Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Get Me Some Aggressive Morning Drizzle


Weather forecasts are crazy good now. Also, a little arrogant. Accuweather just cheerfully offered up the information that two months from today will be overcast and cool, with a possible afternoon thundershower. There's a lot you can find out. I can check the forecast on a minute-to-minute basis. I also like checking out weather in other places, which is how I discovered a San Francisco forecast for "aggressive morning drizzle." People think our own common winter prediction of "sun breaks" is funny. There's a pollen count. A mold index. There's--what's this? An outdoor pest forecast and an indoor pest forecast? Really?
 
Unless the Indoor Pest Forecast reads "moderate to high until the first day of school," this makes no sense to me. Can they see my ant invasions from space now? I can't bring myself to rule it out.
 
But it turns out they are making predictions based on such things as temperature and humidity and other factors that either favor certain pests or don't. Myself, I've never been able to associate any particular thing with when the ants go marching in. I think it's random. Depends on any given scout ant's perambulations and his personal degree of ant charisma.
 
As far as I'm concerned, if this is a measure of humidity and temperature and wind speed, you might just as well call it an Irascibility Index.
 
Indoor, but not a pest
The Indoor Pest Forecast became less of a mystery with the following notice: "The weather is favorable for a moderate level of indoor pest activity such as ants and cockroaches. Plan insect control products accordingly." At the bottom of the forecast in small letters it says "In partnership with SCJohnson and RAID." I guess you read the forecast to know when to line up your sprays and bombs. Otherwise they can stay under the sink and threaten visiting children. 

And the Outside Pest Forecast? That would make a lot of sense in Maine, where the vermin are unionized and punctual. In Maine, my sister used to get phone calls from her friends who lived 45 minutes away. (Everyone in Maine lives 45 minutes away from everyone else.) "Ayuh, black flies are in," they'd say. "Should be up your way by Thursday." Which means the Maine forecasters could use that hourly deal. 3pm, mosquito arrival in Waterville. Tomorrow, cloudy with a chance of Lyme ticks. Sunday morning, midges depart Brunswick for Deer Isle.

My collard greens
But that's mostly not what an outside pest forecast is about. There's a forecast for corn rootworm, black cutworm, corn earworm, alfalfa weevil, soybean aphid, and Western bean cutworm. There is a cucurbit downy mildew forecast. A Fusarium Head Blight prediction center. This is important for farmers looking to economize on poison purchases. I scan through these data bits with mild, but not personal concern, the way I read about monsoons in the Philippines or tornadoes in a trailer park. Until I came across the Blueberry Maggot.

There's a blueberry maggot?
 
Get SCJohnson on the line. My irascibility index is spiking.


23 comments:

  1. Your spiders' webs are beautiful! I, too, leave them be, as they help control the more noxious pests. I read an interesting tidbit about their webs: The spider silk is essentially transparent to the wavelengths of light that bugs see in, so that to them it just looks like normal sky. Clever creatures!

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    1. They are also frequently invisible to mailmen.

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    2. And to the person who is leading a hike thru the woods.

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    3. Dave is usually right behind me when we're hiking though the woods and I'm not much help. He STILL gets them in the face. "Could you carry a stick or something?"

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    4. And some webs have a spot in the center that reflects a lot of UV, presumably to make their prey mistake it for a flower.

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  2. Well, I suppose they predict hail and red tides as well as locusts and such. Every autumn various critters want to move indoors and who can blame them? A nice warm shelter in winter beats living outdoors in most places.

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    1. I just can't visualize ants shivering with cold.

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  3. I'm liking the precip, balanced with some sun but no heat dome. However, I wish it were drier and warmer today for my outdoor Book club on my uncovered deck.

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    1. Yeah, I'd gotten to thinking there was no downside to inviting people to an outdoor thing. Rain? What rain? Rained a little yesterday and it surprised the heck out of me.

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  4. The more you know, the less you want to know!

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  5. Hullo from the land where spiders can truss you up and sling you over their shoulder to snack on later. It looks like you live in the Hammer House of Horror.

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    1. ....You live in Mirkwood then? Say hello to Frodo for me.

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    2. I am enjoying the heck out of that image. Because I am not image-ing it as me.

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  6. I don't take much notice of weather patterns apart from checking for any upcoming sunny days so I can hang my sheets on the line, but something must have gone wrong here this winter because instead of hundreds of woolly caterpillars decimating gardens all over town, I saw just one caterpillar crawling along a footpath. I figured he was a scout and got prepared to keep an eye on my garden, but didn't need to.

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    1. Inasmuch as it's not my garden, I think that cat dearth sounds rather ominous.

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    2. Murr, I am currently reading a book from the library that I think you would enjoy (if that's even a proper descriptive of our imminent doom. It's called Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy. It's not dry reading, it sites factual studies, and it's about how we ALL need to plant more native plants in our yards and less "exotic" ornamentals and grass. One really unnerving spoiler: One of the scientists that he talks about says that in order to set the Earth to rights again, we would have to devote HALF the planet to the wild. Humans could live in the other half. And, of course, we would have to produce fewer humans. Yeah... that's just not gonna happen. It's funny, but back when I was a teen in the 70s, they talked about the Population Explosion. It was just one of the things that decided me on not having kids. (The other things being, it seemed childbirth was painful, and raising kids didn't look like too much fun.) You NEVER hear it mentioned now. Too un-PC.

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    3. Actually, much of the world has fallen below replacement rate already, and it's considered a problem for economists, who have no concept of a Ponzi scheme. And according to Saint George Monbiot, it isn't the actual population numbers so much as it is the consumption, and he points out that two dudes in New York City can consume as much in a month as some African townships consume in a year.

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  7. A Mainer here. Yes, don't we have our vermin well-trained? Am I right in guessing you visited at the buggy time of year?

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    1. I've visited at all times, often: Winter, mud season, black fly season, mosquito season, and I don't know if the ticks HAVE a season. Love the place, despite.

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  8. Is there a weather site that shows their predictons against what actually happenned?

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    1. You know,that would be fun. I'll have to say though that at least here they've been nailing it most of the time, and well in advance.

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  9. Here, the ants come inside when it's very dry, looking for water. They also come in when it's very wet, looking to get out of the rain (as the song says). They also come in in in-between weather, just for the hell of it. (I don't think I've ever written the word "in" three times in a row in a sentence before! Call Guinness.)

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