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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Until you've lived in the woods, you don't know bugs. I'm now living in the midst of, I'd guess, several hundred thousand acres of nearly unbroken forest. (No, I don't own all or even most of it.) Almost every night our porch light attracts some critter I've never seen before. For instance, we recently encountered this friendly little gal. (CAUTION: Do not click on link if squeamish.) Instead of fleeing when I poked her to get her to move on, she repeatedly threatened to slice me in half with those mandibles. (In my family, we refer to it as the Rob Dodson fly.) We also have seen moths that look like fighter planes, giant hornets, moths colored like sherbert, and luna moths as big as my hand.

Another thing I've realized out here is that these creatures really come and go in waves. Growing up in the suburbs, I always thought, "Insects pop out in the late spring, and go away in early autumn." But in the woods I realize that it's different insects almost every week. About 20 days ago the hemlocks were filled with hundreds of yellow butterflies flitting high amid their branchs, to what end I know not. Ten days ago they were completely gone. That's about when the katydids appeared, in the trees and two or three per night in the bathroom, as well as a few of the more negative "katydidn'ts." Around the same time came the itsy-bitsy flying bugs that can go right through your screens. There would be a couple of hundred hanging around the kitchen light, lampin' forty, each evening. Fortunately, they're gone already, although the katydids still have a week or two left.

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