by Sandy Swegel
Besides having a good name, what are these creatures doing in your garden?
So many Daddy Long Legs have crawled on me this week, I was beginning to wonder if I was wearing a color they liked or if I smelled like food. I know enough about daddy long legs not to be afraid of them…they usually brush right off. But I was beginning to wonder why there were so many!
If I had just known another common name for this leggy creature, “harvestmen”, I could have guessed what they do. They “harvest” or eat bugs, especially aphids. So once again, I discovered I have yet another friend in the garden, helping me produce food and flowers. There were two good reasons Daddy long legs were in my garden. I had lots of aphids and I had been irrigating so everything was nice and moist which these arachnids like. I may think I do all the work in the garden, but while I’m puttering around pulling weeds, the beneficial daddy long legs is eating aphids, helping keep my garden healthy. It also eats other bugs and mites, dead insects and bird droppings. Yum.
Daddy Long Legs are our friends and not something to fear or kill. They are related to the spider family but have no venom sac and no fangs. So we are safe from harm. When they were crawling all over me I assume it was just because I was kneeling in the way of their dinner….the aphids on the plant next to me.
Sometimes the best way to learn is by watching videos made for kids….here’s a great National Geographic video for kids about daddy long legs! video.nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/animals-pets-kids/bugs-kids/spider-daddylonglegs-kids/