The Q&A Archives: Daddy-Long-Legs

Question: I am growing blackberries out in my backyard, and they are right at the edge of a wood. However, the problem is that there are these daddy-long legs, quite huge actually, and they are all over the plants. When I want to pick a berry, there they are, right by or on the berry. I don't think they are harmful, but they do scare me. Is there anyway to rid my blackberries of these annoying and scary pests? Thanks.

Answer: Though daddy-long-legs are related to spiders, they are from the order Opiliones. I understand your fear of them, because as children my brother and I found daddy-long-legs in the basement and chased our older sister with them. She was afraid of them and it was our way of retaliating because she was "in charge" when my parents were gone!

Perhaps it would help if you could try to change your view of them from frightening to beneficial, as the daddy-long-legs are not injuring your plants. They are actually doing you a service by eating flies, aphids and leafhoppers, all pests that can do damage in your garden. You could try shaking the canes to try to knock them off before picking the fruit. Also, keeping the patch well pruned will help you see the creatures before they startle you. One thing to remember is that the creatures are quite nearsighted, so if they appear to be approaching you, it's just coincidence--they're not scaring you on purpose!

I wouldn't recommend spraying anything stronger on your berries. And though you could spray the plants with a hose before picking to knock off the insects, then you'd have wet berries that wouldn't keep as long. I hope this information helps. There is a very interesting web site on daddy-long-legs at

Thanks for writing!

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