Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rating the bugs: Backyard edition.

Bumblebees
Nonaggressive and fun to watch. Good color pattern. Docked a grade because the story that they are aerodynamically incapabable of flight is not true. B

Ticks
They burrow into your skin and spread disease. They came straight from Hell's glove compartment. F

Ants
Icky, awful in the house, sometimes vicious. Still, you have to admire their industry and organization skills. C

Cabbage Flies
Since I'm not growing any cabbages, these pests don't annoy me. And their drunken, uncertain flight path makes them comical and cheerful. B

Woolly Bullies
Also called Woolly Bears; fuzzy, colorful, and cute, until you remember that in the center they're bugs. Still used for predicting the severity of the upcoming winter, but that's another myth. However, we know for a fact that it was not their own PR department spreading the myth, so I give them a pass. A

Yellow Jackets
As I've noted before, the Devil cannot create. He took the blueprint for friendly honeybees and made them into these poisonous death wasps. One day they will return to his evil domain. F

Moths
I admire their dedication to the porch lights, but dislike what they do to my wife's sweaters, and thus my wife, when they get inside. D

Mosquitoes
Are you kidding? Vicious, vampiric, disease-spreading itch machines. I want my DDT! F

Gnats
Completely useless, unless you were hankering for something small to fly into your eyes and mouth while you're working, and who wouldn't. Thank God they don't sting. D

Flies
The only use I've found for them is helping to locate the dog poop for removal. If we hadn't invented screens and air conditioning and stopped using animals for transportation (meaning crap all over the roads) they'd get an F; as it is, they're still close to failing. D

Butterflies
Who doesn't love butterflies? People who hate kittens and rainbows, that's who. A

Caterpillars
Probably shouldn't grade these separately from butterflies, moths, etc., but they serve completely different functions, those being... uh, becoming butterflies, moths, etc. Many perish before making it to flight school. But the potential is there. B

Millipedes 
Too many legs. Ick. D

Fireflies
Fireflies are probably the most beloved bug in the yard, because they light up at night, which is so freaking cool. Nothing else comes close to this kind of coolness. Other nocturnal bugs are almost uniformly annoying. Firefly FTW. A

Earthworms
Good for the lawn, but really dumb in the rain. Weeks after the last big flooding rain I still have carcasses all over the driveway. B

Termites
Little jerks tried to burrow into the planks around the garage door a couple of years ago. It was extremely difficult to replace those planks. Termites may be useful for cleaning up dead wood in nature, but I don't keep piles of dead wood around. And now that we're not allowed to soak our building materials in arsenic, they are renewing their assault on our homes. F

Crickets
Some hear their nighttime chirp as peaceful and soothing; others hear them as the party animals of the outdoors. Anyway, they stay out of my way during the day and I can't hear them at night over the stupid frogs, so they're a benign presence. B

Praying Mantises 
Bigger than most of the bugs we get in this hemisphere, and thus scary, but totally harmless to humans, and they do look devout. They eat pests, too. However, they probably spread the false rumor that it was illegal to kill a praying mantis, and the females eat the boys after mating, and sometimes just for lunch. C

Ladybugs
Cute and they eat aphids. A little creepy when I get a herd of them on the deck, but otherwise good. A

Pill Bugs
Harmless, not particularly icky, and when we were kids we liked to poke them to make them roll up. Actually, I feel a little guilty about that, which may have influenced my grade. A

Spiders
While I appreciate the fact that they want to eat up bad bugs like mosquitoes, they cannot possibly eat enough to really tamp down the population. So, they are not useful enough to justify their creepiness. And a big one tried to eat Samwise GamgeeD

Just step on all of 'em.
Combined Class Score
C. Clearly you're all going to have to improve, bugs, or we're going to have issues. Get your act together.
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