Yes, There Are Bugs on the Farm
I know. I have posted several bug photos already. But the bugs keep showing up.
No, I don’t want to spread pesticides all over the place in order to keep the bugs at bay. In rare instances we use such poisons, but the bugs have to step over a line before that happens.
Milkweeds grow along our ditch bank and both donkeys and goats don’t find them very palatable. They have also popped up in numbers in the garden. We let them grow along the edges, as they provide beautiful blossoms that attract butterflies. Along with the milkweed, comes the Milkweed beetle. These guys don’t seem to eat anything else and haven’t bitten when handled. We had to look them up at first, since they somewhat resemble the Asparagus beetle.
Squash Bugs! We have had a season-long war with these guys, without pesticides as we don’t want the poisons in the garden (which is fed to the donkeys and goats after harvest). These squash bugs were harvested from a single squash plant and fed to the chickens. However, after 3 meals of squash bugs, the chickens said no, thanks to any more. They don’t taste very good (yes, I do know from personal experience).
I included a photo here of one of the numerous red ant hills on our property. I believe these are red harvester ants, but could be mistaken. In general, we leave these guys alone unless they molest us. What counts as being molested by a wee little ant? Well, how about one of these insects crawling up my pant’s leg while I am unlocking the gate and then biting the back of my thigh (each time higher up my leg) numerous times before I could get behind my front door and drop trousers and stomp around like the village idiot, spouting nonsensical cuss word combos. The possibility of one of these guys biting anything higher than my thigh had me near panic until I found it in my discarded closing, unmoving and thoroughly dead. The ice pack was the only thing that dulled the pain enough to sleep fitfully that night. The following week, My Main Man was bitten twice on the hand and was in severe pain for the rest of the day. There was also some alarming swelling, but that disappeared by the next morning. Yeah, this was a case for some pesticides.
Mighty big Potato bug! I had to include this photo as it is the biggest Jerusalem cricket I have ever seen. This guy was crawling around on my living room floor one night and he was very lucky to not get stepped on. Though, I guess that would have answered a question I have had for some time: According to urban legend, these crickets wail like a baby when injured, hence the name Child of the Earth.
This may look like a fuzzy red ant, but it’s actually a type of wingless wasp: The Velvet Ant. This little guy also has a quaint nickname – Cow Killer. Apparently, the sting of this insect is so very painful, a legend was founded that said the sting can drive a cow mad, and eventually lead to death. I have no doubt the sting is painful, but I don’t think it would kill a cow. Perhaps a human, who was standing in the herd and a cow was stung, the pain sending her into a tizzy, creating a stampede, hence, trampling the human. In short, no matter how fuzzy and cute these guys appear, don’t pick them up.
This lady spider decided to make her eggsack on my laptop bag. I believe she is a jumping spider, but could be mistaken. In any case, this is not the first time I have seen a spider with these markings, so I would guess that this is a fairly common spider throughout New Mexico. Over time, she has gathered 3 dried out daddy-longlegged spiders. I am not sure if she is saving them for her kids or if they were stupid enough to wander past her and she decided to have a snack while on guard duty.