Tag Archives: insects

Bugs. Endlessly Entertaining.

Bugs. My endless source of entertainment. It all started in Council, Idaho when my Grandma handed me a magnifying glass and showed me how to fry ants..yeaahh. I fried ants. It’s ok though, I was 5 years old and when I realized that I was doing something horrible I stopped. So, no, I’m not a sociopath, or anything like that. Yes, I said Council. If you know where that is, and the population, then you know exactly why I was frying ants. I can’t believe I didn’t set the state of Idaho on fire during that summer.

I love spiders. I don’t want to hold them or keep them as pets or anything, I just like to look at them and then try to identify them before I either let them go or kill them, depending on the species. My spider fascination grew ten fold when I visited MJ a couple of years ago and found a bunch of black widow spiders in her garden. I literally armed myself with a can of Raid and a stick. Pretty soon I had a full on utility belt, glass jar and all. I literally took out at least 25 females from the garden area, all of the areas that we are active in, and the widows were HUGE!! We would keep them in jars on the back porch and check them daily. We would take a quarter and take pictures to show how big some of them were.

I just remembered we also found what we thought was a really cool toad. We took the toad and put it in the back garden thinking it would find a great home and how fairy-like it would be. At the airport on the way home I bought a book about venomous animals of AZ. Well, the toad was a Sonoran Desert toad. Highly poisonous and will kill your dogs if they get a hold of it. I called MJ in a panic to tell her to get that thing out of the yard, and make sure she uses gloves while she’s at it and we are lucky we lived! She had three dogs at the time and one was bound to catch the toad. Not to mention we were just lucky we didn’t get poisoned while playing with the darn thing. She had to dig it out of her huge compost pile that it made its home in..lesson learned!

One day, while searching for widows and scorpions, a man approached me from the house next door. He saw the can of Raid in my hand and asked me if I would kill a huge spider they found in their closet. I sized him up as the house was empty. I asked him what he was doing there, he told me they were getting the house ready for someone to move in. I thought about it..stood there, then said “OK, but if you try anything I will kill you with my Raid and this stick.” He laughed and said “I’m sure you would, but we are more afraid of this spider right now.” So, I enter the house and three grown men point to the room the spider is in and refuse to go any further. They said they had it in the closet, and just yell when I get it. I’m thinking “buncha’ chicken’s”. I open the closet door and there is the biggest spider I have ever seen in my entire life!! It was a big tan hairy wolf spider! I got it in the jar, I actually didn’t want to kill it right away, told them I “cleared” the room and walked out with the spider in the jar. One guy actually jumped and screamed like Flanders from The Simpson’s. It was great.

We don’t have big anything out here in Seattle let alone GIANT wolf spiders.

I love praying mantises and dragonflies. I love butterflies and lynx spiders. I just love to watch them. But the few that can hurt me, like wasps and brown spiders, those are gonna die. Sorry PETA, not down with getting bit by something that can make my skin turn black and fall off.

I found this wind scorpion under a rock..freaked me out, covered it back up and let it be..some things should be left to nature…others, not so much.

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Poke Them With A Stick…

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.

Seriously… Unicorns?

I enjoy reading about bugs. Yep, insects. I LOVE bugs, and anything venomous. My favorite books growing up were “Venomous Animals” by Robert Burton M.A., and “Master Snickup’s Cloak, by Alexander Theroux”, more about why I was reading about the Black Plague at 5 years old in another blog..my mom had strange interests and didn’t think twice about leaving disturbing illustrated books laying around. I was going to get cultured whether we had the money or not!

I also love to read about rocks. Yep, rocks. Pretty interesting stuff actually..sounds bad now that I’m writing this. Well, a lot of my books are more like “text books”. I am also into the weather and cloud formations, so I have a lot of weather books also. I know everything about rain, EVERYTHING! That’s usually good conversation with someone for ..ooohhh..about 30 seconds. Then they just look at me funny as I point out an anvil cloud, or how cicadas and black widows have moved into our neighborhood, or “WOW, don’t move, you are stepping on a rare form of iron quartz!” ..so I just lie to people and tell them I am reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I’m sure that is a great book, but I found it to be too disturbing to read. I’ll watch the movie. No, I am not reading 50 Shades of Grey..not doing it.

When my daughter was little I read bug books to her every night! Then, one night as we were getting ready for bed, I pulled out a bug book and my daughter said “Mommy, can we read about something ELSE tonight?” mortified, I replied “But baby, you LOVE bugs!!” She said “No mom, YOU love bugs.” I started to sweat..teeth clenched, I said “OK, sweetie, what would you like me to read about?” ..here it comes..she said..

“UNICORNS!” I almost cried. Unicorns?? I didn’t even read about those at her age! I mean mermaids, sure, princesses and frogs no problem but UNICORNS? I was actually upset. It was then that I realized I was taking the time of reading to her to selfishly read what I wanted to read, not what SHE wanted to hear. I felt like a horrible mother. Then I found a big book about unicorns. The first couple of times I read it, she could tell I wasn’t having a good time because I kept getting distracted and skipping pages on purpose hoping she would fall asleep and I wouldn’t lapse into a coma.

I used to read true crime novels all of the time. I am friends with Ann Rule, the well known author and former police officer. Her son, Andy used to bring me her newest books, she would write to me in the book and I am in awe of this woman. She writes like people paint a picture. There is no doubt at all about what she is trying to convey in any of her books. So, naturally, during one of her books I had the worst nightmare I have ever had in my life. It was 5 years ago, I haven’t forgotten a single detail of that nightmare. Needless to say that ended my true crime reading spree.

Right now I am enjoying books by Jonathan Kellerman, specifically the Alex Deleware novels. I am currently reading The Murder Book, by Jonathan Kellerman. I enjoy crime, but not real crime. It can’t be too real. I have lived that and I don’t want to read about real stuff before bed. The only exception to that would be the bugs, weather and books about rocks and minerals. Those are real, but really cool. To me anyways.

My daughter just read White Oleander. Apparently I learned to just leave books laying around from my mother. My daughter thought the book was “Great, but really disturbing. I couldn’t put it down mom, it was like a train wreck, and who the heck would write something like that!?”, so she picks out her own books now…carefully.

I feel like I need to apologize for not being more interesting, but for now instead of watching grass grow, or paint dry, I’ll continue to read about rocks, bugs and the occasional murder mystery that isn’t real.

Did you know that rainbows are actually FULL CIRCLES? Yep! See, that book paid off! I bet you didn’t know that..

Em