16 Interesting Facts about Bugs, Plants and Hummingbirds
1. You can calculate the temperature outside by listening to a cricket. Count the number of chirps you hear in 15 seconds and add 37. The sum will be the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. (i.e.: 10 chirps plus 37 equals 47 degrees).
2. Dragonflies can fly up to 20 miles per hour! They also hover and fly backwards. Dragonflies eat gnats, midges, beetles, moths, and mosquitoes so they are great for a garden.
3. The average caterpillar has 4,000 muscles. 248 of those muscles are in its head alone!
4. Hummingbirds keep mosquitos from your garden area and they help to pollinate your flowers.
5. The oldest living tree is believed to be 4,900 years old. It is a bristlecone pine found in the Wheeler Peak area of Nevada.
6. Earthworms have the strength to move stones that weigh 50 times their weight. Earthworms ingest soil and organic matter equal to the amount of their body weight each day. They also love coffee grounds.
7. Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasitic plant whose bloom has an odor similar to that of rotting meat. It grows in the rain forests of Indonesia.
8. Everyone knows that moss grows on the north side of a tree, but what if you can’t find any moss? Instead, find a tree that has been cut down and observe it’s rings. In the northern hemisphere, the rings will be slightly thicker on the southern side, which receives more light. The opposite is true in the southern hemisphere.
9. Trees have both a self-defense and communication system. When attacked by insects, trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics. Once a tree is attacked, it will “signal” to other nearby trees to also start their self-defense. Methods of communication include releasing chemicals into the wind and possibly even sending chemical or electric signals through the network of roots.
10. Caffeine is a natural herbicide. Tea and coffee grounds also make excellent compost as long as you don’t add too much. Coffee grounds make excellent mulch for acid-loving plants.
11. Cinnamon is an excellent natural fungicide. Mix in your potting soil when planting seeds to prevent damping off of the seedlings.
12. Garden hydrangeas’ color can be manipulated with the soil pH. Pink and red hydrangeas turn blue and purple in acid soils, while blue hydrangeas turn pink in alkaline soils.
13. In 17th Century Holland, Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold! The flower symbolized immortality, life and love. In many recipes, onions can be substituted for tulip bulbs.
14. Dandelions look like weeds, but the flowers and leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium. If you’d rather not take a bite out of a dandelion, there is always a dandelion root tea.
15. The agave grows for many years without sprouting any flowers. After an agave’s first bloom, it dies.
16. Gas plants produce a clear gas on humid warn nights. It is believed the gas can be ignited with a matchstick.