Fresh ideas, inventions that I pass along to the world. Maybe they already exist. Maybe they’re useful. Maybe they’re fun.
As I type this, my neighborhood is experiencing our local version of biblical locusts. Our current scourge? Tent caterpillars. Tent caterpillars in large enough numbers in some places to make it impossible to walk without squishing a dozen. Gardens and orchards are being denuded. I know someone who has to remove thousands every day to save her main source of food, an organic garden. Chemicals that kill them, kill beneficial bugs. Some ineffectively spray some of them away with water. Some have even used fire, but that has a long list of risks. Then I realized that, while they crawl up walls, they can’t navigate a sharp overhang.
Here’s my, possibly, fresh idea for protecting spaces like gardens or houses.
Create a barrier that angles out from the ground, then make a sharp bend in the barrier so the barrier points back down part way to the ground. If the barrier is made of something thin and smooth like paper, plastic, or metal then the edge pointed down may be too sharp for the caterpillars to reach around. They have a tendency to climb, so they may not even make it past the inside bend. Those that do make it past the bend may fall off as they climb down. Those that make it to the edge may fall off as they try to reach around. If any make it past the barrier, they do so in a way that is highly visible and where they are easier to remove than typical places like as they pass through branches or fences.
I suspect that the barrier won’t be as effective if it has any texture like cloth, or is thick like cardboard because both features can be used for better footing, and they have a great supply of feet.
I decided to post this before trying it because I don’t have the time, do not have as urgent of a need, and because my garden is not as easily surrounded by such a barrier.
One encouraging anecdote comes from a friend who noticed that her patio table looks like an island on a deck that is awash in a tide of bugs. She left the plastic table cloth on it and there’s not a bug on top of it, though there is a vortex of them below it.
This may be too late for this season, and maybe not; but it is something to keep in mind for next season. As a bonus, it may also work against slugs, a perpetual menace.
(And then there’s idea of a moat filled with beer that has to be guarded against bunnies and deer and dogs and certain humans.)