Relax folks. This is not a rant trying to scare you into voting for any particular candidate. It's more in the vein of frustration over a pest I've fought a losing battle against for a number of years now. The HATED Northern Corn Rootworm beetle. This is their story.
I've pretty much given up on flowers that require a lot of sun or bloom in late summer. The first reason is that the yard surrounding our new house has a lot of oak trees. The second reason is that the El Qaida of the cornfields emerges in late August to do its dirty work on my flower gardens. I do, however, have a few sunny spots, such as the circle garden I planted with zinnias this year.Northern Corn Rootworm beetle
Biology: In general, the female lays eggs in the soil which hatch into larvae. Corn fields are especially preferred. All the larvae feed on roots and other organic materials in the soil. Eventually, the larvae pupate, emerge as adults and begin eating the corn silks. Northern corn rootworm adults also feed on reproductive tissues of the corn plant, but rarely feed on corn leaves. Northern corn rootworm adults are more likely than western corn rootworm adults to abandon corn and seek pollen or flowers of other plants as corn matures (Wright).
In plain language, from the corn field they can migrate into your garden and begin looking for other victims. The Beetle just likes to nestle in your blooms chomping away at the petals!
Control: Atrazine and a variety of other chemicals is used to control the pest in the fields. However, a narrow band is sprayed, which protects the roots but leaves much of the soil available for rootworm reproduction. For the nearby gardener this means a future horde will be ready, willing and able to attack in late summer and early fall.
I know a picture is worth a thousand words but the one I took of my zinnia patch last week is just too ugly to foist on anyone. The flowers were utterly destroyed and even the buds of newly emerging flowers are under attack. In years long past, I tried to counter-attack with chemicals. Even on a daily basis that proved largely ineffective. Today, I am of the opinion that there are just too many chemicals (especially for agricultural purposes) in our environment anyway. That's a subject for another time though.