In awe of insect predators

Recently we advised against spraying spider-webbed shrubs. That's because the simple presence of spiders means there must be many insects in residence there -- an entire ecosystem -- and any spraying program that killed the spiders could upset the whole kit and kaboodle.

We dislike unbalanced plant-pest systems, where we often end up with more work than we can handle as sole protectors of plants from their enemies.

Take a close look with us at a small section of shrubbery and see if you, too, end up by backing away slowly with the vow, "Carry on you-all, and leave me out of this!"

Watch a funnel spider at work.

Ponder the plenty of predators on the shrubs

Some gardeners wonder as they come across an unfamiliar insect, "Is this a good bug or bad?" Here's a simple test that will identify many of the "good guy" hunters of other insects. If you look at the insect and it looks back at you rather than turning away or hiding, chances are pretty darned good you're looking at a predator... and it's sizing YOU up.

Some gardeners wonder as they come across an unfamiliar insect, "Is this a good bug or bad?" Here's a simple test that will identify many of the "good guy" hunters of other insects. If you look at the insect and it looks back at you rather than turning away or hiding, chances are pretty darned good you're looking at a predator... and it's sizing YOU up.