Thursday, September 1, 2016

The fiendish plans of bugs.

Fall will soon be here, now that it's September, and that doesn't mean we'll finally be free of the bugs. No, they'll start trying to move indoors. 

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I've weighed in on the varied talents and evils of backyard bugs earlier this year. The daddy long legs seen above is repulsive, but not the worst offender I've fought off. Carpenter ants, termites, even the humble moth can cause more damage, and more expensive damage.

Get a look at this:


What you see here are blades of grass and dead crickets. They have been stuffed atop the only expensive aperture in the house, the door to the deck. At first I thought it was a bird storing things for winter, but my wife quickly found the answer: the grass-carrying wasp.

Thanks for the photo, Clint Kelly of Iowa State!
Yes, this friendly little chap---friendly, because unlike many wasps he won't try to kill you for no reason---drops roofies on crickets and takes their paralyzed little bodies, and large strips of grass, back to his pad, where he stores them up until I open the door to use the grill and get a cricket-grass shampoo.

Mother Nature is a comedian.

This is just one of the weird things that bugs do that cause people to become entomologists. So many bugs have highly specific missions that make them fascinating. Ants creating gigantic colonies. Atlas moths making silk. Dung beetles rolling balls of crap. They're amazing!

And gross. Any that land on my property, it's swattin' time.
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