Beetle and the Bark
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The Kerby's Nursery E-Newsletter
October 28, 2021
Upcoming Events  |   Beneficial Insects  |   New Arrivals   |   Now Hiring
Beetle and the Bark
by Joey Bokor

My original plan was to title this newsletter 'My Dog Pooped on the Patio', but Kim told me that was not a classy way to open the Kerby's newsletter. So, instead I saved it for the first line. As Jim from The Office would say, that is déclassé.

Anyhow, it really starts with a little beetle. Kim and I were eating lunch on a regular old Monday, when we noticed our dog, Pearl, taking an interest in movement on the pool deck. She's always on the hunt for lizards, so we figured that she had finally managed to capture one. But instead, she was nipping and snipping at a little beetle, not much larger than the size of a dime. Kim called her away to try to get her to let the beetle be, when suddenly the beetle starts moving a mass of something twice the size of itself. (If you click the image, you can watch a quick video.)

And then we realized that it was actually a beetle rolling a piece of dog poop across the deck. Sort of gross and mesmerizing all at the same time. This beetle worked hard and managed to move its load a good six feet before reaching the pool screen. What it planned on doing after that, we have no idea. I have definitely heard of dung beetles, but I didn't realize that we had them in Florida. This one appears to be Peltotrupes profundus or the Florida Deep Digger Scarab Beetle. They can dig holes up to ten feet deep and the good news is that they don't harm plants or lawns.

So, while we aren't thrilled that the dog pooped on the patio, I would never have learned about this kind of beetle if she hadn't. So, thanks Pearl, I guess, but, next time, let's take your business outside.

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

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Beneficial Insects

Bugs are everywhere, with over 100,000 different species found in the United States. That might give you the heebie-jeebies, but would it make you feel better to know that less than one percent of those bugs are harmful to plants. There are actually far more beneficial insects that work for us rather than against us. Some of the ones you might find in your garden are described below. So, the next time you're going to spray your garden or squash a bug, check to see if it is actually doing some good first.

Ladybugs - I'll start with the most well-known beneficial insect, the ladybug or ladybird beetle. These pretty little bugs bring good luck if they land on you, but also have a voracious appetite for aphids, whiteflies, and mites.

Lacewings - This is a lesser-known beneficial insect, but it is another bug with a huge appetite for aphids, scales, and whiteflies. Female lacewings will lay eggs near an aphid colony to make sure there is food for the soon-to-hatch larvae.

Assassin Bugs - If you see this insect, it might scare you a little, and not just because of its name. They are fearful looking creatures. But, rather than squashing them, let them feed on their diet of aphids, flies, worms, and more. There is even a Milkweed Assassin Bug, which mimics the orange and black milkweed bug and eats lots of the aphids that plague our milkweed in the summer months.

Dragonflies - Not only can you find this larger bug in a variety of colors, but they have a favorite food that you're going to love, mosquitos. Each dragonfly will eat a huge number of mosquitos each day, which is probably why you find dragonflies near water sources. When you see them flying around, know they are there helping to keep your yard free of biting pests.

Bees - I don't have to tell you that bees are beneficial. Without bees, we wouldn't have fruits and vegetables to eat, as they are one of the primary pollinators. And flowers wouldn't be as pretty, since all of those lovely colors and petals are there for one reason - to attract more pollinators.

Butterflies - One of our favorite bugs, they are big, beautiful and their metamorphosis is a miracle of nature. While they won't feed on pests in your yard, they are also an incidental pollinator of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

Praying Mantis - These larger insects are rarely seen, since they are so good at camouflaging themselves in trees and bushes, but rest assured, they are busy being the insectivores that they are. Over their lifetimes (usually 8 to 9 months) they can easily eat up to 1000 bugs of various sorts, including flies, beetles, moths, and small grasshoppers.

Spiders - Fear of spiders always tops the list of common phobias, but there is nothing to be afraid of. And while technically an arachnid and not an insect, they are dedicated to eating the insects that stumble upon their webs.

So, the next time your are wandering your garden, look to see how many beneficial insects you can find. The more you see, the healthier your garden.
New Arrivals
Amaryllis Bulbs

Beautiful Blooming Bulbs
Giant Size - $23
Strawberry Plants

Can you taste the shortcake?
4" Pot - $3.99


Great Cool-Weather Color
6" Pot - $7.99

Send a living gift to your favorite plant person anywhere in the lower 48 states from the Kerby's online houseplant shop. New plants added every Thursday at noon.


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Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours

Monday - Saturday
9am - 5:30pm
11am - 4pm