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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where have all the toads, bees, lightning bugs, crickets. . . gone???

Kitties can play safely in the yard, free of harmful chemicals.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
       Here in Florida, there's no shortage of insects and other small creatures, but some that were quite common a few years ago seem to have disappeared.  We've probably all heard that  farmers worry about the pollination of certain crops because there is a drastic decrease in bees.  
            How long has it been since you've seen a cricket?  They use to sing in the trees and grass, but I haven't heard one in ages.  When I was a child we spent many early evenings chasing lightning bugs (fireflies).  I've seen a few in North Carolina when I visit my daughter, but in the past ten years, not even one here in Florida.  Toads and frogs are in very short supply, and  lizards that used to scurry off the sidewalk when I walked past are just not here this year.  
          Maybe this disappearing is happening only in my city in Florida and there is a bountiful number of creatures in other places.   In my neighborhood, I think the small wildlife have been poisoned into oblivion.  Hardly a day goes by that a big truck with hoses and tanks full of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers does not pull up and spray every inch of someone's yard on my street.  
        When I see the truck, I grab the cat and we both go inside.  I never poison my yard and quite honestly, the grass looks as good as that of most of my neighbors. In the back yard, several of us share a pond where turtles, water birds and fish live.  I've seen the sprayers go right to the edge of the pond. That can't be good.  My personal crusade is to get rid of yard poisons.  I doubt if any of the aforementioned insects and small reptiles will come back, but maybe other species will be saved.  The sprays aren't good for humans either.  Maybe that is one reason more cancer and weird diseases are present now.
        I won't even discuss the zillions of Florida golf courses that spray and use massive amounts of water to keep the greens beautiful.  They are beautiful, but it is a large price to pay. How about fewer golf courses.  That's a start.  
         Okay, you say, what's a few crickets and bees in the great scheme of the world.  Golf courses entertain thousands and provide income for many others.  But when do we draw the line?  We can't wait until all life has disappeared. We might be next.
         I enjoy plants.  Even when I'm driving down the road, I study them, the weeds as well as the cultivated ones.  I also like beautiful lawns and landscaping, but rather than take the quick spray-them-to-death attitude, we need to work with nature and provide natural insect deterrents. We need to plant native trees and shrubs that are local to a region and do not require over tending.  

Unsprayed, my lawn looks as good as my neighbors.

Chemicals sprayed near the water are harmful to these ducks.

Bella can play safely in the yard.


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