The Invaders

While we are all waiting, waiting, waiting for the royal baby to be born, Ms. Jeannie has been anticipating her own little bundle of joy…

tomato

The first ripe tomato of the season! Ms. Jeannie marked this occasion on Friday when she plucked the little darling in anticipation of including it in Friday night’s dinner.

Only she had one slight problem. It looked so pretty on the vine, but when she pulled it, the other side looked like somebody kicked it in the gut. Ms. Jeannie forgot to take a picture before she cut it open to see what was going on inside, but imagine a blister-like opening puncture type wound about the size of a dime.  Not exactly the look she was hoping for!

At first Ms. Jeannie thought it might have been caused by rubbing due to the high wind and rainstorms this past weekend. But then on the underside of the green tomato above it she saw one of these…

The dreaded stink bug. Photo courtesy of nopests.com

A stink bug! Photo courtesy of nopests.com

Stink bugs are nutrient suckers and affect a wide variety of agricultural plants. Native to Japan and Korea, they were first introduced into the US via Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s. They are considered a pest because they are immune to a lot of insecticides and pesticides.

Being a natural/organic gardener, there is not much Ms. Jeannie can do about them, except pick off the ones she sees and hope that there aren’t a mass of them. Birds are one predator to the stink bug though, which she has plenty of in her garden, so she hopes they’ll find these little guys delectable.

Pill bugs are also taking up residence at the base of Ms. Jeannie’s Gerber daisies which is also the same pot shared by her herb garden.  At first glance – everything is growing right along – the dill is getting tall, the basil is filling out, the chives are fattening up and the daisies add a sunny bit of color.

basil

But on closer look in the daisy leaves, there’s a whole city full of these guys…

pillbugs

Pillbugs! They feed on dead and decaying plant matter, so they aren’t really a big threat. But Ms. Jeannie really wished they fed on slugs who also love the Gerber daisies, and unfortunately, are starting to discover her basil leaves.  After careful checking today, she thinks she’s removed all the slugs but more rain is scheduled for this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow so we’ll see if more are coming.

If you’ve been keeping up with Ms. Jeannie on twitter, you’ll recognize this other bug sighting that she discovered last week in the flooding of the creek. At the base of some rotting log stumps she saw these extraordinary things…

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Ms. Jeannie thought at first glance that they were old porcelain doorknobs buried in the dirt, which would not be all that uncommon a find here in Ms. Jeannie’s area (more on dirt discoveries another day!). But in actuality, they are giant Eastern Hercules beetle larvae.  And giant they definitely are! Each one of these guys here was about the size of a large shrimp. Eventually they will look like this…

Female Hercules beetle

Female Hercules beetle

Male Hecules beetle. Photo courtesy of fcps.edu

Male Hecules beetle. Photo courtesy of fcps.edu

These are the largest beetles found in the US and are just a slightly smaller version of the Hercules beetle native to central and South America, which can grow to be 6 inches long. These beetles prefer rain-forest type conditions – and since it has been so rainy here – Ms. Jeannie can understand why they like her yard!

They feed off the forest floor eating, rotten wood and the like, so they are good groundskeepers, if not intimidating:) They are also considered the strongest animal in the world – with the ability to lift 850 times their own body weight. Amazing!

And last but not least, down in Hercules land, the creek is also now aflight and flutter with hundreds of damselflies.

drag2

Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, which are one of the oldest insects known to man. Both damselflies and dragonflies prefer wet environments where they can lay eggs in water.  Love is definitely in there air at Ms. Jeannie’s. Did you know that when two damselflies mate their bodies form the shape of a heart? See for yourself…

drag1

Ms. Jeannie just loves that about nature. Just when you think you can’t stand one more monotonous day of dark, gloomy, wet weather – just when you think you’ve seen all the same rain drops day after day – Mother Nature surprises you with a few new interesting sights.  It keeps you captivated instead of going crazy, which Ms. Jeannie fully appreciates. And now, as the rain clouds roll in, yet again, Ms. Jeannie wonders what Mother Nature just might have up her sleeve next.  Stay tuned here on the blog and also on twitter for more discoveries…

5 thoughts on “The Invaders

  1. Well. All sorts of weird and wonderful creatures…who knew? I love my city garden and have many of the same visitors…but the day I find those shrimp sized grubs is the day I start shopping for a nice high-rise condo with spectacular views. 😉

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  2. Pingback: Earthbound: Stories From Underground | msjeannieology

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