With the rose bushes doing so well, including the test breeds we are growing in pots, it was only a matter of time before the dreaded aphids found the plants and began to build a home in them, destroying the leaves and feeding off them until they were old enough to leave. Nope. Not going to happen. We noticed that one of the plants was seemingly not affected, with the exception of a few leaves lower down on the stems, so we wondered what was different. Turns out, it has a resident protector whom has been guarding the roses for us.
Meet Grand Daddy Long Legs. He hangs out on the top leaf and just watches the plant. Whenever something gets in it, he eats it. He works for his food, never complains, and we don’t even have to think about pests destroying the foliage because we know he’s got us covered. I normally hate spiders but this one and I have come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. I won’t throw him out or harm him; he keeps protecting my investment. (Update: Turns out Grand Daddy Long Legs here is probably not, actually, a spider, but an opilione!)
The coolest thing about this is that some plants, this particular rose bush included, realize when they are being eaten by aphids so they release a chemical to signal the natural predators of aphids to come and save the leaves. I’m guessing grand daddy heard the cries for help and showed up quickly. This is awesome because aphids are so horrible, they give birth to new female offspring, which are already pregnant. That is why they can be so difficult to eradicate. Not with this guy around to help.
I also appreciate that he stays in plain sight. I don’t have to worry about him crawling around and getting on us or anything. He hangs out at his perch and just wants to be left alone. I’m happy to oblige.