A Year and a Half of Non-Interference*

joanie_pomseed(8)December 18, 2011

*Well, not exactly, because I have picked off the occasional egg cluster or fat larva and will open webworm nests for the birds when I see them, but generally the predators manage without me. I've accepted that I'll probably always have aphids in my trees and ants in my compost pile, but they have their benefits. The aphids don't do too much damage, and the ants can be very protective of the trees where they herd. As one of you has pointed out before, it's also good to have them to break down the food in my compost pile, since it's easier than trying to keep earthworms in this type of soil.

And strangely, the ants haven't been very aggressive toward me, except on that one occasion when I stepped on a piece of rotten fruit and they crawled up my pants. :o I always used to worry that they would swarm onto my shovel while I was turning over my compost, but they never did.

Looking back, I think all my worries about pests were the result of trusting older horties more than I trusted myself, just because they were older. Most of those people were ignorant of ecology and didn't deserve that kind of respect. I should have exercised my own mind.

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ronalawn82(z9FL)

joanie_pomseed,
"Most of those people were ignorant of ecology and didn't deserve that kind of respect. I should have exercised my own mind".
One should always exercise one's own mind.
"There's no fool like an old fool". There is the best reason for not trusting a person merely because (s)he is old(er).
But we were not all ignorant of ecology!!! Go and read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. You will learn much from it.
Try, if you have the imagination and will, to live in a world without the lens and consequently, the camera, microscope and computer; then 'Google" Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632 to 1723) and appreciate the focus, tenacity and ethics of 'those people' (your words). Read and marvel over the Microbe Hunters in the book of the same name by Paul de Kruif. And there are many more.
Reflect on the unassailable fact that everything you know, you learnt from an older person or from his/her writings.
You are entitled to your thoughts, regardless of the quality, but when you express them on a forum like this, be prepared for unapologetic rebuttal

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:24AM
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joanie_pomseed(8)

Well! I sincerely apologize if my post looked like an attack on Rachel Carson and Antony van Leeuwenhoek. I was referring to people in my life and in my town who told me what to do with my land.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 4:31PM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

joanie_pomseed, I did not take it as an attack on those individuals; I was reacting as an "older hortie".

Merry Christmas to you & yours!>.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 6:31AM
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joanie_pomseed(8)

Thank you. :) I thought maybe that should have said, "...Carson and Leeuwenhoek or you," but I'd already posted it.

I also remembered that I did have ant trouble on that one occasion with my pear blossoms. That's something I don't see very often. :/

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 5:57PM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

joanie_pomseed, insects and other wildlife will seek food and/or harborage. If both are available they can "coexist" with us without our our knowledge. Termites and bees have been known to live and multiply for a long time in trees and between the outer and inner walls of houses until some sign or symptom betrays their presence.
Very often insects evoke an 'emotional' rather than thoughtful reaction.
Perhaps this link will explain the presence of ants in the pear tree.
Hey, it is Christmas and maybe the partridge has been displaced by ants.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 4:38PM
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joanie_pomseed(8)

I know about aphids, as I said in my first post. They have enough local predators. I was talking about the time I found the ants chewing on one of my trees' blossoms (here). That was before I stopped interfering with the ants outdoors, and it was the only occasion I saw this, though I'd seen ants attack stranger things. (Those of you who want to line-dry your clothes should take care in choosing the scent of your laundry soap. :o )

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 9:01PM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

OK, I followed the link. Ants feeding on live vegetative matter in daylight caught my attention. Bachac is the spp. with which I have some familiarity. They harvest vegetative material but do not ingest it.
Many narrative reports of ants eating (ingesting) vegetative material lack the details that will convince me.
But I have an open and wary mind where Mother Nature is concerned.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 8:09AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fire ants are omnivorous. Regarding their phytophagous activities, veggie seedlings are a favorite, as are tender buds, flowers, and the actual fruit. In my experience, strawberries, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and any other sweet, ripe fruit or veggie can become fire ant breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 1:59PM
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