6:00 p.m. - 2006-11-03
Happiest of Fridays to you all!
Wow, lots of critter news lately! Here are some links for you.
What was in the New Jersey parking lot?!? (Shout outs to D and TB in NJ!)
A five year old boy photographs a rare California condor! (Shout outs to JM, A and PB and the Q family in CA!)
A valiant horse rescue in the Netherlands!
Bugs are f*cking up hemlock trees in Kentucky! (Shout outs to CS...originally from KY!)
Nepalese rhinos (I didn't know there were rhinos in Nepal!) are being poached. Damn, get these horny bastards some Viagra already; save the rhino horns for the rhinos!
All of these endangered animal stories are freaking me out, especially because I'm currently reading this book. It's fantastic; I've never read Atwood before. But she's created a pretty messed-up world. Thanks to CVR for loaning me the book!
Today, then, let us focus on some creatures that are definitely NOT going extinct. In fact, they are probably inhabiting your stairwells/foyers/porches right now! My handsome (and single!) cousin JS requested that I write about Asian Lady Beetles, as they have been biting him and giving him a rash! Here's a picture of the culprit from www.uoguelph.ca:
Look familiar?! They are often joined by these dudes, the Box Elder Bug! Following is a portrait of this party-crasher, from www.pestproducts.com:
I bet some of these insects are currently in your abode, especially if you have a southern-facing doorway at your crib.
The Asian Lady Beetle, let's abbrev it to ALB - is really from Asia. In fact, it was first brought to the US in 1988. It's actually a helpful insect, as it eats aphids. Farmers wanted the ALB to destroy other insects in their pecan and apple orchards. Now, ALBs are everywhere, and they don't have many natural enemies. A few tiny wasps and flies will kill them, along with a fungus that zaps them in the south.
As you'll notice in the following photo (www.entomology.wisc.edu) some ALBs have many spots, and some don't. The spotty ones are most likely female.
Asian Lady Beetle love happens throughout most of the warm months. After all of the ALB's sheltering in your house move outside for the spring, they congregate together in an aphid colony. The females proceed to lay many eggs there, from which larvae emerge. Here's a close up from N.A. Schellhorn at www.entomology.umn.edu:
One website described these as "little alligators!" Hee hee. After two more molts, the larvae recedes into a reddish pupae, from which it emerges as an adult. This takes about a month in most U.S. climates, with the average number of generations per summer being two.
All right! Let's move on to our friend the Box Elder Bug (Leptocoris trivittatus)! Part of the giant Hemiptera, or "True Bug" family, BEB's are vegetarians. And yes, their favorite snack is leaves and flowers from the Box Elder Tree (Acer negundo), otherwise known as a Silver Maple. Here is a picture from www.rbnc.org:
The Box Elder Bugs especially enjoy the female trees, with their delicious flowers and seed pods. BEB's don't cause damage to the trees, and also are helpful by eating nectar, and presumably moving it around to help pollination.
Box Elder Bug nookie is similar to the Asian Lady Beetle's. After enjoying indoor warmth all winter, the beetles head out to a Box Elder Tree, some up to two miles away from their wintering spot. There they congregate on the ground, as the trees usually aren't leafed out yet, and enjoy seed pods left over under the tree. Then mating occurs, with the ladies sometimes carrying younger males on their backs! The BEB larvae are more reddish than the ALB's.
Here's a picture from www.entomology.umn.edu:
I hope you've learned something about these Autumn Invaders! Neither insect will destroy your home, but like with my poor cousin, can cause allergic reactions and asthma. Both insects can leave a yellow stain on walls and draperies upon being squished. It's recommended that you suck them up with a vacuum, and seal cracks in your house to prevent further infestation. Or you can use the Big K soap and water spray method encouraged below in the comments!
Happy day to you,