Friday, August 14, 2009

Desert Buglife

One thing I never expected in a place like this is how many bugs there would be and how many of them are really strange! They seem to have come in waves. The moths were the first to wake up after the winter freezes went away. No big deal there except in terms of how many of them there were. Then came the invasion of the really tiny black beetles and the not so tiny flying ants. Both of these bugs seem to have an affinity for drinking water. It seemed you couldn't take a drink without some flying thing winding up in the glass so we've switched to bottled water for now.

Then came the invasion of the bright green beetle-like bugs. They're almost round and kind of pretty to look at. The only problem is how many of them there are--hundreds! Once it's dark they become attracted to the light in the office and practically swarm the lamp in there and all the computer equipment under it. I actually started to worry that they would create "bugs", computer malfunctions, by getting stuck inside.

But the green bug invasion seems to have subsided somewhat. Grasshoppers and crickets are now here and earlier this week we saw a small praying mantis. And just yesterday these gigantic flying things with very long wings arrived. I have no idea what they are—maybe a very large variety of green lacewing— but they have narrow bodies and with their wings are as long as a person's hand.

There is some sort of large black beetle-like bug with bright orange wings. These look almost as large as hummingbirds as they fly by. Today we saw one dragging a dead tarantula across the dirt road. The spider was so big I would have expected the food chain to go the other way around. It was pretty gruesome to see. It turns out these bugs are called Tarantula Hawks. They are a type of wasp and have what is considered to be the most painful sting known to the bee and wasp kingdom. Oh joy! Another thing to be aware of. But at least they keep down the tarantula population.

And that leads to the most recent things to have arrived— giant hairy spiders! AAGH! Not just tarantulas (which are venomous) but Wolf Spiders, too. And a number of different kinds of small spiders, too.

I'm not fascinated enough to be amused. Someone else might think this was cool.

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