Monday, June 23, 2014

Ways of handling bugs....

 The Red Milkweed Beetles do such a good job of chewing milkweed that I feel pretty sure they could do a job on my skin; however, they don't seem inclined to.  They don't crawl very fast, so I let them crawl aroound on my left hand while I photograph them with my right.  Lucky that all the cameras I've seen have the shutter button on the right.
 This next critter is a different story.  See those jaws?!!!  This is an Antlion larva.  I've never caught one.  You've probably seen the evidence of their presence, small craters in the sand.  When an ant slips over the edge of the steep, sandy walls, the Antlion hiding beneath the bottom point pulls sand toward and past itself and the resulting landslide carries the ant into those menacing jaws.  Every time I've tried to catch one with a large spoon, a trowel, or similar device, like a professional razor clam or sand crab it disappears deeper into the earth faster than I can dig.  Well, my youngest son Ryan solved that problem.  He saw a crater at the edge of our driveway and brought out his shop vac.  It worked.  Our ping pong table made a nice background.  The above photo is of its back side.
 It was difficult to turn this critter over for a photo of its front or ventral side.  It popped back upright very quickly.  It took many attempts to get it tired enough to play 'possum for a few seconds for a photo.  This is the larval stage.  It turns into a larger, lacy-winged adult resembling Dobson Flies, Stone Flies, and other large, lacy-winged insects that fly into your Coleman lantern on camping trips.
I hate to kill bugs, but sometimes I can't help it.  I try to train my family not to leave anything out for ants to eat, but the ants are able to detect  the tiniest, sweet particles.  So, ultimately, I get out the drops of Boric Acid.  Here they are, happily drinking at what they probably consider an oasis.

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