Canadian in Candia

August 17, 2009

Another lovely insect from my garden

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 7:30 am

I’m sorry for anyone who reads this blog with arachnophobia because I’m about to make a post that may send you running for the hills due to irational fears. We often come across Spiders in the garden. We probably have dozens of different varieties in a small area of the garden alone. I generally ignore them and let them eat bugs I dislike more.

But yesterday was different. I found this black spider with yellow dots on her back and belly and had to: 1) take pictures, 2) identify her. And because I spent a significant amount of time identifying what the spider was, you my readers must deal with my nerdiness.

First of all she had a strangely weaved web. I found a picture of an Orb weaving spider that looked like her so I dug deeper. After looking at dozens of pictures of different kind of (entirely harmless) orb weaving spiders I found what she was. A simple Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) eater of bugs (BugGuide here, Wikipedia here). I mean after all that work I would love to have a fancier name like Reynolds Goldbar Spider or something.

O.K. on to the pictures.
Argiope aurantia
Argiope aurantia

August 15, 2009

Things I hate – Japanese Beetles

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 9:24 pm

My mom asked me the other day if I ever write negative things in this blog. I generally try to keep this blog pretty positive. I like to write posts that remind me that my life is full of adventures.  But today I will make an exception. I will write about something I hate: Japanese Beetles.

Japanese Beetles
I hate Japanese Beetles. I hate how they skeletonize the plants they eat. I hate finding their grubs when I dig in the garden. I hate controlling them by hand picking them off.

Japanese Beetles
I’m actually a little happy that I gave up on the garden this year because of the drainage issues. Otherwise I think I would be spending every evening trying to kill off some of the population.

Japanese Beetles
These annoying bugs are just one more reason why I need to get some chickens and relatively soon. I guess Chickens love to eat them.

August 5, 2009

Wasps like their Nests

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , , , — Miriam @ 7:43 am

The other day I went to visit the hubby in ManLand (aka the detached garage). As I left the building I heard some buzzing about. Mind you I had been gone for 5 days. I hadn’t been paying attention to my surroundings much since I had been back, but I really should have noticed what I saw. And it’s a wonder that Adam didn’t notice considering that ManLand is his personal sanctuary.

Right above the door, was a giant wasp (hornet?) nest.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

So perhaps the nests do get bigger, and I’m exaggerating about the giant size. But this was a fully developed hive. And it had grown right over our heads.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

I do actually kind of admire the delicate beauty of the design though. They did a lovely job building a home.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

Too bad that home is made of paper.

I went inside. A few minutes later my husband comes running in, disheveled and excited, “I threw a shovel at them and ran”.

“A Shovel???”

“Well I didn’t know what else to do to get rid of hundreds of angry hornets.”

The next morning I went out to inspect the damage.

The hive was still going.

Wasp nest on Garage

Even with half of their papery hive on the ground.

Wasp nest on Garage

The wasps were still caring for their young and rebuilding their home. It was a little interesting to watch the inner functions of an established hive.

Wasp nest on Garage

The details of a hive can be so interesting.

Wasp nest on Garage

By the next day the hive was already well into it’s reconstruction phase.

Wasp nest on Garage

And the leftover pieces of the hive on the ground were showing their biodegradable properties.

Wasp nest on Garage

The hubby still has not eliminated them. He’s done a great deal to anger them, but I think he forgot about the wasps for the most part.

Wasp nest on Garage

One last detail is the little abandoned mini hive next to be big one.

Wasp nest on Garage

June 1, 2009

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 8:30 am

Caterpillar in the yard

We’ve had a lot of these around lately. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar is a very common caterpillar  in the NorthEastern United States.  Their silky nests can be unsightly and they can do a lot of damage to the foliage in the area.  Every few years we get an infestation of caterpillars that is bad enough that they cause a nuisance and become eyesores.

Worst of all they don’t become beautiful butterflies, they become boring little moths that fly around at night.

We have a pretty normal quantity of caterpillars this year, although I’ve seen them in some very strange places.  I’m not a  fan of caterpillars in general but this one was just an interesting photography subject.  Adam’s been trying to train the puppy to eat them… with some sucess.

May 7, 2009

My Tic the Ticks

Filed under: Bugs, Cats, Dogs — Tags: , , , , — Miriam @ 8:42 pm

I’ve always heard about ticks.  I didn’t really remember ever seeing one until a couple years ago when I found a wierd bug crawling on my sweater which Adam identified as a tick for me. We pulled one off his mother’s cat that had dug in under the cat’s chin.  It was an adventure to pull that one out. Adam pulled one off himself when we lived in Fremont. It was still alive and started making threatening motions towards Audrey. I grabbed my cat and rushed her to a room far away from the bloodsucker.

My experience with ticks prior to my move to New Hampshire consisted of mythical creatures.  They were extensively discussed in my “Kids who want to be Veterinarians” summer camp when I was 9 or 10 years old.  And I developed a disgust for them then and there.

In the last couple days I have probably had to deal with ten Ticks.  And by “deal with” I mean “honey can you kill this tick for me”.  We have pulled two ticks out of the puppy and I’ve taken at least three ticks out of his hair (including a tiny deer tick, carriers of lyme disease). I had three ticks crawling all over my clothes yesterday, and Adam had a couple on his.  I still havn’t had to pull any out of my or the cats’ skin, but I’m constantly convinced that every little itch is a tick.

Oh and they don’t seem to die when slapped, squished or stomped on.  They are pretty much indestructible!

I just spent a pretty penny to get Frontline for the cats, and will get what the vet recommends for the puppy when he gets to a more convienient size, but is there anything I can do to keep the ticks off me? Is it just a high tick year? It’s silly that I can handle the mosquitoes and black flies, but the ticks make me want to run back to the city… and take my pets with me.

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