Although insects truly do fascinate me, I don’t read up on them to the extent that Em does. I’m worse than a kid when it comes to bugs. I poke them, circle them with water, put twigs and leaves in their path, mound dirt on them, or bring another bug into the picture in the hopes that there will be a fight to the death. I used to have a pond in the backyard of our old house. I would sometimes put bugs on the lily pads and watch them figure it out. Simply put, I’m immature and like to ef with bugs.
The other day while taking out the trash, my daughter spotted a caterpillar being attacked by ants. It took her longer than usual to get back into the house, so when she finally came back I asked her if she was okay. She said, “Yeah, there’s a caterpillar being attacked by ants, so I was watching for a bit.” I replied, “What??? Why didn’t you tell me?” So we all squatted on the driveway watching the caterpillar being attacked by ants.
It was sort of disappointing though. The ants didn’t tear it apart like they did the cockroach on the driveway the other week. They actually tore the cockroach’s head off.
The other week, I sent my kids out scorpion hunting for a few nights to pay off their texting bill. Well, actually my son’s texting bill, and my daughter just wanted to go for fun. Not that his bill was outrageous. He wanted texting added to his phone and it’s $10 a month, so I give him random “chores” once a month to work it off. Scorpion hunting was for the month of October.
They went out at night armed with a black light and a can of Raid Max Spider and Scorpion Killer. They found 15 scorpions in all. You might say we have an infestation. They gave me all the gory, delicious details. I guess once the scorpions were sprayed, they would start rolling around and sting themselves repeatedly. I wish I could have seen that, but I was busy with bed-time mommy duties.
Anyway, back to my immaturity regarding bugs. At our old house, we had a dry river bed (fake, not real) in our front yard where all the bugs LOVED to hang out. About once a month, my oldest daughter and I would flush them out with water. Crickets, beetles, wolf spiders, roaches, more crickets, random spiders, and other nondescript bugs would jump and scurry out of those rocks once that water hit. This mass exodus would be met by a wall of Raid.
My daughter just reminded me that I used to use Lysol when we ran out of Raid. She said, “Mom, don’t you remember? You used to spray the crap out of them with Lysol when we couldn’t find any Raid.”
Raid was pretty much the only chemical I used in my yard. I used diatomaceous earth around the house for insect control. When I flushed those critters out, I needed something that killed on contact and DE just didn’t cut it.
I didn’t wage war on all bugs in my yard. I did let some have a free pass and actually encouraged them to take up residency in my plants – praying mantises, ladybugs, and some garden spiders, as well as butterflies, honey bees, and dragonflies. Like I said, insects fascinate me – except for ants. I hate ants.
I have to admit that I love praying mantises though. They are ultimately the most fascinating insect I have run across in my garden so far. And the most unnerving. I had one scream at me once while it was perched on a tree branch. I didn’t know they screamed. That’s not what unnerves me about them though. What gives me the willies is that they will watch you. Seriously. They turn their little bug-eyed insect heads and watch you. And it looks like they’re thinking too.
So this section will be devoted to our adventures with insects: familiar and mysterious. Oh, I almost forgot. We also have lizards in our backyard. I might post about them as well.