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Ecology and Potentially Deadly Creepy Crawlies.

 
Collin Vickers
Posts: 104
Location: Rutledge, MO
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Hey Permies,

I have various insects and arachnids in my garden that could kill me, mainly a range of scorpions and spiders. For instance, last week I was adjusting the position of a watermelon and felt an insect crawling on my thumb - I ordinarily don't think much of it, because it's usually just a cricket - but in this case, it was a female black widow spider. Fortunately for me, she doesn't kiss on the first date.

The idea behind this post is to ask what folks think about leaving critters like her alone. After all, it's not as if she's out on a seek and destroy mission for humans every day, and she is helping to keep pest insects in control in my garden, along with other venomous arachnid friends. I don't have any small children to worry about. So, from an ecological point of view, shouldn't I just leave them alone, when I see them? Or, do y'all think it's too risky to tolerate their presence in a zone-1 scenario?
 
Judith Browning
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Posts: 5541
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I know what you mean...like the copperhead snake in my garden a few days ago was probably eatting mice or voles but given the chance we would probably kill it and try to find the other one as they are usually in pairs. They are not aggresive snakes but I am really uncomfortable stepping or reaching where I cant see the ground now which is most of the garden. We also have black widows and depending where they are I sometimes kill them. Our kids and grand kids know to watch for snakes and spiders.
We are part of the food chain...I dont believe in killing every snake or bug around but feel ok about it in our "territory" the house and garden and outhouse and car.
For some reason the more civilized our house the more critters...brown recluse that I used to ignore but they took advantage and now I wash them down the sink when I find them in my empty canning jars and kill the one that pops up on my shoulder when I put on my clothes. We used to remove the blood sucking cone nose bugs from our sleeping porch but after finding out that if you are bit more than once your chances of an allergic reaction greatly increase, we squish them too. Out hiking the woods is another story...I step around the occasional rattle snake..I am in their territory.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We leave every dangerous critter alone unless it gets in the house or is otherwise causing imminent danger (wasp nest near a doorway, for instance). There was a rattler in my old vegetable garden one year and all we did was take a photo. Generally knowing the habits of the dangerous critters and keeping an eye out for them or making habitat near the house less conducive to danger (for instance having wide paths if there are venomous snakes) will avoid most likely problems.

Shake out clothes and shoes, change bedding and turn the mattress frequently, keep the house neat and keep stuff off the floor. I don't follow my own advice a lot of the time...

Our dangerous critters: Scorpions, wasps, brown recluse spiders, centipedes, kissing bugs, rattlers, coral snakes, cottonmouths...cougars....

If I had children I would take a much harder line against the critters. I'd be smushing a lot more things, probably. But not spraying poisons around the place!
 
Judith Browning
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Posts: 5541
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
260
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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My problem with poisonous snakes in the garden is that I have zero ground visability ...The one I saw slipped under my sweet potatoes and is probably long gone now.I scared it as much as it scared me . Other than the gardens we do keep wide paths mowed but I think our gardens are becoming oasis for the local fauna in the drought.
Tyler, Are kissing bugs another name for the cone nose bug? Our grandsons love the name blood sucking cone nose. We have had only six total and I was bit only once but we do flip the bed often and take up the sheets and pillows every day now. I should remember by now to shake clothes for recluses and also the wasp or bumble bee that comes in from the clothesline in our clothes. We have never had a black widow in the house but in my garden shed they like old pots. We did raise our kids to watch where they put their hands and feet and we all ran around barefoot alot.
I've always been interested in how someone could manage to not kill any living thing....what would they do with ticks off of the dog?....fleas? I guess not have a dog.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Posts: 8968
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Judith Browning wrote:
Tyler, Are kissing bugs another name for the cone nose bug?


Yes, it's the same nasty critter. We have tons of them, average a little more than one in the house per week. Probably been bit a couple times, but so far no symptoms of chagas disease.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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lavender helps repel the cone nose...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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This is excellent useful and helpful information, Abe! I will get various forms of lavender as soon as possible. Probably start by getting a bottle of essential oil, then try again to get some plants going. Wow, thank you!

 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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Tyler Ludens wrote:This is excellent useful and helpful information, Abe! I will get various forms of lavender as soon as possible. Probably start by getting a bottle of essential oil, then try again to get some plants going. Wow, thank you!


when we lived in West Texas (Terlingua), cone nose were everywhere. Folks would leave dried lavender bundles around the bedrooms, and it kept them away.

My wife reacts to the bites, but I don't (same with mosquitoes). So, I've probably been bit thousands of times, and never knew it. Still no chagas, thank goodness.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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cover all windows that are mounted in doors during the summer months, and keep the porch lights away from doorways, will keep kissing bugs from flying in, and waiting for doors to open.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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