Try to envision thousands of spiders flying into farm fields to chow down on insects that might otherwise destroy the crops. Then, try to imagine that this is a coordinated effort between the spiders and the farmer.
This is no fantasy. Biologists have actually been studying what type of days spiders prefer to fly. The studies do not mention which airlines attract the most spiders. No, no, no! Forget that last part. Spiders don't have wings, but spiders do fly. They do it by casting out lines of silk thread that get picked up by wind currents. When enough thread is afloat the spider is lifted up and off it goes, often traveling miles through the air.
Studies have found that spiders do a pre-flight check before takeoff considering wind speed, wind direction and even updrafts. The researchers have discovered which days spiders most prefer. This information may be used someday in a way that might help farmers reduce pesticide use.
Understanding which days are most likely to bring the natural insect predators to their fields, farmers are hoping to be able to reduce pesticide applications, save money and grow more organic produce.
18 Aug 2011, 23:18