These guys are about an inch and a half long. The ten-lined beetles are about to make their presence known again. The hatch happens during the first few very hot days.
They have spiky hooks on their legs made for hanging onto people’s clothing. I don’t think they bite, but they don’t have to. They can give a person a heart attack simply by landing on them. The most dangerous places for a person to be landed on are the delicate dip at the base of the throat, the head where they tangle in one’s hair, and the back, where they are unreachable.
I’m terrified of going outside in my backyard after dusk which is when these horrors fly from shrub to tree and back again like a thousand mini-choppers buzzing me as they criss-cross the yard in endless erratic flights.
I have discovered them in their larval stage while digging in the garden. Amazingly they can live in very firmly packed ground easily at a depth of a foot, and even much farther down in the ground, as I’ve discovered when I was digging post holes. The larvae are fat and look a bit like a prawn except they are a cream colour.
Knowing that the larvae will turn into my nightmare beetles, I make it my mission to kill every one I can find, by feeding them to the robins who love them like I once loved prawns.
When I had finished digging my garden, the robins had to work harder to provide their own meals. Today I watched one picking at something in the ground. Not knowing what he was after, I kept taking his picture. Here he is looking…
to my shock, pleasure, and undying gratitude, he uncovered a “prawn.”
I’m sure he was wondering how to tackle this rather large hors d’oevre. If necessary it could be swallowed whole, but…
maybe he should set it down and try to kill it first?
It’s such a mouthful…and someone’s coming…what to do…
Best to “take the honey and run.”