Friday, September 19, 2008

All creatures Great, Small and Icky

It has been an interesting season around here with the critters.
I can't say I LOVE Bugs- I just appreciate the job they do and I admire the beauty of their work, and sometimes of them- bugs are really colorful!

Next to our backdoor we have a porch light. An orb weaver spider loves this place- it builds the web so the moths come for the light and "stay for dinner".
I like it because it is out of MY walking path.
I saw a spider web at the end of the driveway- saw a big (quarter size) spider in the web. I then walked right into it while putting the trash at the curb. Yep I screamed like a little bitch and ran down the driveway.... I felt something on my shoulder and flicked it off.... and away ran that spider... bbbrrrrr I like them when they are up and out of the way. I will even feed them moths.
Just stay outta my waking path... PLEASE!

I was driving home one afternoon, and when I turned the corner at the end of my street, I happened to look up and see something in the tree. This nest is the size of a basketball. Upon closer inspection, the nest is dead. I know this coz the guy who owns the tree came out and told us he sprayed it- they were getting aggressive and it is right above the sidewalk on the way to the Elem. School. It really is a pretty work of art. He is going to cut it down and cut it open to see inside. I asked him if I could get pics- so hopefully I will.

One of Neo-Mans co-workers Ken, saw this pic on my computer and commented "my nest is bigger" Now I don't know about you- but that's not something I am used to hearing. He explained that he has a nest in the tree in his yard. A VERY active nest. So I had to go see. YES! THIS IS A VERY VERY ACTIVE NEST! I had to stay IN my truck to get this pic. This nest is up about 20 feet in this tree and is about the size of a basketball hoop. Ken said if the wind blows hard they become very agitated. He has called trying to find someone to come and kill or remove the nest- he has a son and an elderly mom. I'd like to see the inside of this one!

Then one day while picking tomatos, I found this caterpillar on my tomato plant. It had all of these white cacoon looking things attached to it- kinda like dreadlocks. I thought it was weird- so of course I picked the leaf it was on for a closer look.
Turns out he is a a tomato hornworm- and he is BAD for my garden! He is carrying the eggs for the next generation of Chalcid wasps, which will hatch into hungry predators of the corn borer and the codling moth. This is a parasitic wasp, that is a friend to you and your garden- just not to this caterpillar. As I was taking pic, I placed this in a glass jar to get more pic. Once I did- things started happening. As I watched- all these eggs started hatching and little wasps hatched.

*** mind you I didn't know what this was to begin with. I just laid it in the garden and went inside. My sister Howdy called and we were discusssing this and SHE told me what it was. At first I thought it was a bad wasp.... so I ran outside and I covered the jar. Then she told me it is a GOOD wasp so I ran outside and uncovered the jar. I was tired of running.
Next time I will know and leave it be. I found a website that tells you how to attract these garden helpers.

This is one thing I know is a good helper in the garden. I love looking at praying mantis.

And last but not least- even my daughter is in on finding the weird in the bug world.
She sent me this pic on my phone. It is a cool moth.
Mimi's moth

Gonna have to find out more about this one. Pretty cool!

Gotta run!
Later Darlin'

1 comment:

floribunda said...

great photos! I'd be running from those wasp nests, too. I never saw a real preying mantis until last year in my yard -- there's another one around this year; very interesting to watch them.