August Compost Distribution

Kristi’s escarole

Unexpectedly, the compost at the North Bin (the one by the shed) will be ready ahead of schedule. Everyone should feel free to take a pail full beginning August 12. After August 19 the remainder will be available on a first come, first served basis. You’ll find the finished material in the middle bin.

Feel free to continue to donate coffee grounds and kitchen scraps. Some people have started tidying their summer plots. That material is most welcome. All these green materials should go into the short bin on the left.

We will need some brown materials to build the next pile for September distribution. Bags of leaves from local trees are ideal. Please do not donate wood chips or sawdust unless you can absolutely verify that the source does not contain pressure treated wood. Cedar is best avoided as it slows bacterial growth and can stunt the growth of monocots (corn, wheat etc).

Please put donated brown materials BESIDE the bin. We want to be able to see and control what goes into the piles we build so that the end product is safe and of the highest quality. If you are unsure about what materials should NOT go into the system please refer to the list posted on the bin.

Thanks to Mark and Lily for the muscle power!

Beelzebub Bee-eater

Trigger Warning: graphic fly close-ups following Yvonne’s sunflower …

Beelzebub Bee-eaters are the largest flies in North America. One of them decided to visit Patterson Park Community Garden today.

These flies are somewhat common in Central Texas but rarely spotted elsewhere in the US. A tropical storm may have introduced them to our area from Mexico. The first confirmed sighting was in 1917 following the 1916 Texas Hurricane.

Mallophora leschenaulti haltere

The sheer size (4 cm long), furry bits and stripes might fool some but it is definitely a fly diabolically pretending to be a bumblebee.

Flies have two wings; bees have four. The little spur-like thing sticking up near the wing in the picture above is a haltere: a balancing organ that replaces the hindwing found on most insects. It can oscillate and acts a bit like a gyroscope during flight.

Mallophora leschenaulti

These insects are super predators and this one’s behaviour reflected that status. Insects that are herbivores tend to be busy and skittish. This beast was chilling out in Mark’s plot and totally disinterested in photographers.

Beelzebub Bee-eaters do eat bees but they will also attack grasshoppers, wasps, beetles, spiders, and well … any relatively large insect. They inject a venom that kills their prey instantly and then slurp up the insides milkshake style.

Mallophora leschenaulti