Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bugs & Other Things

there are 5 exploding rose bushes that line our driveway, each one boasting a different color and each a distinct scent of flower. since we moved in i haven't done much to take care of them besides cutting off the dead blossoms and watering them every once in awhile and, just lately, they have thanked me profusely by blooming their little hearts out. of course, no matter how healthy a rose bush may be, those pesky aphids seem eager to take them down a notch and our rose bushes are no exception.

when i was in the backyard with tristan the other day finding ladybugs in the grass, josh informed me that ladybugs like to eat aphids. barely had the sentence left his mouth before i was collecting pretty little spotted crawlies and carrying them carefully to the rose bushes in the front yard. it was morbidly fascinating to watch the ladybugs wander around their new home for a bit before finding a nice, juicy aphid and biting its head off. after josh mowed our "lawn" (i like to call it a lawn, though there are plenty more weeds back there than grass) i realized with a bit of horror that many ladybugs were probably finely diced and would no longer serve their noble purpose of Aphid Destroyers. still, i found a few more this afternoon and even got the neighbor girl in on my quest to populate our rose bushes with so many ladybugs that the aphids would run screaming from them in fright.

i realized that ladybug catching had become a sort of obsession for me this evening at josh's folk's house. we had just finished a delicious scottish dinner of steak pie with peas and i was in the backyard letting tristan roam free amongst the chickens when i noticed that i was seeing red spots in the grass when there really weren't any there. try as i might to ignore my ladybug sensing instincts, i just couldn't stop scanning the grass as i walked, looking for bits of bright red. upon nearing the little car that tristan loves to sit in, i saw a sort of movement in the grass. thinking it could be a ladybug, i looked closer and discovered that it was a rather large swarm of earwigs. by the time i realized that there were earwigs on the seat next to my son, he had realized the same thing and was removing himself hastily from the vehicle. i pushed the car forward revealing what looked like an earwig orgy that had just been interrupted. chris, bless her heart, called the chickens over to eat their fill of the disgusting bugs as she took hold of tristan's little car and shook it. dozens of earwigs feel from the car and, as she kept shaking and banging it, more and more kept falling to the ground. the chickens must have been pecking faster than ever before to keep up with all of them. that's when i noticed that the earwigs were swarming around one of the plastic, hollow wheels of the car. chris must have shook that thing for a good 10 minutes and i would say that hundreds of earwigs came falling out of that hollow wheel. it was so disgusting, i'm still feeling itchy just thinking about it.

i hear that natural predators of earwigs are toads. however, ladybug collecting and toad collecting are two very different things. good thing they have chickens over there.


Sara said...

Each Spring/Summer the kids and I buy a pack of ladybugs (seeings that we can't find them like you Heidi) at Home Depot and let them go on our flowers. The kids love it.

Aria said...

yuck. Just reading your post gave me the creeps. Earwigs are so nasty! Too bad something nice and easy to catch wouldn't eat them.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

1. Thrifty Chris didn't see earwigs, she saw a free meal for the chickens! (I told you she was a pro at saving pennies.)

2. Did you know aphids are born pregnant? TRUE, and that explains how they can cover a rose bud so quickly.

3. Does the Department of Homeland Security know about your exloding rose bushes? They sound like sound like something a Mennonite Canadian terrorist would dream up- a "no warfare" tactic, just tons of flowers so as to keep people so busy with aphids and pruning that they won't have anytime to make war anyway.

Lovella said...

Oh Jill. . .what a gal.
Heidi, I was quite amused by this post. I so enjoy the way I can read all your words and they transport me straight away to the pictures you relay. You have such a wonderful way with words.
I feel a little squirmy myself.
Oh and yes we love lady bugs too. We've had a few aphid infestations and I love to watch the lady bugs do their thing.

Z-Mama said...

Ugh! The pincher bugs are crazy this time of year! I just can't keep them out of the house. I feel like if I venture out in the middle of the night its like they're having a party on my tile floor. Then, they are not to be seen come morning. Walk outside at night and there are hundreds upon thousands creeping up the walls...yicky. The girls have gotten so used to seeing them that Kammie asked the other day to wear her "pincher bug dress." It was really a cute little lady bug dress, but pincher bug is all they hear these days! Ewe, imagine if they actually started making pincher bug clothing for little girls!