#FF — Pest

PHOTO PROMPT Β© Miles Rost

Vert prided herself on growing enough fruits and vegetables to sustain her family year-round. She used only organic cultivation methods: deploying companion plantings, diatomaceous earth, ladybugs, and sprays from bottles with neem oil, cayenne pepper, and water to deter even the most persistent pest.

Yet none of it deterred the asparagus beetles, an invasive species, from decimating her juicy Mary Washingtons. Threatening her success and ego, she faced a dilemma of giving up on asparagus or upgrading her arsenal. Choosing Roundup she blasted those effers to oblivion.

Pregnant Hortense, a safe distance away, rubbed her antennae together and waited.

[102 words]

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is the steady host of Friday Fictioneers.

59 Comments Add yours

  1. neilmacdon says:

    It seems her circle values the wrong things

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s a mixed bag. Thank you, Neil.

      Like

  2. One pest’s loss is another’s gain. Nice story

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Neel!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, I see some interesting drama among these ‘neighbors’ in the near future … πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I keep snapping the asparagus off and throwing it in the watery ditch to kill them but a few always jump off before it gets there 😦 Aggravating to say the least!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They is gotta live, too, ya know. … πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I should leave them on and consider them a garnish πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Extra protein. πŸ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael says:

    I find that very fine mesh will stop all but the most determined. Another strategy is to plant a few fall guys to attract 99 out of a 100 pests

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Michael do you wrap the mesh around each one or over the whole patch? It’s just a 10×2 ft area. Don’t they crawl up from the ground? How do you keep them from getting under the mesh? And how do you direct them to the fall guy plants and away from the rest?

      Like

  5. granonine says:

    I Hortense about to eat her fill of her Rounded Up fellow pests? She may need a lawyer when she develops cancer.

    Do bugs have lawyers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      She nibbles on flowers until the poison washes into the groundwater. This is a fictional use of Roundup so the water is safe πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Lisa,

    This sounds like the verge of all out war. Love it.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rochelle, thank you. I go ballistic when I see my beautiful asparagus dotted with bugs 😦
      Shalom,
      Lisa

      Like

  7. jenne49 says:

    I love ‘pregnant Hortense’ rubbing her antennae together. So even Bugs get cravings while waiting to produce more…and more…and more of the beetles! I learned a thing or two about organic gardening and I’m definitely going to try to drop ‘Mary Washingtons’ into a conversation next asparagus season. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Jenne, so glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nobbinmaug says:

    We have that issue with red ants in the yard. We’re hesitant to use poison because of the dogs, but they’re taking over the entire yard. The natural stuff isn’t working.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Have you tried borax (found in laundry aisle of the store in big boxes)? There are several recipes on the net to get rid of them with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nobbinmaug says:

        Hmm… I’ve had a box of that in my laundry room so long it’s become a rock. I’ll have to look into that.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. plaridel says:

    she must be so desperate to use roundup as it’s been proven to cause cancer. but it’s her life i guess. she can do whatever she wants. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I love your comment. As you can see, she will still have the pests and now have cancer as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Those nasty little buggers always find a way to decimate your crop dont they. Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes! I’d never make it as a farmer! Thank you, Mason.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet you’d do well as a farmer and you’d take care of all the creatures too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          πŸ™‚ Thank you

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandra says:

    A story I can identify with. This year’s Asparagus crop has been a nightmare, a stunted, deformed and slow-growing nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Since writing the story I did some research and it says if they are bent or have brown lines running up the stalk they’ve been tampered with by asparagus beetles. Their suggestion is to pick them off by hand and put in soapy water. Clearly not the choice for me as I hate beetles, ants, etc. and would never pick one up, let alone transport it! Sorry they are getting to your crop also, Sandra.

      Like

  12. GHLearner says:

    Uhm, roundup is a herbicide… (unless they sell it as a mixture under that name, too).
    The story is hilarious, the never ending battle of a well-meaning gardener.
    If you need advice on organic pest control, try pyrethrum (not pyrethroids). That kills most insects (the beneficial ones, too) but, if properly diluted, is gone in two days and you need not worry about residues. Take care to not get it into your blood stream or inhale it. Toxic plant extracts can be just as poisonous as the stuff from the lab.
    I treat my house plants (outside) with pyrethrum when pregnant aphids rub their antennae. Sometimes spraying with soapy water already helps, depending on the insects and severeness of infestation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for all of that good advice, Gah. And thanks for the correction on roundup, as you can see I don’t use any of those chemicals in the yard. I have heard of pyrethrum (and BT) and may need to try it. I think these beetles winter over from season to season as every year there are more 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GHLearner says:

        I’m sorry for the lecture. You’re probably right with the over-wintering.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          No worries on the lecture, I welcome the info.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. GHLearner says:

            I was curious to see if they are the same as ours here, so I looked around a bit. This site: https://www.epicgardening.com/asparagus-beetle/ gives a great overview over their life cycle and organic control methods.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              Thank you for the link, Gah. (Sorry for the delay in response, I found your comment in my spam folder.)

              Liked by 1 person

              1. GHLearner says:

                No problem. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

  13. Good story, Jade/Li. I like where you took the prompt. Very creative!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Susan!

      Like

  14. memadtwo says:

    I just had to cut back both my lemon trees because of mealy bugs. What’s left has been thoroughly washed and neem oiled. I hope they will come back. It’s a constant battle. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. James McEwan says:

    A great tale of the ertenal war between man and those pesky wee beasties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks James!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    What do ladybugs do Lisa? I like the story don’t get me wrong…but what do they do?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ladybugs eat pests in the garden. I think they are also non-indigenous, but they have adapted well to this environment without becoming invasive (afaik!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I didn’t know that…thank you!
        I love ladybugs. I remember one year for a week span we had a lady bug invasion in our old house…they stayed mostly on the ceiling and waited a week and they were gone after that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          You’re welcome. They do that here too. They will group up on the side of the house and often get inside where it’s warm. Then, like you said, they just disappear.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Man versus beast, albethey little beasts! I guess they get pretty angry too when deprived of their asparagus!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      πŸ™‚ I bet they do!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Mae Heller says:

    Hortense at the end had me cracking up! Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Mae, and happy to make you laugh.

      Like

  19. I really like the organic arsenal of pest control, and the witty last line – nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Like

  20. subroto says:

    I see you are dealing with the same issues I have. My entire kale crop is decimated. I think I should stick to pan roasted grasshoppers as revenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      LOL I like that idea of revenge.

      Like

  21. Carol anne says:

    Lol! those bugs are real pests! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes they are!

      Like

  22. draliman says:

    It’s a losing battle!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Laurie Bell says:

    Ooooooo another invasion! Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Laurie!

      Like

  24. ahtdoucette says:

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. As someone on constant war with the outdoors (especially bamboo my arch-nemesis in lawn maintenance), I feel her pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You must live in a southern climate where bamboo can survive? Here, grass is my nemesis! I can’t keep it out of my flower and vegetable beds and it grows a dense mat of inpenetrable roots.

      Like

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