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There Were No Tumbleweeds In The Old West

  • čas přidán 20. 02. 2024
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    Perhaps no other plant is as synonymous with the American West as the tumbleweed. But they’re surprisingly new to North America, in fact, they’re an invasive species that didn’t show up until the very end of the “Old West” period. And they’ve become quite a problem over the years. Today we’re looking at the tumbleweed, how it came from the steppes of Russia to become an icon of the American West.
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    0:00 - Intro
    2:21 - How Did Tumbleweeds Get Here?
    4:02 - Buffalo Bill
    7:50 - The Biology of the Tumbleweed
    11:55 - Monster Tumbleweed
    16:15 - Sponsor - Brilliant
  • Věda a technologie

Komentáře • 1,9K

  • @salt-emoji
    @salt-emoji Před 5 měsíci +609

    As someone who cleaned tumblrs in highschool, theyre awful. The only thing that can confidently stop the barbs is leather and the only time you're cleaning them is when it's 100° outside.

    • @1pcfred
      @1pcfred Před 5 měsíci +16

      Sweat can make leather soft.

    • @annwilliams6438
      @annwilliams6438 Před 5 měsíci +6


    • @toweypat
      @toweypat Před 5 měsíci +15

      I'm not doing jack squat when it's 100 degrees outside!

    • @Zenithxblack
      @Zenithxblack Před 5 měsíci +6

      The devil's bush

    • @DarkElfDiva
      @DarkElfDiva Před 5 měsíci +48

      High school Tumblrs can't be cleaned. Just spend 10 minutes on that hellsite and you'll agree, I'm sure.

  • @Eric.Swartz
    @Eric.Swartz Před 5 měsíci +218

    My dad says he started a job in west Texas in the 70s and drove into the parking lot. He noticed one section without cars and thought it seemed like an ideal place to park. He came out at the end of the day and his car was buried in tumble weeds. That's why no one parked there.

    • @assininecomment1630
      @assininecomment1630 Před 5 měsíci +4

      Oh ffs...@@RachelWilliams-um1en 🙄

    • @bigguy7353
      @bigguy7353 Před 4 měsíci +6

      This video is false. The Old West existed pre 1865 to begin, and part of that was areas that have tons of tumbleweeds.

    • @quix66hiya22
      @quix66hiya22 Před 4 měsíci +12

      @@bigguy7353but the tumbleweeds weren’t there then. Still in Russia.

    • @-oiiio-3993
      @-oiiio-3993 Před 4 měsíci +3

      @@bigguy7353 They do now, not so then.

  • @deathbagel
    @deathbagel Před 5 měsíci +145

    There are other plants that form tumbleweeds that are native to Western North America. Here in Nevada our state "flower" is the Sagebrush, which is very capable of forming tumbleweeds when they die, I have seen more of them than I could possibly count.

    • @michellecornum5856
      @michellecornum5856 Před 5 měsíci +18

      Yes. Russian thistle is not the only one.

    • @desperadox7565
      @desperadox7565 Před 5 měsíci +13

      That's what I thought. There can't be only one kind.

    • @larrydlam
      @larrydlam Před 5 měsíci +19

      Came here to say this. There are many other types of plants that cause tumbleweeds that are native to North America.

      @SUNCITYOUTLAW Před 5 měsíci +12

      Like tumbling pigweeds, I hate them equally as tumbleweeds.

    • @arkroogs90
      @arkroogs90 Před 5 měsíci +15

      Yeah I came here to say this too. I live in the desert of southern California and there are native brush plants that form tumbleweeds.

  • @RandomTorok
    @RandomTorok Před 5 měsíci +83

    As a child growing up on the Canadian prairie in the 60s I was very familiar with tumbleweed. I never saw anything the size of the one's you showed. One summers day a group of bored kids decided to build a house out of tumbleweed. We collected the stuff off a fences in the area and piled them up into walls. Unfortunately at one point a gust of wind collapsed the walls and several kids were trapped under a pile of tumbleweed. (I never wore shirts or pants during the Saskatchewan summer) Well every adult from miles around was called into getting us out. It was a very painful summer. One my father laughed about till the day he died.

  • @brandilking
    @brandilking Před 5 měsíci +107

    My dog and I were traveling I-40 through TX, stopped for gas and a potty break near Vega. Piper saw a tumble weed coming for her while walking, and I’ve never seen a pit bull run so fast for the car. 😂

    • @sandyg.4994
      @sandyg.4994 Před 5 měsíci +17

      My Border Terrier used to chase them, bark fiercely at them … until one stabbed him, lol. Lord love a dog.

    • @djmajiktuch82
      @djmajiktuch82 Před 5 měsíci +4

      Hahaha! That’s funny!!

    • @Soundbrigade
      @Soundbrigade Před 5 měsíci +4

      Shure it was a pit bull and not a poodle or any of the many kinds of handbag dogs.

    • @brandilking
      @brandilking Před 5 měsíci +8

      @@Soundbrigade lol the “mean looking” dogs are the biggest babies. She barked, it moved, she RAN 🤣

    • @Soundbrigade
      @Soundbrigade Před 5 měsíci +5

      @@brandilking Guess a boxer would haver played with it for hours though. But I notice that bid dogs seldom bark, while small ones ALWAYS make a lot of noise.
      Been to the West 3 times but I cannot recall we ever saw any tumbleweed.🤔

  • @PeterMancini
    @PeterMancini Před 5 měsíci +30

    I've been working on a game based in the old west. You would think that through all of my reading I would have come across the fact that tumbleweeds didn't show up until late in the period. Now I'm just blown away which is what I've come to expect from this lovely channel!

    • @Skinflaps_Meatslapper
      @Skinflaps_Meatslapper Před 5 měsíci +4

      The old west looked different in a lot of ways, particularly areas in Texas and New Mexico where the entire biome has changed due to the introduction of mesquite and tumbleweed.

    • @elizabethnavarre7972
      @elizabethnavarre7972 Před 3 měsíci +3

      "Blown" away... ha ha ha!

  • @EmilySmirleGURPS
    @EmilySmirleGURPS Před 5 měsíci +584

    Your editor deserves a raise.

    • @mementomori29231
      @mementomori29231 Před 5 měsíci +17

      Hilarious editor 😂

    • @lukasketner
      @lukasketner Před 5 měsíci +14

      fr. That smells like an off-the-clock joke of passion.

    • @GodlessVoice
      @GodlessVoice Před 5 měsíci +3

      Or at least a bonus for this episode!

    • @callisonjill
      @callisonjill Před 5 měsíci

      Wish they'd spelled Mennonite correctly.

    • @dirtrider88
      @dirtrider88 Před 5 měsíci +3

      @@callisonjill they missed one letter, relax. it could have been a typo

  • @anselml2928
    @anselml2928 Před 5 měsíci +11

    I noticed a increasing usage of metric units as the primary units in your video. As an metric user I appreciate this very much.

  • @whyjnot420
    @whyjnot420 Před 5 měsíci +16

    I think the way tumbleweed reproduces is quite amazing. It might not be the best plant to have around, but credit where credit is due.

  • @Jacob-ly8vs
    @Jacob-ly8vs Před 5 měsíci +21

    I spent all my summers from high school through college battling these things in California with lots of roundup, shovels, and pitchforks. It's a fight I've given up on, but I'm glad others have taken up the mantle. These plants are smart, painful, and more prolific than you could ever hope to get a handle on.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci +1

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊😊😊

  • @Skotzenn
    @Skotzenn Před 5 měsíci +26

    A few years ago I moved to a ranch in the Arizona desert from New England. I was out putting some tools away on an overcast night when I heard something coming right towards me in the dark, something big, and it was moving fast. It went quiet and I was properly scared when suddenly the scurrying sound picked up again coming towards me with alarming soeed. . . and it was a tumbleweed.

    • @brandilking
      @brandilking Před 4 měsíci +3

      Haha too funny. I’m currently living in Phoenix, and when it gets “desert quiet”, it can get spooky when you hear something you can’t quite identify. That would have freaked me out too. 🫣😬

  • @WillTellU
    @WillTellU Před 5 měsíci +12

    You know, you always only see the dried up tumbleweeds, the ones that actually tumble, but the actual plants is pretty nice. I never actually connected them with the ones growing here before.

    • @Skinflaps_Meatslapper
      @Skinflaps_Meatslapper Před 5 měsíci +4

      They're not a particularly pretty plant on their own but they're not eyesores either, and while they're still tender and green they can make a desert landscape look temporarily lush. It pays you back in spades when it becomes woody and dries out though.

  • @M.M.D.
    @M.M.D. Před 5 měsíci +72

    I was this many years old when I found out that there were no tumbleweeds in the old west! This blew my mind! When I was a kid, back in 1977, we made a family car trip out west, (I'm still seeing a therapist) and dad brought home a tumbleweed. We used to put Christmas lights in it until it disintegrated.

    • @Ainar86
      @Ainar86 Před 5 měsíci +12

      Rusty? Rusty Griswold? That you?

    • @hellomjb
      @hellomjb Před 5 měsíci

      Holiday roooooooaaaaaad!!

    • @sandyg.4994
      @sandyg.4994 Před 5 měsíci


    • @davidanderson2357
      @davidanderson2357 Před 5 měsíci +3

      Let me guess. Dad would draw lots to see who HAD to try to put the star on top, without getting shredded by thorns.

    • @tedwalford7615
      @tedwalford7615 Před 5 měsíci +1

      Yep. Lived in New Mexico, and decorated tumbleweeds for Christmas.

  • @jonathanhansen3709
    @jonathanhansen3709 Před 5 měsíci +51

    When I was growing up in Central California, in the mid-1960s, I remember people making tumbleweed ‘snowmen’ at Christmas time, by stacking three tumbleweeds together, and spray painting them white. They put a hat, scarf, eyes and buttons on it using different items. But it kind of look like a snowman only made with tumbleweeds.

    • @cgrable8342
      @cgrable8342 Před 5 měsíci +11

      We used the same technology in 1959, we stacked them up, sprayed them green and hung home made decorations on it. It was our Christmas tree. (it was a lean year)

  • @mpetersen6
    @mpetersen6 Před 5 měsíci +25

    There are other invasive plant species. Kudzu is the poster child. Another one is Wild Cucumber. It will grow over everything given the chance. It has been used as an ornamental. Can actually be quite pretty. It can look like it has frosting.

    • @kacheek9101
      @kacheek9101 Před 5 měsíci +9

      It's only called invasive if its non-native. Otherwise its just aggressive
      (Virginia creeper is the native I battle)

    • @oregonsenior4204
      @oregonsenior4204 Před 2 měsíci

      Invasives? Cheatgrass - another miserable, flammable grass. English Ivy is no slouch-- will strangle trees. And Himalayan Blackberry-- North America has native blackberries, but the Himalayan blackberry out-competes them. In the PNW, it will take over lots. It will cover houses if you don't cut it back.

  • @kevinmhadley
    @kevinmhadley Před 5 měsíci +6

    Many years ago I was driving across the United States, east to west. Driving in shifts, I was driving in the middle of the night while the others in the car slept. There were not many cars on the road, it was quiet in the car, and I was in that autopilot mode you fall into on long straight highways like that.
    Then, out of nowhere, a large tumbleweed rolled across the road right in front of me.
    That shook me to attention and my natural driver reactions woke everyone up.
    Nothing hurt but my pride.

  • @rhov-anion
    @rhov-anion Před 5 měsíci +7

    That tumbleweed animation was sweet.
    My aunt lived near Barstow. I remember being excited to see a tumbleweed for the first time... and didn't realize THEY HAVE THORNS. I thought they were fluffy for some reason. Hard lesson learned.

  • @MikeP2055
    @MikeP2055 Před 5 měsíci +7

    This was so fascinating! I grew up and still live in the west (Utah) and had no idea they were invasive. Hell, I was just outside pulling weeds and threw a tumbleweed away that had blown against the fence, so wild timing.
    I wonder how the Russian olive tree made it to North America? They're EVERYWHERE out here in the west. For the most part, they're just glorified bushes, but I've seen some big ole proper tree-looking suckers as well. When they bloom in late May/early June, millions of tiny yellow blossoms completely cover them. The aroma of those blossoms is my favorite smell in the world. It's permanently associated with school letting out for summer break and all the shenanigans we'd get into.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊

  • @r0cketplumber
    @r0cketplumber Před 5 měsíci +209

    In 1977 after a windstorm, tumbleweeds buried the main entrance of my high school in Colorado Springs all the way to the roof line, building a drift that grew until the late arrivals simply rolled over the building completely. It took earthmoving equipment, wood chippers, and trucks to haul the mess away.

    • @davidanderson2357
      @davidanderson2357 Před 5 měsíci +37

      Because Snow Day was getting a little too predictable.

    • @user-zn4pw5nk2v
      @user-zn4pw5nk2v Před 5 měsíci +9

      Just build a diverse wall of trees, trees slow down wind and give space for tumbles to fall inside when piled up higher than the trees. Plus wild animals living in said forest could munch on the young tumbles. Just clear it up regularly until you get a forest.

    • @l-wook
      @l-wook Před 5 měsíci +5

      Yay no school

    • @r0cketplumber
      @r0cketplumber Před 5 měsíci +13

      @@l-wook Nope, the school opened- we just all had to use doors that weren't blocked. It probably was a fire hazard, but we were made of tougher stuff back then.

    • @skylerakers1989
      @skylerakers1989 Před 5 měsíci +8

      @@r0cketplumber No you weren't

  • @bobharris7401
    @bobharris7401 Před 5 měsíci +9

    Absolutely great video as always. However, this one struck home. My Russian wife and I visited the southwest 25 years ago a found tumbleweed on the road and took it by plane back to FL, where we proudly display it. We will never look at our prize the same way again. 😜

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊😊😊😊

  • @geoffreypiltz271
    @geoffreypiltz271 Před 5 měsíci +16

    Fighting a foreign species with another foreign species worked in Australia to control the Prickly Pear cactus (they used a moth called appropriately Cactoblastis cactorum).

    • @wiseoldfool
      @wiseoldfool Před 5 měsíci +3

      And cane toads are a big problem.

    • @gorillaau
      @gorillaau Před 4 měsíci +2

      ​ @wiseoldfool Ahhh. Yes. The Cane toad. It was introduced the control the cane beetle. Long story short, it didn't work.

    • @enider
      @enider Před 3 měsíci

      It’s a dangerous path to start down. The rabbit was introduced to Australia to control an invasive toad population but then became an even more invasive species

    • @slogun6822
      @slogun6822 Před měsícem

      ​@@gorillaauSo disgusting when you go out with a torch at night in tropical Qld..Trillions of giant slimy glowing eyes..

    • @gorillaau
      @gorillaau Před měsícem

      @@slogun6822 Don't go outside at night, or the toads will get you!

  • @jonedwards2107
    @jonedwards2107 Před 5 měsíci +4

    Was in the Air Force in Wyoming, lived in a trailer on the southern edge of Cheyenne. Used a tumbleweed for a Christmas tree, tied a single bullet in it. Had a cartridge in a bare tree.

    • @wiseoldfool
      @wiseoldfool Před 5 měsíci

      I see what you did there!

    • @onyourwing5696
      @onyourwing5696 Před 5 měsíci

      ...wipes a tear from the laughter... thnx for that!

  • @mskellyrlv
    @mskellyrlv Před 5 měsíci +6

    Great video! I never realized what a relatively recent phenomenon tumbleweeds are. Seems like they'd make a great renewable fuel source - plus a tremendous source of cadmium, for anyone looking for extra cadmium to attempt to get rid of without poisoning the biosphere! You might look into a similar invasive species for a future video: prickly pear cactus. It seems like prickly pear is almost as much a symbol of the Old West as tumbleweeds were thought to be. However, my wife and I went on a Mediterranean cruise earlier this year, and visited several spots from Naples southward along the Italian mainland coast, and a number of Sicilian islands, including Sicily itself. We were astonished at the fact that the dominant plant species, by far, was prickly pear cactus. Having lived in the southwestern U.S. half our lives, we were quite familiar with the plant, but never, ever saw it in such quantity over here. Turns out that it isn't native to Italy or Sicily, but was brought there by Spaniards in some century or other. They now have enough to supply the whole world with it, if the world could think of something to use it for. Maybe it could be dumped on top of tumbleweeds to keep them from tumbling...

    • @Skinflaps_Meatslapper
      @Skinflaps_Meatslapper Před 5 měsíci

      Ah, you just weren't looking in the right spots then, because pear is a huge problem in Texas. There are places where no grass or other plants grow, it's an entire monoculture of pear in giant clumps ranging in size between a truck and a house, surrounded by bare soil (or hard pan/rock due to topsoil erosion as a result). Other places still have native vegetation surviving but are so overrun by pear that large swaths of land are effectively impassable on foot...it's like a cactus maze without an actual path.

    • @chrismuir8403
      @chrismuir8403 Před 4 měsíci +1

      They are native to the US west and Mexico, and here they usually don't cause problems as there are natural predators' here. The small pads (size of your hand) are harvested and de-thorned and cooked for food. Quite good, with a green bean flavor, called "Nopales". It grows beautiful flowers which, if pollenated, form tasty fruit that has to be dethorned, peeled and the seeds strained out. Makes a really tasty ice cream.

  • @entrepreneursfinest
    @entrepreneursfinest Před 5 měsíci +4

    Most of the old west wasn't badlands and what we call prairie was actually all grasslands. Explorers said the grass was tall enough to tie into a knot above your saddle. Fences and the destruction of the buffalo turned grasslands into prairie, prairie into badlands, and badlands into near desert.

  • @jackvalior
    @jackvalior Před 5 měsíci +308

    The idea that tumble weed started existing at the later part of the "Old West" era gives me this itch to re-imagine old west stories not just as romanticization of the Western ideals but also as the dying air of a once new world. That this once foreign land has now been so thoroughly infiltrated by the newcomer that little is left to explore except the stories of those around us at the end of an era.

    • @Raycloud
      @Raycloud Před 5 měsíci +6

      Just set in the modern day.

    • @kumarg3598
      @kumarg3598 Před 5 měsíci

      Thats malcolm gladwells thinking as well

    • @HansMilling
      @HansMilling Před 5 měsíci +4

      I played Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s like taking part of a wester. That game and story is just so well built and put together.

    • @radiofreeacab
      @radiofreeacab Před 5 měsíci +1

      Wow that sounds incredibly generic

    • @jimmychu7917
      @jimmychu7917 Před 5 měsíci +2

      ​​​@HansMilling it's easily one of the best games ever made, a true piece of fine art. I recommend it to everyone, even people who don't really play video games.

  • @michellecornum5856
    @michellecornum5856 Před 5 měsíci +4

    Here in Colorado, we grow both Russian thistle and Kochia (Kochia scoparia) as our tumbleweeds. I only know this because I am allergic to both -- one when it is both green and when it dries out, and the other, only when it is dry. I have forgotten which is which, because it doesn't really matter, I simply avoid both.

  • @clueless4085
    @clueless4085 Před 5 měsíci +4

    I've watched every video you've ever put out (including on nebula) and can't get enough. I've even rewatched most of them.
    I love what you do and the way you do it. I've learned about and become interested in SO MUCH stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise. Thanks for all your hard work.
    All the best, Joe. I look forward to the next upload.

  • @NandR
    @NandR Před 5 měsíci +3

    Yeah kudzu is our tumbleweed. Luckily it's easier to isolate as we aren't fighting a plant that travels with the wind. But there are just whole areas of the forest that are covered in it. One of my first memories is asking about these two giant green things near our house. Someone jokingly said they were giants. They were dead pine trees covered in kudzu. You'll constantly see old houses covered in the stuff. And when they dry out in the winter they not only turn the area a dark brown and grey eyesore, but they can be a fire hazard as well. Plus the whole ruining the native environment thing.

  • @catiefast942
    @catiefast942 Před 5 měsíci +4

    I had no idea about all this info about tumble weeds! So interesting.
    I always learn so much from your videos. Plus, you are entertaining!

  • @RobertSavello
    @RobertSavello Před 5 měsíci +2

    As an American in the minority who uses the metric system in their daily life, I greatly appreciate that you are using the metric system. Don't stop. It's great.

  • @185MDE
    @185MDE Před 5 měsíci +89

    So all the old west movies my grandpa made watch… my entire life is built on lies!

    • @alancrawford8749
      @alancrawford8749 Před 5 měsíci +8

      Speedometer on a DeLorean doesn't go over 85. That broke my mind.

    • @bishopp14
      @bishopp14 Před 5 měsíci +4

      ​@@alancrawford8749Wait, are you serious??

    • @catmomjewett
      @catmomjewett Před 5 měsíci +3

      🤭 I still love tumbleweeds! 😢 Just finished watching video. Just broke up with tumbleweeds. 🤯

    • @_Ben___
      @_Ben___ Před 5 měsíci +1

      How is the comment from 5 days ago?

    • @dang9668
      @dang9668 Před 5 měsíci +2

      Welcome to America: fake it till you make it, it’s all built on lies! 😂🎉

  • @me0wcifer
    @me0wcifer Před 5 měsíci +1

    I grew up in Yankton South Dakota and I wasn’t aware of this! Thanks for the fun tidbit I can share about my hometown. I look forward to your videos every week. Thanks Joe!

    • @DarkElfDiva
      @DarkElfDiva Před 5 měsíci

      So THAT'S where Rockstar got the name North Yankton for the place you start out in in GTA V.

  • @sideshowratt
    @sideshowratt Před 5 měsíci +2

    I grew up vacationing in rural far-west Texas and everybody out there is taught to identify and pull up baby tumbleweeds. And they do pop up literally everywhere. They're like dandelions.

  • @rickkaylor7949
    @rickkaylor7949 Před 5 měsíci +3

    Good educational video. Living in the west I've always known tumbleweeds. Another evasive plant in California is black mustard (also edible) it is everywhere. At least it's pretty. I was driving just south of Bakersfield a few years ago and during a windstorm there were so many tumbleweeds going across Highway 99 that traffic came to a standstill. It was like an alien invasion.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊😊😊

  • @surly_mel
    @surly_mel Před 5 měsíci +3

    I don't know how you and your team come up with such interesting content, fantastic stuff! Had no idea tumbleweeds were an invasive species.

  • @Legit_Nic
    @Legit_Nic Před 5 měsíci +1

    I’ve been watching you since my freshman year of high school. I’m now about to go back to school to do what I really love. Thank you for inspiring me :)

  • @chasindigo
    @chasindigo Před 5 měsíci +210

    Australian native animals have worked out that the cane toad hearts aren't poisonous (yet) and flip the cane toad over and eat that part. Amazing isn't it.

    • @marlonmoncrieffe0728
      @marlonmoncrieffe0728 Před 5 měsíci +25

      Yes, nature abhors a vacuum.
      Eventually, things rebalance.

    • @malootua2739
      @malootua2739 Před 5 měsíci +28

      That IS amazing
      Did you know when they brought foxes to Australia they quickly changed color to match the envuroment?

    • @jooleebilly
      @jooleebilly Před 5 měsíci +10

      @@malootua2739Awesome, I didn't know that! Not surprised that the matching colors were selected for because they were more likely to survive, but I didn't know they brought them to Australia at all. And how they survived dingos and other predators.

    • @revmsj
      @revmsj Před 5 měsíci +17

      Yeah then they developed a super Aussie ass crocodile Dundee accent and a drinking problem!

    • @malootua2739
      @malootua2739 Před 5 měsíci +7

      @@revmsj that's what I love about them the most

  • @nixnox4852
    @nixnox4852 Před 5 měsíci +1

    I worked in SW Kansas agriculture for a few years, some things to note is that there are multiple "tumbleweeds", or plants that use wind and rolling behavior to spread seeds farther.
    Russian thistle (Salsola tragus, invasive) is the most famous tumbleweed (generally forming the roundest ones), and currently the most prolific. As mentioned, as the leaves are more spikes than leaves, and this gets worse as it matures with the flowers being yet more spikes. The low leaf surface area makes it hard to get good herbicide coverage. It's in the Amaranth family, which tends to have highly irritating pollen for which allergies are likely, though this seemed to have the least pollen compared to the next 2 cousins.
    Kochia (Bassia scoparia, invasive) also produces a major portion of current "tumbleweeds". This is known for becoming a striking red in the autumn, and there are some ornamental varieties planted for their color. Also in the Amaranth family, they produce a large amount of pollen that is especially bad for those prone to allergies. Last I checked, Kochia has 4 *different* modes of glyphosate resistance that had been discovered (independent genetics, they don't have all 4 at once. So far...). The mode I came across was for kochia to push the absorbed chemical into the leaftips, which would die, leaving the rest of the leaf alive. They are also fairly "hairy", which further adds to resisting herbicide droplets, and of course the leaves like to form a tiny spiky tip as they mature, with the flowers being spikes.
    Most "pigweeds", especially Tumble Pigweed (Amaranthus albus, invasive) are also prone to becoming tumbleweeds. There are many pigweeds native to the US (Amaranthus palmeri and Amaranthus retroflexus). The pollen from these seem to be between russian thistle and kochia in "badness". The leaves don't really become spiny, but as it matures it does make clusters of spines for "flowers".
    As you've probably noticed, all three weeds above are in the Amaranth family. They all like to form small spines, produce very allergenic pollen, form dense bushes, grow taller than christmas trees if fed like corn, and seem to quickly develop herbicide resistance. Once they bush up, you can kill the outside, but the middle tends to survive. Many times plants you thought were dead start sprouting new growth 2-3 weeks later. If you don't kill them early, while they are the size of a quarter, they become very hard to kill. So if your crop isn't perfect and able to shade them out (there's a reason why corn being 10ft tall is so useful), they become a horrible tangled spiky mess that will jam and burn up combines if you try to harvest through them. I fucking hate these things.
    Some of the larger mustards can also act as tumbleweeds, but are generally less likely to do so, and much smaller. The most common large mustard I saw was Tansy mustard (Descurania pinnata, native), but there is also a "Tumble Mustard" (Sisymbrium altissimum, invasive). Mustard pollen allergy isn't nearly as common as amaranth or grass, though it can still stink if you have a lot of it (like canola crops)
    Many grasses also make use of tumbling to spread seed, in particular many of you have problem seen Tumblegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis, native) or something like it piling up against a building somewhere. I typically saw this happen around schools.

  • @Drachenfrau
    @Drachenfrau Před 5 měsíci +2

    I got to see a tumbleweed "stampede" during a Haboob one hot, dry summer when I was on my way to a doctor's appointment in (I _think_ it was) 2016. For those who don't know what that is, a Haboob is a dust/windstorm (the word comes from Arabic, apparently). The sky had gone yellow & dark, there was a yellow haze on the air & the wind came up, sandblasting everything in it's path. Well, along with the wind & dust came 100's of tumbleweeds, rollin', rollin', rollin' across the highway. It was a very strange, even creepy, event.

  • @bgear6253
    @bgear6253 Před 5 měsíci +1

    The tumbleweed video - the history leson I didn't know i needed. I had no idea I could find 20 minutes about tumblewees so interesting!

  • @shedlife1745
    @shedlife1745 Před 5 měsíci +3

    Thanks so much for this channel. I love these topics. It's so interesting to know how we have been miss lead. Even if it's not by design.

  • @russelldunwoody4476
    @russelldunwoody4476 Před 5 měsíci +4

    Keeping it entertaining as always thank you Joe :)

  • @GarryCollins-ec8yo
    @GarryCollins-ec8yo Před 5 měsíci +50

    I lived in Clovis NM and used to watch the huge thunderstorms come across the desert pushing a very tall wall of dust and tumbleweeds. The town had a tumbleweed office to help with the cleanups. They were great to hit with your car, they would explode into fragments and dust.

    • @dennisthornton4434
      @dennisthornton4434 Před 5 měsíci

      Exactly and yet we had no tumbleweeds in the Old West. I guess they came after we settled the Old West.

    • @TC-hf8hg
      @TC-hf8hg Před 5 měsíci +5

      It sounds like glass shattering when that happened to my car once. The tumbleweed was easily bigger than my commuter car.

    • @davidanderson2357
      @davidanderson2357 Před 5 měsíci +3

      One year, the tumbleweeds were so prevalent they buried the tumbleweed office and the staff had to dig an escape tunnel.

  • @lindaseel9986
    @lindaseel9986 Před 5 měsíci +1

    I always heard of Tumble Weed as Sage Brush. I thought it was literally wild Sage. Like we use to season our Thanksgiving turkey. Live and learn. Thanks Joe.

    • @Drachenfrau
      @Drachenfrau Před 5 měsíci +1

      You weren't entirely wrong. Sagebrush does grow in big bushes, but, as far as I know, it doesn't detach when it's dead & dry to roll across the Prairie. Instead, it can grow in one place for up to a 100 years, as it grows a long taproot that can reach to the water table. It _is_ related to Culinary Sage, but I wouldn't recommend using it on your food--it's rather bitter. It might even be the plant that Tumbleweeds/Russian Thistle is hybridizing with to form those giant Tumbleweeds. Pity that Joe didn't tell us which plant it was mixing with to get that big. I looked it up & apparently, it's an _Australian_ Tumbleweed species that the Russian one hybridized with, called Salsola australis. So, not the Sagebrush.

    • @lindaseel9986
      @lindaseel9986 Před 5 měsíci

      @@Drachenfrau Thank you so much. I was seriously wondering if the culinary sage I have growing by my back door was going to turn into one of those monsters! 😀

  • @cannibalbananas
    @cannibalbananas Před 5 měsíci +2

    I've been told there's a tumbleweed farm near my mom's house in Wisconsin that boxes up and sells tumbleweeds to movie sets. Not sure if it's true, but when I first moved to the area I was confused as to why I'd sometimes see them rolling down the hill in just one stretch of road.

  • @amandaburnham8626
    @amandaburnham8626 Před 5 měsíci

    Edit is amazing! I re-watched the bit just to truly appreciate every detail ❤

  • @kirkmooneyham
    @kirkmooneyham Před 4 měsíci

    There was a picture of military personnel removing tumbleweeds in this video. The housing for married personnel on Cannon Air Force Base often gets piled up with tumbleweeds, and the lower-ranking enlisted personnel get detailed to go remove the mess. I learned about this through a family member.

  • @sandyg.4994
    @sandyg.4994 Před 5 měsíci +1

    Lol at the animation. My Border Terrier chased a tumbleweed. The tumbleweed won. He also decided to charge a cholla cactus. So much for that hike. 🤦🏻‍♀
    Joe, you are hilarious and informative. Love your videos.

  • @erzsebetkovacs2527
    @erzsebetkovacs2527 Před 5 měsíci +81

    Thank you, Joe. I've had no idea that tumbleweeds were and are for Americans what ragweed (Artemisia artemisiifolia) is for Hungarians (my country). Meaning, both of them are a pest, which grows on disturbed but uncultivated soil. It makes perfect sense that tumbleweeds were able to spread on the prairie as more and more people were moving in and starting the cultivate the soil.

    • @Ainar86
      @Ainar86 Před 5 měsíci +5

      Well, the word "weed" is right there in the name of both.

    • @Rejid
      @Rejid Před 5 měsíci +4

      Ragweed is also pretty bad in parts of America too! I know because I'm lucky enough to be allergic to it :)

    • @SewardWriter
      @SewardWriter Před 5 měsíci +3

      We've got ragweed in the US, too. My sinuses are currently screaming.

    • @MrBizteck
      @MrBizteck Před 5 měsíci +4

      Ragweed ... as a kid my dad used to pay me to go into the fields and chop the heads off before they flower. Luckily they never affected me. I used to love it. Really cut the crop down to the point my dad got a better price for his hay as it was so high quality. Cows can eat ragweed but it isnt good for them.

    • @desperadox7565
      @desperadox7565 Před 5 měsíci +1

      Ragweed is America's revenge for the tumbleweed.😂

  • @JimmysOldTimeRadioShow
    @JimmysOldTimeRadioShow Před 4 měsíci

    I just finished a concert tour across Manitoba and Saskatchewan during which I performed Tumbling Tumbleweeds. "Lonely but free I'll be found drifting along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds." I enjoyed this vid, thanks...

  • @ronwolenski-n8wcr
    @ronwolenski-n8wcr Před 5 měsíci +2

    There was a Outer Limits show where an alien species took over and controlled tumbleweeds in that area. That show scared the hell out of me and still scared of tumbleweeds to this day.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊😊😊

  • @RealLifeZatoichi
    @RealLifeZatoichi Před 5 měsíci +1

    "For a tumbleweed, death is just the beginning." 😂 laughed way harder than i should have

  • @sHorTaDaM2
    @sHorTaDaM2 Před 5 měsíci +1

    I had been told all the tufts of grass on the u.s. west coast were planted in one area to stop the sand and it ended up spreading everywhere all along the whole coast and causing major issues to many communities.

    • @Drachenfrau
      @Drachenfrau Před 5 měsíci

      Are you thinking of Iceplant? 'Cuz that stuff was planted to hold back sand dunes, & it spread all over the state of California to the point where it's along most roadways & beaches. It's a succulent that grows low to the ground, with thick, triangular cross-section leaves & grows daisy-like flowers in a number of colours, mostly pinks, but some yellow, creamy white or purple. It's definitely not a grass, but it can look like it from a distance.

    • @sHorTaDaM2
      @sHorTaDaM2 Před 5 měsíci

      @@Drachenfrau I've seen that as well but the one I'm talking about is a type of grass but it's highly invasive and has pushed out most native things especially in the dunes and beach areas in Oregon and Washington

  • @DennisNieves-fm4sl
    @DennisNieves-fm4sl Před 4 měsíci

    I drove through a big one in Arizona that rolled, tumbled, right in front of me driving at 70 mph. It turned to dust but damaged my grill and paint.
    I was happy that it didn't smash my windshield or made me lose control, but was hell expensive to buff out and replace a plastic grill.

  • @drewharrison6433
    @drewharrison6433 Před 5 měsíci +48

    I am currently at war with tumbleweed. As well as big sagebrush, which is native to the southwest but, not to the plateau I live on. Supposed to be a huge grassland but, some sheepherders overgrazed it for decades and now the two most common plants are Russian thistle and big sagebrush.

    • @mpetersen6
      @mpetersen6 Před 5 měsíci +9

      And that's why ranchers hate sheep herders. A lot if the desertification of the Middle East, North Africa and other regions has been partially blamed on sheep and goat herding.

    • @sarahrosen4985
      @sarahrosen4985 Před 5 měsíci +6

      This is interesting. I would expect goats to be perfect for eating into extinction young tumbleweed plants. Living in the Levant, our mayor brings in a herd of sheep every spring to graze the undergrowth to (so far) eliminate brush fires in our city. 47% of the municipal area is designated as parks and natural spaces so we have A LOT of weeds and brush. Win-win for everyone.

    • @littlewoodimp
      @littlewoodimp Před 5 měsíci

      Here in Wales, where there are more sheep than people, the struggle for upland meadows is real.

    • @lipstickcloud
      @lipstickcloud Před 5 měsíci

      Best of luck in your war efforts.

    • @Skinflaps_Meatslapper
      @Skinflaps_Meatslapper Před 5 měsíci +1

      @@sarahrosen4985 Goats are far better for this than sheep, and better for the environment in general. Sheep are worthless and will only eat pretty grass.

  • @1953bassman
    @1953bassman Před 5 měsíci +1

    On one trip to the Southwest about 15 years ago, while at a place of interest, we came across a bunch of tumbleweed. We had to move them out of the way in order to drive out.

  • @HissyFitPet
    @HissyFitPet Před 5 měsíci +1

    A suicidal bush from Russia….fascinating! I learn so much from you…and the Power of your Editor!

  • @vancel35
    @vancel35 Před 5 měsíci +1

    I drive for most of my travel, and I spend a LOT of time in the car, and some of those trips have been through tumbleweed storms. I've spent some time wondering if tumbleweeds would be useful in ethanol production. There's a metric boatload of them, they take almost nothing to grow, and if you grow them in giant nets, they're all captured as soon as they try to break away. Instead of a green house, it's just a giant net.

  • @richardfellows5041
    @richardfellows5041 Před 5 měsíci +5

    This was really a great video. I learned a lot. Another similar subject you might think about covering is the history of the improved Meyer lemon. Check out the book 'All Meyer Lemons are my children'. The author is a great guy and an old family friend.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊

  • @keilius
    @keilius Před 5 měsíci +1

    I have a bunch trying to grow in my backyard here in CO. Thankfully, they're actually easy to uproot by hand when they're young, but they grow thick so it's time-consuming.

  • @gwynn2528
    @gwynn2528 Před 5 měsíci +64

    This is so cool! The harbor I use to live in would fill up to the brim with a mass load of tumbleweeds. They’d come in silently and then the change of tide would happen and they would disappear like they never existed. All of us on our boats always wanted to wrangle a few and then drag them out to more open waters to light on fire for a little bonfire. We did not, thus we are still alive to tell the tale.

  • @pantheo9457
    @pantheo9457 Před 5 měsíci +1

    the tumbleweed animation was amazing, i applaud the editor!

  • @trumpetmom8924
    @trumpetmom8924 Před 5 měsíci +1

    When I first moved to Colorado and watched a tumbleweed blow across the road, I naively thought, “Cool! It IS just like in the westerns!” Then I had to clean a 4 foot pile of the things from out in front of my house, in strong winds, and essentially impaled my hands. Now I hate them. A lot. And now I know that they didn’t actually roll across the street in the middle of gun fights in the old west. Thanks, Joe!

  • @lipstickcloud
    @lipstickcloud Před 5 měsíci

    "For a tumbleweed, death is just the beginning."
    Beautifully put, I love your flair for the dramatic.
    From a fellow Gen X kid.

  • @sifridbassoon
    @sifridbassoon Před 5 měsíci

    I grew up in West Texas (outside of Lubbock), and we started seeing tumbleweeds every year around November. Many times, I remember seeing tumbleweeds blowing down the street (accompanied by dust) on Christmas Day. I'm so glad I don't live out there any more. BTW, a friend of mine who grew up in Georgia said that rattlesnakes liked to hang out in kudzu.

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊😊😊😊

  • @_Aarius_
    @_Aarius_ Před 5 měsíci +2

    14:40 thoss cane toads are also a massive problem on the east coast of Australia, they were introduced for the same reason and took over

  • @timholden6575
    @timholden6575 Před 5 měsíci +58

    I live in the Centra Oregon high desert. Tumbleweeds are everywhere. They're horribly annoying and a pain in the butt to control. Between these and Cheat Grass, the yardwork is never done.

    • @swordmonkey6635
      @swordmonkey6635 Před 5 měsíci +6

      I used to visit my aunt and uncle near LaPine and we'd go to Fort Rock every now and then. The delineation between green forest and desert is crazy. lol

  • @lucasmembrane4763
    @lucasmembrane4763 Před 5 měsíci +1

    That scalping was billed as the first scalp taken in revenge for Custer. Cody had been playing himself on Broadway when Custer's and his men were defeated. He went west to get involved in the follow-up, and took the scalp while wearing the same outfit he had worn on the NY stage. Then he went back on stage and added that feature into his act.

    • @onyourwing5696
      @onyourwing5696 Před 5 měsíci

      had forgotton about that lil tidbit, thnx!

  • @alexclason
    @alexclason Před 5 měsíci

    I used to love Fival Goes West as a kid. The scene at the end when the cat tries to do "the lazy eye" still makes me laugh so hard I get dizzy.

  • @absentmindedprof
    @absentmindedprof Před měsícem +1

    Hey Joe! Another invasive species you might want to investigate is crownvetch. Back in the 70s the Pennsylvania Highway Dept planted crownvetch in the state Highway system's berms. Turns out this plant grows like wildlife.

  • @eonarose
    @eonarose Před 5 měsíci +1

    Great job editor. We all appreciate your power.

  • @danielclemens1850
    @danielclemens1850 Před 5 měsíci

    I cant give you a precise reason why but this video took me back 3-4 years to when I first subscribed to you. Keep it up.

  • @benparker9313
    @benparker9313 Před 5 měsíci +26

    I had to laugh when after the entire bit about Wynd Witch sounding like a metal band, he revealed that they are actually called amaranths, when Amaranthe is an actual metal band.
    Great Vid as usual!

  • @abbym613
    @abbym613 Před 5 měsíci

    The tumbleweed animation was a PERFECT addition to the video. Your editor is amazing!! 🎉❤❤

  • @herrunsinn774
    @herrunsinn774 Před 5 měsíci +1

    02:21 Oh ya, Joe... I'm sure in 1880, self-sealing manilla envelopes with a nifty "open here" pull tab and a plastic bubble wrap lining were very popular for mailing weed samples. 😅🤣😂

  • @AceSpadeThePikachu
    @AceSpadeThePikachu Před 5 měsíci +1

    I noticed in some of the tumbleweed fire footage there seemed to almost be small tornadoes forming in the smoke. Firenadoes are a thing...imagine an EF 3 or higher firenado filled with thousands of giant burning tumbleweeds...

  • @tonyrainbolt9388
    @tonyrainbolt9388 Před 4 měsíci

    Your videos are always great. But this is the first time in a long while I stuck around for the commercial. Probably the best plug for Brilliant I've seen yet! Is is odd to get kudos for a commercial?

  • @obsidian....
    @obsidian.... Před 5 měsíci

    This is one of the best ones you've done in a very long time 👏👏👏

    • @RachelWilliams-um1en
      @RachelWilliams-um1en Před 5 měsíci

      Hi, I live in Austin Texas, I would like to keep friendship with you, if you don’t mind 😊😊

  • @jeanjaz
    @jeanjaz Před 5 měsíci +21

    I went to high school in Marana, AZ (near Tucson). Even in the 70s, the tumbleweeds would stack up against fences and houses and roll across roads. They were very hard to clean up and get rid of.

    • @DarkElfDiva
      @DarkElfDiva Před 5 měsíci +2

      Yeah there's an episode of Emergency! (a show from the 70s) where they have to clear tumbleweeds away from a house.

    • @jeanjaz
      @jeanjaz Před 5 měsíci

      @@DarkElfDiva I love that show! Talked to a young paramedic one time while being taken to the hospital in an ambulance - he was saying it was so unrealistic. He just didn't know how things were actually done in those days. Ha ha

  • @maefenner8512
    @maefenner8512 Před 5 měsíci

    I think this may be my favourite episode. 🤣 Well done!

  • @cg5081
    @cg5081 Před 5 měsíci

    Dang, he got me. I was getting ready to close the tab when he said wait don't click away. Well played sir. You earned my view of your ad read.

  • @bokononbokomaru8156
    @bokononbokomaru8156 Před 5 měsíci

    Loved this. As a kid, I lived in N. Dakota & I would interlock many tumbleweeds, hose them down, and let them freeze into a cheap & east fort. 😊

  • @neindanke3420
    @neindanke3420 Před 5 měsíci

    I just saw my first tumbleweed last month on a road trip to Wyoming. It was such a drastically different landscape than I'm used to.

  • @1234redwing
    @1234redwing Před 4 měsíci +1

    The big one for me with the realization that the Victorian period and West are pretty much the same periods was realizing all those gunfights in the wild West tradition are just extensions of dueling which was still very popular in most places

  • @stomtrooper_34
    @stomtrooper_34 Před 5 měsíci +177

    Here in Ukraine we call about 15-16 different species of steppe plants "perekotypole". It is better to translate this name as "fields roller" than how Joe translated it

    • @_D_P_
      @_D_P_ Před 5 měsíci +9

      What is the untranslated word you use for "fields roller"?

    • @Dockhead
      @Dockhead Před 5 měsíci +7


    • @_D_P_
      @_D_P_ Před 5 měsíci +10

      @@Dockhead ...I obviously meant the Ukrainian word.

    • @davidanderson2357
      @davidanderson2357 Před 5 měsíci +7

      When the wind is blowing in the right direction, you could attach tiny cluster munitions to them, with a remote detonator. Let the weeds roll over to the Russian trenches and then set them off.
      OR... attach small weights to their branches and let them roll over a minefield to clear the area.

    • @karinwolf3645
      @karinwolf3645 Před 5 měsíci +6

      That would weigh them down so they won't tumble. Good try, though. 🤷🙄

  • @messedupfmj
    @messedupfmj Před 5 měsíci

    Killed it Joe. Great video!

  • @billraleigh4529
    @billraleigh4529 Před 5 měsíci

    I just drove back east from Wa. and started seeing tumbleweeds startling me on the road starting from Idaho, I've driven various routes but this year I saw more than ever probably due to drought

  • @themexis
    @themexis Před 5 měsíci +1

    01:31 "Can turn a small wildfire into a nightmare"
    ohh...LITERALLY !! 🤯

  • @old_arsed_eldergoth2800
    @old_arsed_eldergoth2800 Před 5 měsíci

    I never click away until I've heard, "Love ya guys, take care!"- I need to hear that every week 😊 Love ya Joe!

  • @PolPotsPieHole
    @PolPotsPieHole Před 4 měsíci

    Here in central Colorado, the grade schoolers paint and decorate these things and then send them blowing in the wind, some they are able to track, crazy how far these things can travel

  • @benhobe
    @benhobe Před 5 měsíci +23

    We were having a squadron picnic in Fallon, NV. It was windy (actually formed a sand storm later), and a tumble weed went rolling though the softball field. A young sailor decided it would be fun to tackle it - it was not fun (for him). Everyone else was ROFL 😆

  • @-NightAngel
    @-NightAngel Před 5 měsíci

    I love that editors note but man was I hoping the cowboy was going to be cartwheeling 😂

  • @nlm6183
    @nlm6183 Před 2 měsíci

    We moved to Southern California in 1977, to a suburb east of Los Angeles. I remember tumbleweeds rolling down the street i lived on when i was 5.
    Never saw them after that, though.

  • @Paulkjoss
    @Paulkjoss Před 5 měsíci

    This was one of your better ones - surprisingly interesting 👍🏼

  • @marvinmauldin4361
    @marvinmauldin4361 Před 26 dny

    Decades ago I was driving an off white new 64 Impala on a highway near Lubbock, Texas, and the highway on the other side of the median had been resurfaced with tar. It was a hot day with a strong wind blowing from my left to my right. A two meter tumbleweed was wallowing in the low median after crossing the oncoming lanes. As I approached, it started climbing out of the median. I slowed up, it slowed up. I speeded up, it speeded up. When I got even with it, it sprang out of the median and crashed, or splashed, into the car, covering it with tar. I stopped at an old style gas station and used kerosene and rags to clean it off. I've hated tumbleweeds ever since, and have had them break headlights and grills on company vehicles. The only thing worse is hitting a hog or deer.

  • @michaelkalbfleisch4492
    @michaelkalbfleisch4492 Před 5 měsíci +27

    The Outer Limits managed to make tumbleweeds terrifying in their episode “Cry of Silence”

    • @louisegagnon7840
      @louisegagnon7840 Před 5 měsíci +4

      I saw tumbleweeds for the first time in this episode. I was young at the time and since then I’m terrified of this plant . Never saw one in real life because I live in eastern Canada.

    • @sandyg.4994
      @sandyg.4994 Před 5 měsíci


  • @JasonWelch
    @JasonWelch Před 5 měsíci +1

    I remember when moved to Vegas back in 2011 and saw my first tumbleweed.. honestly laughed way more than most sane people would.

  • @hanknichols6865
    @hanknichols6865 Před 4 měsíci

    I was a young soldier in 1974. I had never been west of the Mississippi River. I was driving my new car to FT Carson, Colorado. I was going about 90 mph on a nice, flat and straight road in a very remote area, somewhere in Kansas. It was there that I encountered my first tumble weed on the highway. It scared the hell out me. I wasn’t sure what it was. I needed pull over and catch my breath.

  • @nerdaccount
    @nerdaccount Před 5 měsíci

    North Dakota here... they are nuts especially when the wind is high and the get stopped by some fence and they really clump up. They are attractive plants when green. They do burn easily, so keeping a few around as fire starters can help.

  • @darkwhitedirewolf
    @darkwhitedirewolf Před 4 měsíci

    I remember a crazy old farmer telling me of contaminated flax seed in the Dakotas. I am from Idaho, these pests are everywhere. Cool refresher video, thanks