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applestar
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Re: various Southern critters

Here's a picture I took of the one on the lawn on the rare occasion when the spider was not hiding:
image.jpg
The funnel hole is not obvious unless you see it from the right angle. It's usually off to one side.

...quick search... It looks like this one's common name is "Grass Spider"...

THIS, btw is why I always wear tall gardening boots with pant legs tucked in when I'm trampling around, and walk around gingerly in sneakers... And never garden in sandals -- the ground is full of spiders, not just these relatively stationary web weavers but free-ranging various ground spiders. :o

The ones on the bushes could also be just crisscrossing safety tethers after a night of hunting, but if they form defined bonnet/saucer shapes, then I think they are probably funnel spider webs.
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Allyn
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Re: various Southern critters

rainbowgardener wrote:...But all the pictures seemed to be the lawn webbing over holes in the ground. But as shown, I had a bunch of the webbing over top parts of the large shrubs, none lower down on the shrubs. Would funnel spider do that too?
Yes. Like this:
Image

The webs usually aren't visible unless they're covered with dew. Which is why you see them in the morning and then they seem to disappear after the dew burns off. It's a country saying that if the funnel web spider's web is covered with dew in the morning, it's going to be a beautiful day. (Yeah, I know it's silly, but you know how those old country sayings go.)

The Australian species is, from what I can gather, more like our brown recluse spiders. My husband has horror stories about brown recluse spiders. Your grass spiders (funnel spiders) are benign enough, though you do want to read up on brown recluse spiders and be able to identify them. We have those down here and they are some nasty stuff.
Last edited by Allyn on Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: various Southern critters

Since, I don't really see this happening in where I am. So, you are saying tht the webs are probably always around,you just don't see them because they only visible under certain conditions?

Spiders are not bad for the garden, they do eat pests. Until recently the spiders here were mostly large and ugly but harmless but now I think somebody brought in some black widow spiders and the brown recluse came in the storage containers years ago.
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Allyn
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Re: various Southern critters

imafan26 wrote:Since, I don't really see this happening in where I am. So, you are saying tht the webs are probably always around,you just don't see them because they only visible under certain conditions? ... .
That's what I understand, though I've never tested it. I usually ignore webs unless it's covering something I need, so I've never gone to a spot later in the day where I saw a web to verify that it was still there. Somewhere I picked up (I read or someone told me) that you can only see the webs when they have dew on them because the threads are so fine. It may be that the webs aren't literally invisible, but they're probably so inconspicuous without the dew that we don't notice them without close inspection.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: various Southern critters

Thanks, Allyn! That is exactly what I have. And yes, I think the webs are a lot less conspicuous once the dew is off them, but maybe also a bit reduced - some of the very fine webbing dries up and blows away?

I looked a little more today and still have not seen any of the spiders, but I haven't really made a good study.

Interesting, these spiders are not actually a "Southern critter," being apparently just as common in Ohio where I used to be as they are here. I think we just have here the weather conditions for making them more visible with lots of heavy AM fogs and dews, much more than I am used to.
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Re: various Southern critters

rainbowgardener wrote:...I looked a little more today and still have not seen any of the spiders, but I haven't really made a good study. ...
I think they're related to wolf spiders, in that they hide and then jump out to catch prey -- in this case, when something gets caught in the web. Then it retreats back to the hiding place (which is, I think, in the "funnel") to enjoy their meal. So it may be a matter of chance to see one out.

You'll probably find that there will be a lot of things here that you had up north, but the cold temperatures and long (comparatively speaking) winter kept them in check up there

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Re: various Southern critters

Wow! A whole huge flock of starlings just descended on my front lawn and the neighbor's across the street. First time I have seen them. They are walking around dipping their bills into the lawn.

Might they be eating those grass spiders?

Ain't Nature wonderful? Just when I was getting a little weirded out about not wanting to walk across the lawn...
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egg case?

Raking leaves for the compost pile yesterday, I found several of these:
IMG_0463.JPG
IMG_0463.JPG (35 KiB) Viewed 4014 times
golf ball sized or just a little bigger, very light, hollow. At first I thought maybe some kind of puffball fungus, but the outside is hard/crisp and they all have exit holes, where probably something hatched out. Any idea what it was?

Also this little guy, not the greatest picture:
IMG_0455.JPG
IMG_0455.JPG (82.61 KiB) Viewed 4014 times
some kind of frog or toad.

And there was a hairy woodpecker working away on the shed roof. Presumably some kind of bug is living amongst the shingles.....
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Re: various Southern critters

I immediately thought of the galls on my Willow oak, but those are much smaller.

Looking up "golfball sized oak galls", I found this:

https://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecolo ... l_wasp.htm
Oak Apple Gall Wasps are usually identified by their gall. This very large gall grows up to two inches wide, but is usually golf-ball sized. Apple galls have a thin, papery shell and are spongy inside. They are green at first, turning brown later.
What do you think?
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Re: various Southern critters

Oh, good job, applestar. I think you nailed it! Did I mention I was raking up leaves around the big old OAK tree?

Yes, it looks exactly like that. Interesting to know that only one wasp came out of each one. They were so big, I was picturing thousands of spiders or something from each.

Your article said they mainly only use southern red oaks or black oaks. I am in the distribution range for both. So you made me so curious I had to go out at midnight and collect a few of the fallen leaves.

Sure enough, bingo, it is the black oak:

Image
https://www.extension.iastate.edu/fores ... leaves.jpg

Don't you love it when you are so right? :) You not only helped me identify the gall and its wasp inhabitant, you helped me identify what kind of oak tree "I" have (the tree is really in my neighbor's yard, but a lot of its large branches stretch over into mine).
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Re: various Southern critters

Wow. This is a great thread.
I have never seen a funnel spider web before. That picture is fascinating.
When we were in Hawaii (Maui & Kauai) there were bugs on the floor of the rental car. The bugs would scurry into hiding when we got in. It gave me the creeps because I knew that the bugs were hiding under the seats. I couldn't wait to get out of that car each time we road in it. I wonder if those bugs were cockroaches. I don't think they were big enough to be 747's.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: various Southern critters

A friend helped me identify the little guy in the second picture above as "American toad," bufo americanus.
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Re: various Southern critters

Oak galls, such as you found, are fairly common and wide spread geographically. Traditionally have been used in some dyeing processes, and IIRC, ink making, and perhaps tanning.
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Re: various Southern critters

thanks, Susan. Very interesting... I learn so much around here! :D You stimulated me to look it up more. Indeed, used in tanning, very high in tannic acid, and in dying. "the gall formation is a defensive measure by the oak tree and therefore contains strong natural astringent compounds such as tannic acid. In fact, according to Botanical.com, oak galls are the most astringent vegetable compound in the world. ...Also medicinally, mainly topically: American Indians used poultices of ground gall nuts on sores, cuts and burns ... Recently there has been an interest in using oak galls as a source of natural pesticide, as that is its original function and intent by the oak tree itself.
https://www.ehow.com/about_5398760_oak-galls-used.html

Seems like if you had a container or small plot you wanted to acidify more (e.g for growing blueberries) collecting and grinding up some oak galls would be good for that.
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Re: various Southern critters

Yesterday, I went to a new dentist who supports natural remedies in addition to conventional ones.

When I mentioned I usually use tea tree oil and echinacea tincture, plus goldenseal tincture for tooth and gum inflammations, she recommended this product, which uses additional ingredients that I wasn’t aware of, with interesting beneficial effects.

Image

...so of course I looked up the ingredients and came across this recipe:

Tooth And Gum Restore Formula Dr Schulze how to make it (Dr. Schulze Forum # 1 [Archive]) 10/1/2009 1500102
https://www.curezone.org/forums/fm.asp?i=1500102

Great details and additional info which I excerpt here:
The formulator of this formula, Dr. Richard Schulze , says "The Echinacea tincture deadens the pain immediately – when you get it down into your gum line. It also is a surface disinfectant and stimulates your immune system to start working against bacteria that is down in there. The bayberry is one of the stronger astringents, so it will take that gum tissue and literally tighten it right up in front of your eyes. . . . " Oak is also an astringent. "Oh yes, peppermint is a very strong disinfectant, and it’s a very strong circulatory stimulant. Dr. Christopher even listed it next to cayenne in his School of Natural Healing under circulation stimulants. Peppermint also reduces inflammation, so it’s a great one for curing dental diseases."
...then I looked up oakgall as herbal ingredient and found out that the specific ingredient is from oak native to India and (imported?) in Europe ...or maybe it’s the other way around... but Native American oak and their galls can be used:

Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies - Julie Bruton-Seal, Matthew Seal - Google Books
https://books.google.com/books/about/Ba ... jtTW9xM20C
Image

...so OF COURSE, I remembered this thread :D

— I'm going to look around my garden and see if the marble-sized oak-galls are still around and harvestable, but maybe I should ask rainbowgardener to send me some of HER oak apples..... Image
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Re: various Southern critters

Remind me next year, applestar! :D The season for them is past now and I didn't save any. I only see a few of them each year, anyway.
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Re: various Southern critters

When I lived in town everyone in the neighborhood had wood roaches by the 1000s. About an hour after dark turn on an outside light the driveway is covered with so many wood roaches it looks like probably 10,000. roaches. People that mulch their trees and bushes attract those roaches because they eat wood. Wood roaches do not come inside the house. I never mulched, bushes, trees, garden, so I did not have as many roaches in the yard as the neighbors.

Funnel spiders are wolf spiders. I don't like spiders very much but I like, wolf, zipper and jumping spiders. If I catch a spider I turn it loose in the garden. Jumping spiders are cute little multi color hairy things, don't get too close up looking at them they will jump in your face. LOL.

We had a very bad ant problem when I lived in town. Ants were coming in through a crack behind the refrigerator, they came in the bathroom through the water pipe hole, and came in the back door. I bought several bags of white sugar at the grocery store and put the sugar bags under the house in several places. Ants in search of food stopped at the sugar bags and never came inside the house ever again the 20 years we lived there.

TN is well known for having millions of brown recluse spiders. They love to hide inside or behind cardboard boxes. Every time I move a box in the garage a brown recluse spider come running up my arm. I jerk my arm really fast and they fall off. You can make brown recluse spider traps with empty toilet paper tubes. Glue small pieces of cereal box cardboard on 1 end of paper tubes then put a piece is sticky tape in the bottom of the tube. Duct tape works good. Place the toilet paper tubes every place you see brown recluse spiders they like to hide in dark places they get stuck to the tape in the bottom of the dark tubes.

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Re: various Southern critters

I have never seen either a wood roach or a brown recluse spider in my life -- and we always have cardboard waiting to be recycled in our garage.
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Re: various Southern critters

RBG this is a long thread and i only skimmed through it. Your Palmetto Bugs really are not a huge problem. Disgusting - yes. Give them a smack and toss the carcass. When I lived in apartments the small German Roaches were a serious problem. Really difficult to get rid of. We seldom have roaches. Over the last 3 weeks of stupid crazy cold I have seen 2 large Palmetto Bugs in the house. :eek: I sicked my cat Daisy Faye on them. She had a ball, got her exercise for the day and did away with the creatures. I do not like creatures of any kind in the house. Roaches really are disgusting. Flies are worse - a summer torment.

Welcome to the south!! :-()
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rainbowgardener
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Re: various Southern critters

Yeah, the palmetto bugs are creepy, but they are loners and don't get in the house all that often.

I can't say we have any more flies than I am used to in Ohio, and that is even though we have a horse ranch in our backyard.

There are a ton of mosquitoes though -- Chattanooga is a pretty wet place with lots of creeks, roadside ditches, etc, that provide great homes for them. But even so, it's not necessarily worse. In Cincinnati we had a big natural pond at the bottom of our hill, with very little outlet, that was also a breeding ground.
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Re: various Southern critters

RBG - If you have enough "fly space" you may want to consider Purple Martin Houses. They eat their weight in mosquitoes. We never had the room for them when we had our live oak. Now that it is gone Purple Martin Houses are on G's "to do" list.
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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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Re: various Southern critters

The ranch behind us has a whole bunch of them. They are essentially about a block from our house. With a colony of purple martin houses that close, do you think it would make any difference to add more in our yard?
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