Is anyone else in downtown Forest fighting an infestation of gnats? The extremely “bugging” creatures invaded our office a week or two ago and it looks like they have moved in for good.
We can’t figure out where they came from, or, are coming from, but we are constantly swatting, and slapping, and even cursing at times I’m pretty sure. The casual observer peeking through our windows might even think there was a lunatic at my desk. Good thing we’re on a side street with little foot traffic outside.
Bug spray didn’t help and I’m not sure what the next step might be. Perhaps one of those beekeeper suits.
At the same time there seems to be an over abundance of spiders as well. We’ve got one of those big garden spiders catching flies and moths and sometimes me at our front door at home. I’ve always called them zipper spiders because the center of the web looks kind of like a zipper.
This is a busy one and we’ve named him Rodney, after my late mother’s Uncle Rodney, because they share an attribute...or better put the lack of one. The spider, as was Uncle Rodney, is missing a leg.
That didn’t slow down Uncle Rodney, I was always told. We still have one of his peg legs that was in storage at my great grandfather’s house — the one we live in now — and we gave another one to my brother and sister-in-law for their home in Kilmichael.
Kind of weird, I know, but it isn’t every day one stumbles across a peg leg in a closet. Ha!
This type spider, I was always told by my parents and grandparents, is a “good” one to have. They always seem to build around a door and they do trap a lot of other bugs from entering the house.
Last week Rodney had captured a huge moth in the lower corner of the web and somehow in the dark of night transferred it back up to the center where that zipper part is. The moth served as breakfast, lunch, and dinner for several days and then was gone without a trace, vanishing, again, in the dark of the night.
There are other webs as well.
One intricate web was strung from the front of my truck to a nearby crepe myrtle tree last week and as I backed up you could see the limb of the tree slowly bend in the direction of the stretching fibers until finally they popped. This one was not of the zipper variety, but kind of red or maroon — maybe a Bulldog fan — and it rebuilt its home in the same place minus the pickup truck anchor. Unfortunately for the spider that locale was also in the path of a bright red cardinal that came visiting and it became the dinner rather than the diner!
The worst one, though, I never saw coming. It had built a huge web between a pine tree and a pear tree in the front yard and when I buzzed through, full throttle, on the riding mower it wrapped me up like a mummy. Jeepers creepers!
I suppose there is a benefit to all things found in nature. For us this year, it has cut down on the need for store bought Halloween decorations. All the spooky spider webs are free and they certainly have set up shop at the right time of the year.
For the record — although I thought we had gotten a lot of rain — this is what the great and powerful Google, on the other “web,” says about the abundance of creepy crawlers in 2021.
There has been a spike in the spider population which we can attribute directly to environmental factors. The summer of 2021 was hotter and drier than other years, which led to a spike in spider reproduction. It has also been a record-breaking year for natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and drought. These weather events destroyed vegetation, driving creatures of all kinds (including spiders) from their homes and forcing them to find shelter in other areas.
At the same time Google says gnats, which were also swarming in my backyard Sunday, are attracted to excess moisture.
Hmm...wet or dry, which one is it? Well, whichever one it is, I’m seriously considering relocating Rodney to my office door and see if he can’t help out with that problem we have here.