Bugs only bug unhealthy plants? (fwd)

Kay Cangemi cangemi at mhv.net
Wed Aug 6 10:08:09 EST 1997


In article <allyn-ya02408000R0508971835170001 at news.u.washington.edu>,
allyn at u.washington.edu (Allyn Weaks) wrote:

> By simplistic
> statistical arguments, local boom and bust cycles should not only happen
> sometimes, but be the norm...  Mind you, fiddling with the natural cycles
> of complex systems is as likely to make them more prominant as less,

And then there are the 17 year cicadas, that naturally function on  a boom
or bust cycle. Last year was the big brood, whose name currently escapes
me. There were so many of them the ground under the oak trees was carpeted
with their cast off shells. Whenever the cicadas molted, there were about 2
dozen song birds hanging out in those trees, flying down to pick up a
cicada and then flying back up to eat it. Some of the cicadas escaped, so
the bird would simply go get another one. When the cicadas were dying, some
of them were attacked by very small birds. Ever seen a 3" bird try to eat a
barely alive 2" insect? As a result of that, and a mild winter, the bird
population is quite high now. That'll last until this winter. 

At least the tent caterpillar invasion was two years ago. The cicadas just
damage woody plants. Large trees can handle it, but it'll be a few years
before the rhododendrons recover.

-- 
Kay Cangemi
New York, USDA zone 5



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