Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Stills: Pests

There was some old, dirty water in the troughs in the horse stalls because I don't put the horses in their stalls in the summer months.  I noticed that some spiders had woven webs around the troughs, so I decided to dump the water and break up all the webs.  I noticed what looked like a pod of peas behind one water trough.  I was trying to figure out what it was and almost picked it up, but fortunately a spider web was in the way.  Once I dumped the water and all the spiders scattered, this is what came running out from behind the trough to chase them down...

It's a good thing I didn't try to pick it up.  Praying manti do bite.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to run in the house and grab my camera.  Then I remembered that this week's Sunday Stills topic is pests.  Perfect.

I wanted to use my Nikon, but figured the mantis would be gone by the time I attached the macro lens, so I grabbed my point-and-shoot zoom Canon.  It was a good thing, because this guy tried to attack me a couple of times, and I would have had to get in too close with the macro lens.

I looked around for other pests.  When it comes to animals and insects, some are pests, but are good to have around because they eat other pests.  It's all about trying to find a balance so that there isn't too much of one pest.  Birds are pests because they poop down the walls of my barn and fall into the water troughs, drowning and decomposing in the water, putting my horses at risk of acquiring botulism, so I have to check the water troughs every day.

But birds are good because they eat spiders, who are pests that spin webs everywhere in my barn, and sometimes they get inside the house and bite us. 

They breed like rabbits and you can see little spidey sacs everywhere.

Here's a 3-tiered web.  Even spiders have to tolerate having neighbors build their houses too close for privacy and comfort.

But spiders are good pests, because they catch and eat these...

Flies irritate our horses by crawling in their eyes and all over their bodies, sometimes causing infections.

I'm still waiting for someone to invent a fly spray that works.  This year I tried putting gel around the eyes, but the flies weren't deterred.

The horses spend a lot of time rubbing flies off their eyes with their legs and rubbing flies off their legs with their noses...

...if stomping their feet doesn't have any effect in shooing those pests away.

Does this shadow make my butt look big?

Horse butts can be pesky, because they are manure machines that attract flies.  If you look carefully, you'll see a third butt in the background belonging to another neighborhood pest who always comes outside to disrupt my photo shoots.


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the butt in the background.

this year I've had good results with Endure roll-on repellent around the eyes. Seems a different product is needed each year.

Just Ramblin' said...

Loved reading through this post! Too funny how it all flowed together. I almost had to stop when reading about the spiders and seeing all the webs. Yikes! : ) Great job today.

Wazzoo said...

Why don't you use flymasks? It sure helps my guys during the fly season.

Dreaming said...

I love your fun segue from one pest to another!
I was waiting to see pictures of your neighbors!

Jake said...

I like the spider web shots. Still looking for a good fly spray here also.

Ed said...

The flies can be a pain in the proverbial butt, the mantis is excellent and according to Chinese tradition a sign of good luck, not to mention they eat spiders..:-)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! The last photo was great! And we finally get a sneak peek of one of your nosy neighbors. :)

Wish you could have captured a macro of those mantis eggs. I've never seen them before and I bet they were interesting close-up.

~Lisa

Rebecca said...

I have those same spider webs in my barn at home too. Maybe they are related. :o)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Wazzoo = Fly masks and fly sheets are a no-no at my place. The horses rip them right off each other. They are way to expensive to be replacing every day. If I had one horse on a trail ride, I'm sure the fly mask would be fine, but I can't leave them together in the paddock wearing anything they can get their teeth into.

Ann said...

Have you even seen gold mantis? I had 2 come to my house in Singapore, we treated it as a most welcomed visitor, not a pest,

Angela Baird said...

I did not know praying mantis' would bite! I kept one every summer in my bedroom as a pet, would loosely tie a bit of thread around the hard thorax and walk them and play with them like a dog :p I had one that was fascinated with the theme of Unsolved Mysteries! lol It really didn't take much to entertain me. :)

2browndawgs said...

Flies are pests which bug brown dawgs too. Great pictures.

aurora said...

Praying Manti, a cool pest! Those dang fly's sure are pests, they create all kind of problems for our horses, and us!

achieve1dream said...

Dang I didn't realize her house was that close to your pasture! Ick!

Weird about the praying mantis. The ones we have around here are so quiet and gentle. I've never had one try to attack. They are so cool. :)

Those are all great shots. I can't believe you actually got a picture of the flies hehe.

I've considered trying those fly bonnet things that have the strings that keep the flies out of their eyes, but I don't want to leave a halter on . . . and I know he'd tear a fly mask off in a day. Have you tried the Avon Skin So Soft on the face? My fly spray doesn't work very well, but I use it mainly for killing ticks because they are numerous and vicious around here. Such a pain. I'm seriously considering making my own fly spray, but I'm not sure it would work either. They never seem to last long.