I'm not a lover of bugs … any kind. Insects, spiders, multi or milli-footed critters … they're just not my cup of tea. They make my skin crawl … literally. I wonder about entymologists ... the folks who enjoy making a living at studying bugs.
Granted, if they wanted to, insects could take over the world (and probably have). They do outnumber us despite the fact we have Raid and Deet and cut down all the rain forests. There are more than one million different identified species of insects throughout the world (all the bad ones probably live in Australia), but some experts believe that there may be as many as 30 million insect species in the world that have yet to be discovered and identified. This represents approximately 80 percent of the world's species. Here's the kicker though … at any given time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion individual insects alive (10,000,000,000,000,000,000). That's a lot of bugs!
What brings this topic to mind is that I'm here at Lin's house in Walpole, Massachusetts, USA with time on my hands and it's springtime. I'm enjoying all the birdsong and the blooming flowers, shrubs and trees. I appreciate all the varied shades of new-growth green and taking in all those fresh earthy smells as I walk through a copse of park trees. I'm not enjoying, however, the plethora of bugs that have hatched and are flying and crawling and generally sneaking around. Though they're bothersome, I can handle ants and common houseflies without alarm. I'm gun-shy of ticks, having had Lyme disease on a previous visit here. Some of these creepy crawlies freak me out though. What's amazing is that just walking around the outside of the house, I'm discovering all these new insects I don't think I've ever noticed before. My identification-itis disease has kicked in and though my flesh is crawling, I've got to photograph and identify them. Fishflies with those long plume-like antennae, for instance. Who knew?
There are several good “name that bug” websites. I don't have my good camera with me and thus I'm forced to get closer than I normally would in order to snap a pic that's crisp enough to use for identification and to share with you. What about black fireflies? I've certainly seen lots of fireflies in my life, but I'd never heard of black ones. There seem to be a plethora of them at the moment and they look like they're bug mating which means more in the future. Ick!
Contrary to urban myth, Harvestmen or Daddy-long-legs are not poisonous and not because “their fangs are too short to bite humans” as legend would have us believe. I still don't like them. They're creepy. Other spiders … well, really, let's not go there. In this household, we kill more spiders than we photograph. Apologies (not necessarily sincere ones) to all the arachnid lovers out there and the Association for the Protection of 8-Legged Species. I've got gooseflesh just editing the pics.
Now that I think of it, butterflies and dragonflies are actually a favorite of mine … I try to forget they're insects. I've even got a whole page on my website for butterflies we've photographed and identified. Even moths are nice … in moderation. I don't like them in clouds, swirling around my head though. I found a “Moths By Porch Light” website that I thought was particularly good. And dragonflies and damselflies are beautiful and fascinating. In fact, they might just warrant their own blog post in the near future. In the meantime, enough bugs for now. They're freaking me out.