," she paused to spit a couple more times, "a bunch of aphids flew into my mouth. You have to do something about them!"
"I dunno," I said, "insects are more nutritious than fish. A hundred grams of cow has less than 30 grams of protein and more than 20 grams of fat, while that much grasshopper has 20 grams of protein and less than 6 grams of fat."
Her scowl deepened, "I'll catch a bunch of grasshoppers and put them on your side of the casserole and chicken on mine and then we'll take a bet on who lives longer."
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"Just so you're aware," I said undaunted, "farmed insects produce 10 times less greenhouse gas than raising cows."
"If you keep this up, I will definitely outlive you."
"Hello," I said, "your garden is located smack in the middle of that agricultural zone that Earth Scientists have technically named, 'outdoors.' We could carpet bomb with DDT, but they outlawed it back in 1972."
"Martha says aphids can be controlled with ladybugs."
"Martha?" I said, "Do you mean Martha 'Felon' Stewart? However did she find time in prison to learn gardening among all the rest of her gang activities?"
"One ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids during their lives, Martha says."
"Our backyard pigeons can eat 50,000 ladybugs per hour, Jon says."
By this time the frown no longer resembled a smile turned upside-down and the rest of the conversation left no doubt in her mind that I should care more about the aphid infestation.
At the nursery counter I asked, "I need to clear my backyard of aphids, but seriously, are ladybugs the best you got? That's a sissy-sounding creature for the manly task of species eradication. Have you anything more sinister-sounding, like a black mamba aphid viper?"
"Okay, then I'll take a dozen of your hungriest ladybugs, please."
"They come 2,000 to a pack. Where are you using them?"
"My wife," I explained confidentially, "has aphids in her garden and she got a prison tip that ladybugs will rub 'em out."
"Outdoors?" he asked, "They're not as effective there."
"They're beetles, they fly away."
So, to my wife's delight, I returned home with bags and bags of ladybugs which she promptly sprinkled over her aphid-laden garden. Stop by and chat with her about the experience and the two of you can exchange prison-yard gang signs she's learned from Martha.
No problem picking out our house; it's the one swarming with pigeons.