|A newly transformed dragonfly.|
Ever since my first entomology job in college, I’ve become more and more interested in insects. Sure, I’ll still take animals over bugs any day, but the more I learn about the natural world, the more I’m in awe of how even the smallest creatures are so complex.
|Ugh. Those are the kinds of flies the horses and cows had to deal with biting them all summer.|
It’s not surprising that my kids have the same interest in bugs that I do. We find them while we’re weeding the garden or picking flowers or out in the yard. They’re everywhere and they’re so diverse. The insects, that is. 😉 None of them are inherently good or bad–even an annoying mosquito is also an incredibly important pollinator, for example. Plus, they feed dragonflies and bats and barn swallows, all of which are a lot of fun to watch.
|Henry’s friend, the snail.|
Some bugs are slightly more obnoxious than others. Mostly the ones who eat our garden with abandon. *I’m looking at you, Japanese beetles.* Good thing we have a solution: the kids l-o-v-e to collect bugs. Give them a net and a peanut butter jar and they’ll pick the garden clean before lunchtime.
|Bugs, bugs, bugs.|
We had an older neighbor visiting our farm and when outside, he spotted an enormous spider and his immediate reaction was to squash it. It left all of us in a bit of shock. That’s a bit of prejudice we try to avoid here. I’m not saying I want a spider crawling across my face or anything, but get rid of the creatures that eat the creatures you don’t like, then I don’t want to hear any complaining about being overwhelmed with the insects of a more obnoxious nature, that bite and sting and eat everything in sight.
|Live and let live.|
We do have some favorites around our place. Praying mantises are definitely high up on our list. We’ve gone so far as to buy egg pods and place them strategically around our property to encourage a boost in praying mantises.
It seems to be working. We’ve seen naturally occurring egg pods in the grasses and we see lots of praying mantises all summer long. Some of them as tiny as a fingernail and some that look like they could drag one of the kids off for a snack.
|That was one BIG girl!|
|It is kinda cute, isn’t it?|
When they grow up, they hunt all other kinds of insects we don’t want in the house–fleas, moths, cockroaches (my very least favorite of insects). House centipedes grow to an inch or so long and with all their legs, those suckers are fast. Like spiders, I don’t exactly want them on me for natural self-preservation reasons. But Claire?