Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How termites get into your house

I was blearily shoveling my breakfast into my face this morning while watching TV, and this commercial came on:

I quickly found it on YouTube, along with a handful of similar commercials featuring various pest bugs trying to gain entrance to the homes of unsuspecting and obviously vulnerable people. The hero of course, is the exterminator, who has no spoken lines but prevails nonetheless with his crisp, immaculate uniform and his steely gaze, planting the company's sign in the homeowner's lawn as the vanquished termite leaves the scene behind the wheel of an old car.

This is in no way intended to be an endorsement of the exterminating company. Just a chuckle over the termite.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Venturing to South County for a change

We've been meaning to visit Laguna Coast Wilderness Park for a long time. Yesterday, we finally went. We got a late start and it was hot, so we pooped out pretty quick, but it was really pretty out there, and there were lots of bugs.

metalmark butterfly

some bug's backside

This moth's eyes seem big, for a moth. Makes it look cuter, I think.

Anybody know what these are? Some kind of beetle larvae? They were on some coastal sage (I think).
Update:  I think these are Trirhabda geminata, also known as the Encelia leaf beetle and the Brittle Bush leaf beetle.  They live on sage scrub plants from the desert to the coast.

A snakefly.

Not really happy with the way my photos are turning out these days. I could blame the camera, but ... eh, The pictures above are all new or unusual sightings for me. Most of the rest got tossed into the virtual trash can.
There were zillions of crane flies, which are reaching the peak of their annual annoyingness. I did take some pictures but they came out just ho-hum. (You can see some of my better crane fly shots in this old post if you want to see crane flies.) There were also too many of those little flies that seem to be seeking moisture from my eyes, nose and mouth. I almost ate one!

Calosoma beetle

Climbing up the stucco outside my house recently

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Borrego Bugs

Having a good time in the desert. Lots of flowers in some areas, and plenty of bugs.

Get the flash player here:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coming or going?

This flower spike was attracting lots of bees at the arboretum today. I was lucky enough to catch a couple in flight.

In both of these shots, it looks like the bees are coming in for a landing, but in each case I was actually trying to shoot the bee on the flower, and by the time I clicked, the bee was flying away, backing away from the flower.

It's a beautiful, tall flower spike. Sorry, I don't know what it's called.

The crane flies have emerged

My first official sighting was several days ago on my patio screen door, but I was too lazy to go for my camera at the time. This guy was on my front porch light today. I also saw a couple at the arboretum this afternoon. I expect they'll be everywhere soon.

If these were money, I'd be rich! If they were food, I'd eat 'em. (Uh, maybe)

The other day, I had Brice shovel all the "mature" compost (if that's what you call it) out of the compost bin and into the wheelbarrow so we could put it into the planting bed where I hope to be putting vegetables soon. The compost was full of these big, fat grubs.

There were dozens. So many, it was a little gross, even for me. Yet, at the same time, I found myself wondering what these things would taste like if there was a way you could clean their digestive tract first, like they do with escargot. They almost look like you could do a scampi with them. Isn't that gross? But lots of people do eat bugs, in other cultures. They're cheap and nutritious. Not me, though, and certainly not my family. Too much of an ick-factor there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Porch moth with a snail on the side

This snail has been hanging around my porch light for many days. It moves a few inches here and there, but hasn't left the general area since our last big rain, whenever that was.

This morning, a moth was "visiting" it.

Interesting profile of the moth.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wake up and take a safari

It's been a long, blah winter. I haven't really felt like blogging much. My attention has been wandering but not lingering on anything productive. Still, interesting bug stuff finds its way to me, and here is something I couldn't resist passing along. A couple of clicks away from Bug Girl's blog post on an Insect Art Show, I found this great little video by one of the artists, Catherine Chalmers.

It almost makes me want to get out and go for a big explore somewhere. In fact, I will be going to the desert next week. We are hoping for an abundant wildflower bloom, the better to inspire much fun bug-hunting and picture-taking.
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