The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (AKA: Sweater weather)
It’s October and that means it’s my favorite season of the year: spider season! Living in Georgia (USA), we are under siege from the invasive Joro spider. It is actually a very pretty spider that builds big orb-shaped webs.
While these are beneficial (I am pretty sure we had next to no mosquito issues this summer because of all these webspinners), they are very abundant. People don’t like them near their structures and there is the “ick” factor of walking through one of their webs when you aren’t paying attention. I get it.
Like all new invasive species, the question is what will happen with their population. It may be a spike this year because there are no native predators to limit their numbers and next year it may fall. There’s the possibility that they may find a balance with the native species and next year might be less. It’s impossible to say. It’s not just the Joro’s, we are seeing other invasive species spreading and having potentially devastating effects:
Asian longhorn ticks have now spread to 17 states including recently being found in my state (Georgia). While aren’t known to spread diseases in the US, they do in their home range and that could carry to the US.
Spotted lanternflies are very much in the news, mostly asking people to destroy them on sight. Currently being found in eight states. These can be extremely destructive to fruit and vegetable crops and I’m personally worried for the wine industry. (#savemywine!)
Giant hornets are being found in the pacific northwest. These can totally destroy honey bee colonies in a short amount of time. It’s the end of the season so new queens are being produced to overwinter and start again in the spring. How many are they not finding?
Then there are all the “normal” fall invaders to contend with. Depending on where you live that may be stink bugs, lady beetles, cluster flies, native spiders, boxelder bugs, and more.
These seasonal pests are going to be a problem every year. Some years will be worse than others because of temperatures, precipitation, other weather issues, and more. The key is that these are no different from any other pest when it comes to managing them. No matter if it is an invasive or a “typical” fall invader, prevention is always preferable. Once they get in you are forced to react and then options can get limited. Even if they do get in, it’s not too late to seal up entry points, reduce outside food sources, and try to reduce the habitat.
There is an old saying about shutting the barn door after the horse has left. Meaning it is a pointless endeavor because the damage has already been done: the horse is gone. However, I think it is the opposite. If you don’t shut the door after the horse has bolted, the rest of the horses will leave too. If you get a few fall season invaders inside through an opening, leaving the door open makes the problem worse! So shut the barn door!
And let us help you improve your pest management plans to be more preventative and react faster.
Lagniappe – Lucas.