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August 30, 2011 / Robert Ross

the season of the spider


One of the reasons I love Georgia is that it is about as far South as you can go (north of the equator) and still have 4 distinctly different seasons. I find seasonal rhythms important. They help mark the passage of time.

A few years ago I termed August the season of the spider. In August, spiderwebs show up everywhere overnight. The garden is fried past production. The yard is concrete hard and the surviving grass crunchy. Brown leaves start to drop from the trees and the azaleas and hydrangeas droop in the heat of late summer.

August is also marked by the appearance of the signature spiders in the garden. With their electric yellow and black markings and zigzag webs, they added a bold accent in a fading landscape. We used to find them throughout the yard. But not the past 2 years.

A few years ago we became tired of spraying ourselves with Deep Woods Off every time we wanted to go outside. We listened to our exterminator and enthusiastically signed up to have the yard sprayed for mosquitoes. We were assured that only there was no adverse affect and you know what? It worked!

The downside was that in addition to the mosquitoes, the lightning bugs were greatly diminished. Then I noticed nature’s insect controllers – the signature spiders and praying mantises were also gone. There was also a noticeable decrease in garden production. We stopped spraying the yard after that first season, but 2 years later I’m still missing my spiders. On the bright side, I did find a praying mantis this past weekend.

Given that the effect on our quarter acre lot, I can only imagine the wide spread consequences of spraying to control mosquitoes at the county level. Acting locally does impact globally.

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One Comment

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  1. jeff / Aug 30 2011 11:35 am

    Yay for chemical free ! Of course they tell you it’s perfectly safe, just like those medications were that are now part of class-action lawsuits. Great article, Robert !

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