The itsy bitsy spider can make a big impact in agriculture

new study explores how conservation agriculture in southern Africa supports spider populations and diversity in fields, which could help mitigate pest damage and potentially lead to higher yields for farmers.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), herbivorous insects such as aphids, caterpillars and weevils destroy about one fifth of the world’s total crop production each year. Spiders can help keep voracious pests in-check, but conventional farming practices (e.g. tilling, crop residue removal and monoculture) can harm or drastically reduce these beneficial bio-control agents.