Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I love to see dragonflies.  There are many times I see them when I'm out in the garden.


Sometimes I will see a swarm of them.  Why do I consider them "The Good"?  They eat mosquitoes, ants, and termites.  If you want more information on dragonflies, check out my post HERE.


This creature is considered "The Bad" by most gardeners.  Grasshoppers have five eyes and no ears.  Yet they can still hear, thanks to some strange organ on their stomachs!  There are thousands of different species of grasshoppers, and can be found around the world, except at the North and South Poles.  The locust is a type of grasshopper.  Grasshoppers eat about one-half their body weight every day. In areas of high infestation, they've been known to eat the paint off of buildings!  If only we could teach the grasshoppers to eat just weeds, they would go from being considered The Bad to being The Good!


This particular grasshopper is the Obscure Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca obscura).  It was as long as one of my fingers!  I don't think I've ever seen a grasshopper as big as this one.  And there were several on this plant!  One of the most interesting facts I read about grasshoppers was that some people claim to be able to determine the temperature with a grasshopper.  If you count the number of chirps for 15 seconds, and add 39, that is supposedly the temperature in Fahrenheit degrees.  Maybe I'll give that a try!


Finally, The Ugly:  Black widow spiders are considered the most poisonous spider in North America.  We have tried for years to eliminate our population of black widow spiders here, but we still find them quite regularly.  Black widows lay around 300 to 400 eggs per cocoon, and lay about four cocoons every summer.  I guess that's why we have never totally eliminated them.


I'm certain the male black widow spiders don't think the females are ugly.  But little do they know that she may make a meal of them!




 

62 comments:

  1. Holley, you have to care with the bad and ugly insects. I love your new photo at the head, very lovely roses!

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    1. I am very careful with the spiders. I usually let them live, except the black widows! Those I kill. Well, actually I call my husband, and he kills them! :)

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  2. Agreed on the good, bad and ugly. Funny to see how those same 3 attributes are in people, relationships, etc. The last caption says volumes more than any sad country song could ever!!

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    1. I never thought about those being in relationships, etc. I'm now going to start looking for that! Funny about the country song! I bet the male black widows could write a hit!

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  3. Love the Dragonfly. You know I rarely get them here. Love to have more coming by for a visit. Thankfully don't get many grasshoppers either. Great pictures!

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I would be very glad if we didn't get grasshoppers. Usually we just get a lot of little ones. The one pictured above was giant! I hope he moves along, and doesn't reproduce!

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  4. I wish you could just get the dragon flies with out grasshoppers. Unfortunately they seem to go hand in hand. Great photos! Cheers, Jenni

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    1. I was hoping the grasshopper population would be down this year, but they seem to have grown in size instead! I was almost afraid of the one pictured. I couldn't believe how large it was!

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  5. I'd love to see your header rose in person. It must be a stunner. Some interesting facts about insects on here. Those grasshppers are really something else.

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    1. I think the fog in the background of the rose picture really sets it off. It gives it kind of a dream-like quality.

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  6. a very informative post...those spiders are scary!

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    1. They are very scary. Those and the brown recluse spiders. I wish both of them would just go away!

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  7. I'm happy we don't have spiders like that here in Finland. Our grasshoppers are quite harmless too.

    Satu

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    1. I wish our grasshoppers were harmless. Maybe they don't hurt people, but they destroy our plants. Thankfully, I have harvested most of my vegetables already. Maybe they'll move along, looking for somewhere else to eat!

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  8. Love your bugs (and spiders). One of my favorite NPR Car Talk segments was when a woman called in to say her car had been stolen and recovered full of black widow spiders. It was hysterical.

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    1. Oh, my goodness! I can't even imagine! I bet that was a funny tale, but I would not have wanted to have been that woman!

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  9. What an interesting post! I never imagined that grasshoppers hear with their stomachs! We also have black widow spiders here, though thankfully we rarely see them. We also have a few dragonflies; I wish we had more!

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    1. The insect world is truly diverse and interesting. It's amazing the differences in the animal world!

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  10. I love dragonflies but I'm not a friend of big grasshoppers. They'll devour a plant in a day. I've seen black widows here, too, and step on them if I can.

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    1. I don't like seeing the grasshoppers, either. Although I usually see a few (or multitudes) every year. This was the first time I've ever seen those big grasshoppers, though!

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  11. Replies
    1. Thanks, Marcia. I was ready for a change.

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  12. I love your new blog look also, Holley.... I enjoy dragonflies --but not grasshoppers and definitely not spiders.... Yipes!!!! Right now, our biggest enemies are the Japanese Beetles....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, thankfully we don't have the Japanese Beetles here. And hopefully they won't ever get here!

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  13. I love the new header image Holly!!
    Great photos of the 'hoppers, spider and the dragonfly!

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    1. Thanks, Christine. I was a bit reluctant to take a picture of the grasshopper and the spider. I was worried they might jump on me!

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  14. a fascinating and rather funny post too though obviously there is a serious side to sharing space with the black widows. Thought grasshoppers only ate grass - they are always welcome in the gardens here residing in rough patches or bush. You should be able to tell the species of grasshopper by the sounds they make as they all have a slightly different arrangement of pegs on their legs!

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    1. I didn't know about the different sounds of the grasshoppers. I usually don't notice their sound - I see them jumping as I walk through the grass!

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  15. Wow - you have changed your look - very nice!! I did not know that dragonflies eat ants! Thats good news!! Wish we had more around!

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    1. I'm afraid I would need a million dragonflies to get rid of all the fireants we have around here!

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  16. Love dragonflies, we always have lots floating around in the garden during summer, I had no idea that they ate other small insects. I'm glad we don't have Black Widow spiders here in the UK.
    Paul

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    1. I love to see dragonflies flying around, too. I especially love to see them in the late afternoons, swarming around, as if in a dance.

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  17. Interesting critters and so much I didn't know...seeing more grasshoppers here...but thankfully no black widows

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    1. I hope you never get black widows. I don't think we're ever going to be able to get rid of all of ours!

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  18. Love your new-look header! Thankfully we don't have black widow spiders in London, but we do have some types of grass hoppers and dragonflies. I don't see them very often though, don't think they are much of a big-city dwellers.

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    1. I know dragonflies like water, so I bet they are in the city where there is small ponds or lakes. I wish, however, I didn't have so many grasshoppers. They were fun to catch as a kid, but as an adult, I would rather they not be around!

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  19. I have never seen a black widow here or in PA, yet I know they are around. Glad not to run into them. You have to wonder why the females eat the males. Maybe they are just plain annoying.

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  20. Holley, I have almost been bitten two times by black widow spiders and I am SO glad I don't have them in my garden. Be careful and wear gloves when reaching under landscape timbers! I shiver whenever I seen a photo of one. I'm scared of coming face to face with grizzly bears, wolves, and black widow spiders. That's it! Snakes are of no concern since I was around them all the time as a boy.
    Hey, I'm going to be a bite late...oops..a bit late on my next garden book review, but I'll join in by the weekend. Have fun!
    :0)David

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    1. I don't like snakes - at all! Thankfully, I don't see many of them. Maybe one a year. Black widows, though, are so numerous here that yes, I always wear gloves! And I'm very aware of sticking my hand under/in dark spaces! Glad to hear you'll be doing another book review - the weekend is perfect for joining in. :)

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  21. I love your new header. Great photo. A group of my co-workers dressed up as black widow spiders last Halloween. It was hysterical. I'm glad I've never seen one up close and personal.

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    1. I can only imagine the costumes! And yes, I bet it was hysterical - it makes me smile just thinking of what they may have looked like!

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  22. Interesting post Holley! That Black Widow did send a tiny shudder down my spine!!

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    1. That's why I had a hard time getting a picture of her! It's hard to be still when you're scared of something!

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  23. Very interesting facts - especially about the grasshopper hearing with its stomach! That is too bad you get black widows. I'm always so worried that we'll get black widows or other poisonous spiders around here, especially with the kids. (I'm also worried that we already have them, but I'm just bad at identifying spiders!)

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    1. Thankfully, we don't have children around here often. And when we do, we make a 'sweep' of the area! :)

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  24. Interesting post. I did not know, for instance, that grasshoppers have so many eyes. I am wondering about what happens if a black widow bites you? Is it painful or do they actually claim a victim and potentially make a widow?

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    1. A black widow bite is very serious. It can lead to death, although it usually doesn't. But immediate medical attention is definitely recommended! I would not medicate myself if I ever got bit by a black widow!

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  25. Wow! I just saw your new header. Very appropriate.

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    1. Thanks! I thought it was kind of 'dreamy', with the fog in the background. :)

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  26. Oh MY! I do not know how you handle the spiders! That would be a hard one for me! Great pics!

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    1. I usually make my husband kill them - I just watch out for them!

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  27. Oh, I love the dragonflies and damselflies, too! Those are definitely favorites. And Black Widow spiders are very bad. Good, informative post! And I agree--your new banner photo is gorgeous!

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    1. I love to see the dragonflies flying around, too. Sometimes they follow me around - using me as a parasol! haha

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  28. Ha! If I'd been up on my reading I'd have known you'd just written about black widows, too! :D Their webs are strong enough to catch grasshoppers, you know... We don't have too many grasshoppers here, but when I was growing up our vegetable garden was full of them--they'd leap up all around (and over) you when you went to harvest anything. They still gross me out more than any other insects.

    I like your new header and the whole template!

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    1. I guess the black widows are coming out of hiding - to make both of us think of them! I hate to see grasshoppers. I loved catching them as kids (as long as they didn't bite!), but now I just worry about how many plants they'll strip!

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  29. I welcome you very warmly.
    Beautiful post.
    Lovely pictures.

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  30. Lovely pictures! Dragonflys are really cool insects. We live near a large reservoir and get quite a few this time of year. We have also had tons of grasshoppers. They creep me out, but I haven't noticed much damage. Luckily, the only spiders I've noticed in my garden are orb weavers. Great post!

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    1. I love dragonflies. How wonderful to be able to see so many of them every year. The grasshoppers are not pretty. They look vicious. I try to keep away from them! I wish I had more orb weavers in my garden. I have a few, but not as many as I think I should have!

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