wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Foodies

I have a confession to make. I’m a foodie. One of the best things in my life is having enough to eat.

Alas! The Missus says I’m putting on a bit of weight. She’s no spring chicken herself, and getting a bit plump. She should look into the birdbath one of these days and have a look at her reflection.

It’s a terrible time to try to diet, just when the larvae of the ten-striped June beetles are surfacing. When the next heat wave strikes, the prawn-like grubs will sprout wings and that will be it. No more delicacies for me.  As beetles, they will become the prize of raccoons and bats.

 

Anneli loves it when I help get rid of the grubs. This critter is putting up a bit of a struggle. I hate it when they fight back. It’s so pointless, and I feel like such a bully. There’s no escape once I find them. This one thinks he’s a boxer. Good luck with that, buddy.

He’s tickling my beak, but if he thinks I’ll put him down to scratch an itch, he’s dreaming. This fat “prawn” is so worth the razzing I get from the Missus.

Oops! I just caught my reflection in the sliding glass door of the deck. Hmm…. A tiny bit portly around the waist. Maybe I should have limited myself to just a few of those grubs. But they were so good, and Anneli’s yard is full of them.

But I’m still a handsome devil, don’t you think? I can’t just walk away from a feast. What would you do?


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Scarab Beetle or is it Scary Beetle?

This scarab beetle should have been in construction or house renovation because its name sounds like Polyfilla, the goop that fills cracks in wood and drywall. But no, it is “Polyphylla” and the rest of its name refers to its ten lines (four long and two short). Like decades of lineage, it is called decemlineata. Now you’ll never forget the name of this beetle whose face only a mother could love. It’s called Polyphylla decemlineata, the ten-lined June beetle.

It’s a big scary inch to an inch and a half long, and hatches from a prawn-like grub when the weather gets hot. Then it waits until dusk when you can’t see it very well, and when you’re standing there waiting for the dogs to pee, it attacks. Mainly it tries to land on your back because that makes it hard to fight  off.

I heard this guy talking as I took his picture while he hung onto my fence.

I push the air beneath closed wings,

To hiss and buzz and make her cringe.

With beady eyes I see her stand,

And when she turns, that’s when I land

Upon her back and hear her shriek.

I only turn the other cheek.

I try to lift my spiky feet,

But threads entangle and defeat.

It seems I cannot get away

I have to stay and watch this play.

She’s running crazy round the yard,

It’s fun to cause her to discard

Her vest and fling it on the ground.

I crawl away without a sound,

But, hee, hee, heeeee. Hee, hee, heeeee.

Anneli’s afraid of me!


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A Not-so-boring Boring Beetle

Many years ago I saw one of these beetles in my yard and later wondered if it was one of those terrible Asian longhorned beetles that destroy our forests. Should I have killed it and saved our forests?

Most likely our forests were not in danger, and I’m glad I didn’t kill the poor bug. Yes, it bores into wood and lays its eggs there so its progeny will also bore into the wood, but it prefers dead wood. By eating the dead wood, it is actually doing more good than harm.

Today, I found this poor little guy already dead on the walk beside my house. I picked it up with my bare hands in spite of the horror I have of touching bugs. If it had wiggled, I would have been in trouble. But no, it didn’t move. I wanted to take its picture so I could identify it for sure.

I apologized to it for placing it in such an undignified pose, but I wanted to be sure, in case I needed to confirm its I.D. by its underside.  If you click to make the photo below bigger, you can see that it has fuzzy mitts on its front legs and tufts of “fur” on its antennae.

Here is what I found out.

It is a banded alder beetle, often confused with the Asian longhorn beetle, a
damaging exotic pest.

I found more information at this site:

https://entomology.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/entomology/Banded_Alder%20Borer_13.pdf

They said:

The easiest way to distinguish these two species is  to look at the segment directly behind the head. On the Asian longhorn beetle the area is entirely shiny black while on the BAB the area is white with a single, large black spot that occupies 60% or more of the segment.

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On the photo above you can see that black circle on its head, a sure sign that it is a banded alder borer, and not the dreaded Asian longhorn beetle.


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One Potato, Two Potato

When I dug up a potato plant in my garden, I was hoping to find:

One potato, two potato

Three potato, four….

But it seems that something found the potatoes before I did. My not-so-good old friends, the ten-lined beetles, mainly in their larval stage.

Here are my Pontiac potatoes, half eaten by the ten-lined beetle larvae. I could have cried!

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Ten-lined-June-Beetle

Near each eaten potato, I found the larvae of these beetles.

 

 

Ten-Line-June-Beetle

Don’t they all look like they’ve eaten too many potatoes?

Beetle larvae

I’ve had to do a lot of extermination as I dug potatoes. My foot was the quickest way to deal with them. Where is a robin when you need one?

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So far, the only way I can think of to get rid of these potato eaters is to put all my garden through a soil screen, and watch for the smaller larvae that might fall through the mesh. I’m very frustrated. What to do?