Phobias and Phriends

ten-lined beetle



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.

Beetle larvae

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…



and after much digging and pecking…??????????

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.”



28 thoughts on “Phobias and Phriends

    • I never used to pay much attention to robins, until they started nesting so close to our house and then I watched them and photographed them until all my blogger friends must be sick of them. But I’ve learned more about robins. And yes, they deserve all the “prawns” they can get.


  1. Great photo essay! And timely, too. I just came in from setting out parsley and thyme in the herb patch: in a small 2′ square section I unearthed a dozen or more grubs. I tossed them over the fence for the birds. In the past, I’ve collected a margarine container full and left them at the base of the sunflower feeder. The blue jays went nuts! Thanks for sharing!


    • Do you feel guilty at all? I’m torn between feeling joy for the birds (and myself – for getting rid of the beetles) and guilt that I’m playing god, deciding who will live or die. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t lose sleep over it, and the robins go to bed fat and happy. Good to hear that you have a bit of the kind killer in you too.


      • Guilty? Not up until now! 😉
        Actually, not in the least! As adults (Japanese beetles by the thousands!) the little darlings make a mess of my rose and raspberry bushes. I’m just glad that I can garden without chemicals. And like you say, the birds are happy!


        • After I read your comment I went out and turned over a few more shovelfuls and I think I hit the mother lode! The robins are going to be needing some Pepto-Bismol tonight after overeating as they did this afternoon. I love feeding the birds and dealing with nuisance bugs at the same time (apologies to Yoshizen [above] who loves beetles).


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