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The bugs of autumn. September 30, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening, homesteading, pets.
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Silence Dogood here. Like the bird population here at our friend Ben’s and my cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, located in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, the insect population seems to be changing by the day. First the lightning bugs (aka fireflies) blinked out. Then the monarchs passed over on their long migration and bid our meadows adieu, or at least, au revoir until next spring. Then the stink bugs arrived.

AAAAAHHHHHH!!!! Stink bugs!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I digress.

Today, I was staring out at our back deck when I saw something a bit unusual. A bright green leaf seemed to have landed on top of a purple leaf on one of our cannas. It would be odd for a green leaf to have fallen rather than a gold or brown one, but what made this leaf really unusual was the fact that it seemed to be held up on threadlike legs. Hmmmm.

Opening the sliding deck door and stepping out, I dodged the thirteen stink bugs clinging on and around the door. (Yes, I counted them, and don’t think I didn’t feel like I deserved a Medal of Honor for stepping into the line of fire.) I dislodged our four-month-old outdoor kitten, Marley, from his nest in the middle of my rare and wonderful yellow-variegated Boston fern. (Grrrrr.) And then I cautiously approached the canna.

Sure enough, the bright green leaf turned out to be a katydid, only it was the thinnest, scrawniest, most demoralized-looking katydid I ever saw. Usually they’re plump and slightly tentlike, but this one was shaped like a long, thin lozenge, and was somewhat tarnished, to boot. I felt bad for it, but also hoped it wasn’t some kind of portent of a terrible winter to come. We already have enough to think about worrying about the winter’s fuel bills, without having to wonder if we’ll be buried under 16 feet of snow. Brrrr!!!

Since I was outside, I thought I’d take a couple of jars and bottles to our recycling bin. Rounding the side of the house, I saw an amazing slug on one of the slate flagstones. It was an almost fluorescent gold-orange. Now, I’ve heard of the famous banana slugs of the Northwest Coast, but I’d never before seen a slug in the yellow-gold-orange range around here. What was it? Was it, too, an autumn migrant? In just a month or so, it would have been perfectly disguised among the brilliantly colored autumn leaves strewing the path. I hope it makes it ’til then.

Returning to the deck, I once again evicted the incorrigible Marley from my prize fern. Now I just have to get up enough nerve to run the stink-bug gauntlet and try to get back inside…

         ‘Til next time,




1. Joe - September 30, 2008

My parents have an insect that appears to be light colored even white in flight. but at rest a blue gray in color with clear wings. They occupy the crevouses of the ash tress by the millions. They only come this time of year and don’t seem to be hurting the tree. They are dying off by the millions also and make a ring of what is like duff from the dead bodie at the base around the tree.

The only extension agen I could get a hold of said they are a blue gray gnat and won’t hurt anything.

Do you have any more information than that?

I’ll see if I can find anything, Joe. Readers, ideas?

2. Geraldine - October 5, 2008

The stink bugs are very tenacious, at least the ones I’ve encountered. They do not give up, until our Mr. Cheddar gets them (he’s a big orange tabby!) Great post. G

I am adding you to my blogroll today. Great blog!

Thanks, Geraldine! Wish I could train our cats to get stinkbugs like the wonderfully-named Mr. Cheddar!

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