Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More junk science from the Fringe, love bugs.

Spiders make meadows grow by increasing fear.  ???  Grasshoppers eat all types of plants in these meadows, unchecked they sometimes harm, even destroy them.  Where spiders are prevalent plants grow more and have overall better health.  It's more complex than just the spiders eat grasshoppers, reducing the number of grazing insects.  The real benefit is they make grasshoppers wary, hoppers spend more time exercising their survival instinct, on alert and moving from area to area.  Grasshopper in the vicinity of spiders consume less, but even more importantly they eat less at one place or on one plant.  Like pruning for higher fruit production, if done in small amounts it actually stimulates the plant to add growth and fruit, if overdone the plant suffers.  Taken further, if sprayed for pests, the resident spiders are killed, grasshoppers are nomads.  Killing the defenders the chemicals actually deliver a safe grazing meadow for the new hoppers, without predators they do terrible damage.  If noticed the farmer or gardner may spray again, now we poisoned our food source twice with little benefit.
I have read that organic grape (wine) farms are crawling with spiders, they even bring in certain types to get started.  Likewise, the best defense against bugs in your house are spiders outside it, do not run around spraying spiders on your eves or foundation, these guys are catching critters that will get in otherwise.  Right now a huge spider has a web high over the front door sidewalk from the eve to a red leaf maple, almost every morning he is wrapping up some flies and moths when I go out for the paper.

This same scientific exercise was observed to work the same with elk and wolf, elk spend less time eating a meadow to the ground and more time watching and walking about if wolf are in the area.  Who would have thought predators help the health of meadows.  Don't panic hunters, the elks weight stayed about the same, they still eat enough, just cut back on the binge grazing.

Ants running up and down your downspout, resist spraying them.  Termites and ants are not friends, a healthy population of ants around the foundation discourages termites.

As for bug spray, Lowes has sprays made from lemon grass and one from spearment and chilis.  They kill most bugs fast and they are not poison to us or pets.  Yes I spray bugs, but rarely, and never with chemicals, just these things.  If you like to watch stuff die, squirt lemon grass oil on a spider and watch, drop, run, die, as fast as black flag.


  1. I have read that organic grape (wine) farms are crawling with spiders, they even bring in certain types to get started.
    But spiders won't keep deer from eating the grape plants. We got a few grape vines this year and the deer have been eating some of the new growth and grapes.

    When we lived in Hot-Lanta we discovered a product for killing roaches that was made from soybean oil. Hit the roach with it and they turned over and died with their little feet in the air. Then figured out that a spray cleamer with bleach did the same job of killing roaches. And when you wiped it up, the area was clean!!

    1. Kulkuri,your grape problem has only half the cure, easy to fix, besides the spiders you need to add wolves. Great name for a wine, "Spider and Wolf", or "Wolf Spider".

  2. My first thought when I read about the spiders and grasshoppers was, wow, just like the wolves and the elk in Yellowstone but on a micro scale. I was thinking before I even got to your paragraph where you mention them. They've found in Yellowstone that when the elk move around more, the vegetation along stream banks comes back, erosion is reduced, and other animals (like beaver and otter) come back too. The wolves turned the park into a healthier ecosystem.

    People bitch about the wolves around where we live because they pick off an occasional dog (wolves ate the neighbor's pit bull; I figure any animal dumb enough to pick a fight with a timber wolf deserves to be lunch) and are "destroying" the deer herds. The reality, of course, is that with wolves around deer are less likely to hang out indefinitely at illegal bait piles, and that's what's really got the hunters ticked off.

    Verification is being a pain this morning. Had to try three times before it showed an actual image.

    1. Nan, I think you and I read the same type of things. My info about wolf and elk came from a study done in Yellowstone, and I had forgotten what you mention, that beaver increased which increased water (beaver ponds) which increase fish and food for eagles and it goes on and on what the benefit of wolf is. The wolf also puts pressure on coyote which takes pressure off some species, I wish I could recall which one.


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