This is part three of our series on the wonderful little things you can find in your own back yard. It’s that time of year again when insects are everywhere. Mosquitoes buzz our ears and flies swarm on our doggie poops. But we also see lots of butterflies and moths. The crickets chirp all night, fire flies blink in the dark, and cicadas buzz from the tree tops during the day. Today we're looking at some interesting beetles.
This Black Vine Beetle (not native) is about the size of an apple seed. We found it on the kitchen floor. It probably came in on our fur or somebody's clothes. Apparently it’s a real pest because it eats up all kinds of plants. We don't have much trouble with them, though.
This Red Lily Beetle (not native) is one that Mom hates with a passion. They are very pretty and make an engaging squeak if you catch one in your hand. But don’t be fooled by this. Red lily beetles will absolutely decimate Asian lilies. Their grubs can eat an entire lily plant within days, and hide inside lumps their own poop. Mom won’t hesitate to squish them on sight!
Here are the last of the Asian lilies. All the rest are long gone: destroyed by red lily beetles.
Japanese Beetle (not native either!) They destroy lots of nice things, especially roses and the leaves of linden and birch trees. In this picture mating beetles are eating up the pink petals of a beautiful rose. Mom collects these beetles by the handful, drops them in front of an ant's nest and quickly stomps on them before they can fly away. The ants then clean up their corpses. Any grubs she finds in the ground, she feeds to Elvis the gecko. Yum!
OK, your assignment is an easy one: go out and find your own bugs and creepy-crawlies.
Here's a video about some beetles. There are lots more of these videos entitled "Minuscule." Have fun!
Addendum: Look at this big gigantic beetle one of our humans found yesterday! Wow!!!