Spiders are a good addition to our yards because they control pest insects, but my Mom taught me to fear them. Then, I discovered from the ODNR Division of Wildlife that only three spiders have enough venom to harm humans and pets, and they aren't big and scary. They are tiny (3/8"). See p. 3 in Common Spiders of Ohio. The three spiders to watch for are rare: Brown and Mediterranean Recluse (pp. 60 & 61) and the female Black Widow (p. 68). The publication loads slowly, so call 1-800-WILDLIFE to order your hard copy for reference. You can help save spiders by going organic, planting native plants and keeping spider webs in your yard so spiders can catch food.
Some readers ask me why are they seeing few Monarchs? According to Monarch Watch, Journey North reported low numbers of Monarchs arriving later than normal into their breeding areas in May and June due to bad weather. Then, despite good weather, few next-generation Monarchs moved into the states east of Illinois. These facts suggest that 2016 will have a significant decline in migration and overwintering numbers. Monarchs are tough, so I remain hopeful. Read more at Monarch Watch.
Good news: August marks the 10-year anniversary of Nature Scoop (2006-2016). It started with a dozen readers and last month was opened by 5,263 readers. I'd like to thank my wonderful husband, Bill, for his support, and each of you for reading and sharing ways to help save birds, bees, butterflies and other important backyard wildlife. Thank you to people and nature organizations who faithfully post, tweet, forward and contribute to Nature Scoop. I'd also like to thank National Wildlife Federation, especially Patrick and Luisa at headquarters, and Barbara and Steve in Ohio (Habitat Ambassadors who educate the public), and others who present backyard habitat information.
Special thanks to my editor, Linda, for her expert second eye each month and to Alistair for being her back up. Thanks to Marc for keeping the website, www.backyardhabitat.info, and thanks to you and your organizations for posting a link to my website on your websites. Thanks to Beth for posting my articles on the Nodding Onions Garden's website. Thanks to anyone inadvertently left out. Everyone's support by taking action in your yards, posting the Certified Wildlife Habitat sign and educating neighbors, family and friends makes a huge impact for wildlife and our environment. Congratulations for making a positive difference with all you do!
- Organic lawn care: Let lawn go dormant instead of watering
- Apply corn gluten, a pre-emergent weed control and natural fertilizer, when nights become cooler and weeds start to germinate (around 8/15 to 9/10 in central Ohio)
- PlantNative demonstrates that White Clover is beneficial to your lawn because it naturally fertilizes it and keeps out other weeds. It is also good for bees
- Use Non-toxic products for pond algae (like Phoslock), see p. 3 in The Urban Review
- Suffering from hay fever? Check your yard for common, annual or giant Ragweed. Ragweeds have a shoot at the top that has tiny green blooms that emit pollen with hooks on it
- If you see a large web appear in your tree in late summer or early fall, don't be too alarmed. It is probably the Fall Webworm. Scroll down to see its sack. It does not do much harm since the deciduous leaves will be falling off naturally
Please send your backyard conservation educational event with a link the month prior to the registration deadline (e.g. May 1 for June issue)
- 8/4, Backyard Conservation Day, 10-5, activities for families, Showcase Pavilion, Fee, Ohio State Fair, Columbus
- 8/6, Explore and Enjoy, Sawmill Wetlands, Columbus
- Reg now for 8/13, Pollinator Workshop, Field Trips & Presenters incl Steve Inglish, Fee incl food, Midwest Native Plant Society, Lebanon
- Reg now for 8/18, Starting a Native Habitat for Wildlife in a School Garden, Steve Inglish presenter, free seeds, scroll down at Civic Garden Center, Cincinnati
- 8/20, Grove City EcoFest, Grove City
- 8/27, Butterfly Bluegrass Festival, Monarch Festival, Buck Creek Nature Park, Springfield
- Reg by 8/22 for 8/31, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative Symposium, Fee incl Food, Columbus