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Horsemint wasp frenzy!

 
Posts: 166
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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I'm pretty new to all this, but this year I ordered some horsemint seeds, not knowing what horsemint was. I can tell you that I am majorly thrilled with this stuff. My one horsemint plant is attracting a gazillion wasps, at least four different varieties, but as far as I can tell these are good wasps. At first I was afraid they were baldfaced hornets, but they are not. I think most of them are scoliid wasps. It seems one type will come and feed for a while, then they go away and another type will come and feed. They are CRAZY all over this horsemint!

So I was delighted to discover this: "Scoliid wasps are solitary parasitoids of scarab beetle larvae. Female scoliids burrow into the ground in search of these larvae and then use their sting to paralyze them. They will sometimes excavate a chamber and move the paralyzed beetle larva into it before depositing an egg. Scoliid wasps act as important biocontrol agents, as many of the beetles they parasitize are pests, including the Japanese beetle."

And there I thought the milky spore disease I put out last year was working a whole lot better than expected! I really like this horsemint stuff, too. A funky, shaggy, casual-looking plant. I'm definitely planting more.

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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Really great info, thanks for sharing this Diane!

I've been looking at plants to attract beneficial insects, I'll have to add this to the list!

I've got way too many happy Japanese beetles in my yard.
 
Steve Thorn
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What time of year did you plant them Diane, and what type of location did they like growing in?
 
Diane Kistner
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Steve Thorn wrote:What time of year did you plant them Diane, and what type of location did they like growing in?



I wasn't paying much attention, but I suspect they started out as a winter-sowing effort in December in a little raised bed beside my pond that I thought was a failure. I'd dumped all the potting soil out of the milk carton containers into the bed after some of the containers sprouted in a warm spell, then died. I wound up with a number of milkweed plants sprouting in the spring that I moved to the edge of my forest garden area, and then after I had dug those out, the horsemint came up and just took off. It's got a bigger-than-pencil-thick trunk on it now. Fast growth, once it started. I'm going to move it somewhere better once it gets cooler here.

I have the best success with things when I just throw stuff out there and see what comes up, it seems.

 
Steve Thorn
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Diane Kistner wrote:I wasn't paying much attention, but I suspect they started out as a winter-sowing effort in December in a little raised bed beside my pond that I thought was a failure. I'd dumped all the potting soil out of the milk carton containers into the bed after some of the containers sprouted in a warm spell, then died. I wound up with a number of milkweed plants sprouting in the spring that I moved to the edge of my forest garden area, and then after I had dug those out, the horsemint came up and just took off. It's got a bigger-than-pencil-thick trunk on it now. Fast growth, once it started. I'm going to move it somewhere better once it gets cooler here.



Very neat!

I have the best success with things when I just throw stuff out there and see what comes up, it seems.



Yeah me too.
 
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