Monday, July 30, 2012

Texas Bug Book, by Howard Garrett & Malcolm Beck

This is an essential reference text for anyone who lives in Texas and not in a city apartment.   In fact, there's no particular need to limit the readership to Texas residents, because there are two very appealing aspects to this book.    First, there is a encyclopedic list of Texas bugs, their impact (are they beneficial to gardens or trees, or dangerous) and how to control them (without chemical poisons!).   Second, the book is full of terrific anecdotes about experiences with bugs, plantings, trees and what not.   It is that latter part that will amuse and inform no matter where you live.

A theme running through this book is the avoidance of chemical treatments for plants, trees or insects.   Instead, natural, organic treatments are proposed (with instructions for mixing them). 

This is a good example of the value of all the side bar stories in the book.   If you just paged through to find a currently annoying bug, and saw instructions to leave it alone or for an organic control approach (which often is introducing yet another bug!), you might be skeptical.   But once you get a feel for the incredible long term value of an organic and holistic approach to managing pests, the advice makes much more sense.

This book is just plain fun, whether you're looking up that bug you saw on the porch, or trying to figure out if the wasps near the tomatoes are a problem (they are not!), or even if you skip the bug photos and descriptions and just read the stories.

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