Joe ran into the house, whiffle bat in hand. He took his new role as the bug whacker very seriously
“Bee mosquitos! They’re in the kitchen garden!”
“Slow down Joe,” his mom said patiently. “What is a bee mosquito?”
Jake trudged in after Joe, a worried expression on his face.
“I trapped it in the bug gun.”
He held up the observation attachment on the bug gun. Joe, reminding himself that the scary insect couldn’t get out and took a closer look at the new bug that had him fleeing the garden in, not unreasonable, fear.
Jake quickly transferred it to the observation container (the bug house) and dropped in a few parsley leaves, as that is where they had spotted it.
Joe’s mom took a closer look and smiled.
“It’s only a fly, boys.”
Not convinced, Joe and Jake took a step toward the trapped bug. They both sighed in exasperation. It definitely wasn’t a fly they had seen out in the garden, at least not a common housefly.
“No. That’s not the bug I saw.”
“Me neither,” said Jake.
“I’ll show you.”
Joe sat down at the computer and typed in the characteristics of the bug he had seen flying around perched atop the parsley. Soon, he and Jake were marveling at the number of results that came up.
They looked at all of the pictures, commenting on the bugs they’d seen out in the wild and exclaiming over the ones they had yet to encounter.
After what seemed like hours of research, Joe finally found the bug he was looking for.
“There! That’s what we saw.”
Their mom peered closely at the picture. It’s true, she’d never seen a bug quite like this before and it did look rather scary.
A few more clicks and they found a website dedicated to beneficial bugs, like the tachnid fly.
“They are beneficials!” Jake exclaimed.
Joe read on.
“They eat cutworms and cabbage loopers.”
“And gypsy moth larvae,” added Jake, seeing a picture.
“We definitely could use their help in the back garden,” their mom said.
“Let’s see,” said Joe. “It says here they are attracted by flowers and herbs. Dill is listed at the top.”
Jake looked out at the kitchen garden, smiling in delight.
“We have plenty of dill to attract them, that’s for sure.”
“And the parsley is popping up too,” Joe added.
Joe felt a little silly at his reaction to the harmless fly.
Sensing his embarrassment, Jake patted him on the back.
“I was scared too, Joe.”
With renewed determination, the boys went outside and started their search for more beneficial bugs.