If you’re a gardener with chewed leaves, you might just benefit from tonight’s supermoon. Nightly, there are various insects that come out to play as the sun goes down. Much to any gardener’s dismay, once that happens many of them like to munch on the leaves of favorite plants. Then the sun comes up, and those pests aren’t anywhere to be seen, but the damage they’ve done is very visible. Rather than dousing your plants with poison, greener options need to be sought. Attempts to locate the pests in question usually fail, because humans can’t see in the dark. This means any search must be done with the help of a flashlight. However, once the insects see that bright light go on, they scatter like little thieves, trying to evade a police search light.
That’s where tonight’s supermoon might come in handy with finding that green option you’ve been searching for. Also called a Harvest Moon, tonight’s celestial event is supposed to produce enough light to work outside by. This is not to say that it will be as bright as when the sun is actually up during the day, but it will provide considerably more light than typically seen at night. Now, at the height of the event the light will be reduced due to the lunar eclipse (which is what will cause that ‘Blood Moon’ effect), but since you’ll already be out, you can take advantage of that viewing opportunity too.
With this extra light abundance (outside of the peak eclipse time) you can start your pest search without the use of a flashlight (at least initially). Smaller pest might still be too small to see, but the larger ones should now be visible. Start looking all around the outside, and base of, your chewed on plants. Begin with an overall survey, but then proceed to turning over leaves, and searching toward the center stem (just like you would during the day, but try not make a lot of noise while you’re doing it). Also, try not to shake the plant too much either. Knocking off pests before you can see them won’t help eliminate the problem, as they’ll just come back later (plus you don’t want to break the plant unnecessarily).
Once you’ve found the pests in question then you can decide how best to proceed. If they’re worms/caterpillars, then remove the ones you find by hand, and step on them (away from the plant though, so no potential escapees can possible make their way back on the plant). At this point you can probably use your flashlight again, as these pest typically can’t get away fast. However, if you’ve found other insects such as grasshoppers, or anything that flies, leave the flashlight off, and don’t try to catch/kill them. You might be able to scare them away for a while, but the real benefit of finding them is in the identification.
Now that you know what pest(s) you’re dealing with, you can more effectively mount a defense. Go to your local gardening center armed with your new knowledge, and ask for advice as to which Green/Organic options you have. Not all pests need to be dealt with in the same way, and in some cases you may not even be looking for a substance to put on the plant at all. For example, snails and slugs can be dealt with by putting copper tape around the base of your pots. However, until you see which enemy you’re dealing with exactly, you won’t know for sure.
According to several news reports, including one in yesterday’s Press Enterprise, the supermoon/blood moon should hit its peak around 7:48 pm. However, the entire event could start at sundown, and continue until about 10:00 or 10:30 pm. Before and after the peak, you should get that harvest moon effect. Although it won’t be as bright, you may still get some of the same benefit on Monday night, around the same times, as well. Happy bug hunting, just make sure you don’t hurt any of the beneficial bugs that are living out there as well (remember, ladybugs are your friend). The next Supermoon should take place in October, but that one won’t include a lunar eclipse.