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Creepy Red Bugs Prove to Be Harmless

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Creepy Red Bugs Prove to Be Harmless

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black-eyed susan
In the ever-unfolding garden adventures in the House of Felagund, this afternoon, I was outside cutting herbs to make croutons when I noticed some very suspicious-looking bugs congregating on a cucumber. Our cucumber plant is all but dead; I'm not sure what killed it, but since we have both squash bugs and cucumber beetles in the garden right now, there are plenty of suspects. Anyway, creepy-looking bugs + dead plant = probably not good.

I went into the house and brought out a glass jar and collected the bugs in it so that I could show Bobby and positively identify them.

They are very, very ugly. They have bright red bodies and spindly black legs. They have a proboscis that tucks under their body and, in some cases, is longer than their body. Given that they resemble squash bugs--but red--and have a long sucker attachment, I figured I had the cucumber culprit nailed and that the chickens would be enjoyed some red creepy-looking bugs tonight.

But I was wrong! So wrong! My investigations tonight revealed that they are wheel bug larvae: not only harmless but actually beneficial insects because they kill all sorts of bad things in the garden. (No word on whether or not squash bugs are among their victims.) Here they are on the University of Florida's entomology website.

While scouting the garden for squash bugs tonight, I found a few more of the wheel bugs. Suspecting them to be pests, I killed them. I now feel very badly about that. :( Needless to say, my dozen or so jarred wheel bug larvae are now enjoying their freedom in the garden, on the squash plant where we've had the biggest squash bug problem. >:^)



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/249666.html
  • (no subject) - lady_roisin
    • You could come help me catch squash bugs! That is fun because the chickens really enjoy eating them. >:^D
      • (no subject) - lady_roisin
        • A wolf spider! What a brave kitty! Bobby came home from work the other day, and there was a wolf spider hanging out in the space between the screen door and front door. I was always bugging him to keep the front door closed because I'd seen spiders coming in a crack in the screen door ... now he does! :D
          • (no subject) - lady_roisin
            • Indeed, with wolf spiders, there is more of an "OMG!" factor than actual danger! :D We have both black widows and brown recluse here; I've seen a black widow before, but never a brown recluse. I have, however, seen late-stage brown recluse bites online, and if they're real ... *shudder* I'm always whining at Bobby to be careful at the woodpile, since they like to hide in such places.

              I'm off to bed, so good night, and look for mail from me in a couple of days! :)
  • Oooh, cute insects! The adults are pretty huge! So the adults are predatory? They sound like quite handy things to keep around, then - good pest-controllers! Cooooool.
  • I'd never heard of wheel bugs before. Here's hoping they taste very bad, so the chickens will leave them alone! Surely they'd prefer bugs which smell like Jolly Rancher candies over such ugly red-eyed things. ;-)
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