Tag Archives: insects

Does this look “normal” to you?!

I occasionally walk past the local armory. I’ll be honest, I’m not too clear on what they do there; it’s an old building that doesn’t seem to have much activity around it (or perhaps I’m just passing by at the wrong times). In July I was walking by and noticed this unsettling sign so I took a picture thinking I’d share it on the blog sometime. (I half expected, in these touchy/sensitive times, an armed guard to pop out of somewhere and challenge me but none did.)

IMG_20170706_150130_kindlephoto-414718

The date was Jul 6. I’ll have to take their word on this high risk business.

As I say the sign was hardly cheering. What’s odd is the peppy font forĀ AMERICA, considering the scary point the sign is meant to convey, although I’ll grant you that eagle looks scary enough. I didn’tĀ feelĀ under any particular threat. (I just now googled “why was July 6, 2017 a high risk day for terrorist attacks” and got nothing.)

I got to wondering if the sign ever changed, given the general look of disuse about the property so yesterday I had another look. Golly! ItĀ had changed. Apparently we all should have felt much better about the state of things yesterday.

IMG_20171005_133824

If I might make a small suggestion to them, I think they should have varyingĀ eagle pictures too so that yesterday the eagle could have been smiling or at least not looking quite so severe. He could be eating fries or something, just to demonstrate that we could all go about our business for the day in a relatively relaxed state. Finally, given the seeming importance of the sign, you’d think it might be in more than one language. After all, who is the sign for? Surely not only those entering the building. If it was why post it outside? So it must be for the public’s benefit. Apparently if you are a non-English speaker you’ll just have to wing it.

So anyway, while I was standing there taking the photo I noticed a dark wasp fly by and didn’t think too much of it as the weather has been oddly warm and flying insects are still roaming about. I can’t tell you what made me look up but when I did I was in for a surprise. Check out that structure below the window!

IMG_20171005_134026

Holy moly! Look at THAT!

IMG_20171005_133932_kindlephoto-2117294

GAH!

I’ve never seen a wasp nest like that just sitting out in the open. Maybe that’s because people usually put a stop to it in public spaces, such as on a building. I don’t know but in my personal experience I’ve only seen a nest of this magnitude a few times in wooded areas. Had I thought anybody – well other than the haplessĀ me – would be potentially endangered by the nest, I would have reported it or left a note or some such. But it’s clear by the collection ofĀ last years leaves by the door that this entrance doesn’t exactly see a lot of foot traffic. Well, I guess the guy or gal who flips the terrorist risk sign would be about the only person getting close. (Um, how did THAT person or persons miss this thing?!) In the end, I figure those wasps worked awfully hard on constructing their palatial dream home and it would seem a shame, no matter how disgusting/unnerving it might look to me, to knock it down or spray it now. Besides, it’s October. Their happy days are numbered.

 

NOTE: I may not be able to see/respond to comments right away but I always appreciate them!

Romance is for the birds, no strike that, lightning bugs

I’m not someone who walks around calling herself a “hopeless romantic” but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the appeal of romance. It’s just that it doesn’t necessarily look in my mind’s eye like Hollywood’s version. To wit, I’ve found romance in an unlikely place.

I adore lightning bugs – you may know them as fireflies or some other name. They are just the coolest thing, flashing their tiny beacons in the early summer evenings. Part of the appeal is their rarity; their season is short.

In older blog posts, I’ve written of using my seasonal screen tent (imperative against mosquitoes) in summer. Unfortunately, there are frequent smokers in my midst in the last year so I no longer can use it as I once did. However, I grab my moments when I can.

Flying insects – but not mosquitoes – still seem to end up inside the tent, I’m really not sure how, especially the larger ones. For the most part, I figure they’re on their own. However, lightning bugs occasionally show up inside the tent as well. Those I cannot leave be.

Way back in 1990 I read and saved an article on lightning bugs based on information from Howard Seliger, a Johns Hopkins professor. who studied the glowing flyers. According to him, the adult lightning bug lives a mere week or two. The lightning flashes are intended to signal a potential mate which is the male insect’s sole goal.

The trouble is there are many species of lightning bugs and each has its own particular signal. A lady lightning bug is looking for her match, not some random schmuck. She flashes her own light as the go-ahead to the fellow of her choosing. Successful coupling is rare.

The lightning bug courtship appeals to the romantic in me. When I find a lightning bug inside the screen tent, aimlessly walking around or clinging to the screen, I leap into action. “Hey! You’re burning daylight, my little friend. Get out there and get yourself some lightning bug sex! How long have you been in here anyway?! Let’s get cracking!” I may not make the whole speech but I usually admonish and encourage the bug in some way as I catch it and put it back outside. Seeing one take off in search of its partner gives my heart a little happy jump. If, unbeknownst to me, a bird promptly eats the lightning bug or it keels over loveless because its demise was imminent, I don’t want to know about it.

Yellow Jackets Jackasses

Yellow jackets act impulsively, make poor decisions and fail to plan ahead. Supposedly when they sting you, they are following their natural instinct to protect their home. But once they sting and draw attention to themselves, what happens to their nice comfy home? Somebody blows it to smithereens, that’s what.