Spending Time in Beetle World

shiny bug in leaves and among weeds

My spouse bought Spectracide to kill some weeds along the foundation of the house. He (and apparently some former owners) had been trying to keep them under control by string trimming, but that was damaging the siding, so he planned to pour the herbicide on the plants to kill them (for a month or so, then repeat).

Not wanting to chance diquat or Dicamba – dimethylamine salt (neurotoxins) possibly released into the ground water (unlikely but it’s happened), and really not wanting to cause any more disturbance than necessary to nature’s plans as far as plant-worm-spider-insect-soil interaction goes, I suggested other means:  pouring vinegar on the leaves; sheet mulching the area to smother the weeds –  but the areas in question need to be open to drain water ; adding more gravel and rocks in the area, a smothering attempt that allows drainage; adding sand, again to smother and allow drainage; and good old-fashioned weeding.. He also suggested Burnout II, a primarily clove soap product that seems to work OK with annuals but not perennials, which these weeds are.

He is returning the herbicide and I have started weeding out by the roots the offending plants, which are growing right at the foundation of the house on at least three sides and provide too lush and too near-the-house a habitat for mice and voles. We may add more rocks and/or sand after the weeds are removed.

These are before and after shots of one section, along with a picture of a beetle I saw many of — but no pics of the many, many spiders I encountered, all scurrying away from my metal tools. I hope I didn’t hurt anyone, except some weeds, most of which I could not identify.

I’ve also included a photo of the two hand tools I used — a fishtail weeder and a Japanese garden hoe — which are those that I use most commonly in the garden, other than a large shovel and a pick axe:

ready to weed
ready to weed
weeded this section!
weeded this section!
shiny bug in leaves and among weeds
shiny bug in leaves and among weeds
fishtail weeder and Japanese garden hoe
Japanese garden hoe and fishtail weeder

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