Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nature is weird

Since I started gardening 4 years ago, I have found it a ... "fun" ... challenge to learn about new bugs, mostly in an effort to diagnose a problem. I am a wannabe master gardener afterall, and that's part of a master gardener's job. I know what the different stages of boxelder bug development look like, and how to prevent infestations. I can spot leaf miner damage a mile away. Ultimately though, I hate bugs. I know they play an important role in ecology, and that probably most bugs serve some purpose (except for maybe the stinkbug), but I don't like them. Even the beneficials. I know ladybugs are a happy vision, but I'd rather they fly away home.

My sister has been asking me about a white, triangular-shaped bug with a "little puff of fuzz on it's butt". Interesting specimen indeed. Oftentimes, it's the fact that these bugs are so totally interesting that disgusts me so much. You can't NOT look, but at the same time, you know it will bring nightmares. For example, what if I told you that if you clicked this link here, you would find a photo of something I find particularly fascinating yet disgusting - parasites on a tomato hornworm. If you're like me, you'll click, you'll practically pass out, but nonetheless, you'll click. Before you quickly close the window, you might even subconsciously try to take in as much detail as you can.

One morning, I am on my way out for work when I spy on my front door a tiny triangular-shaped bug that looked like it had a little tuft of fuzz - perhaps on it's butt (well, I guess if bugs had butts, it'd be on it's butt). I thought, "Hello, you weird little fucker" (Granted I have a potty mouth anyway, but I almost always curse in any dealings with bugs). I remembered that my sister said it was almost "cute" looking and if you got close, it had these eyes that would follow you if you moved. I got close to the bug. Real close. I could not see any eyes on the thing, but the little tufts of fuzz on the bug were really interesting indeed. Sort of reminded me of cotton candy thread. Very delicate silky threads. I got even closer so that I was about 4 inches from the specimen. Then the most horrifying thing that could happen to me at 6am on my way to work happened. The cute triangular bug exploded on my face. If I would not have awakened my younger daughter, I would have screamed. I know it exploded because it was there, 4 inches from my face one second, and the next, it was gone and in it's place, minuscule dots of clear liquid . On my face, cool, moist bug guts. What the hell happened? Defense mechanism? My theory until now was that it exploded. Now that I've had time to think rationally, perhaps it sprayed me with something and flew away while I was momentarily incapacitated. Either way, nature is really weird.


  1. Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a horrific experience at that hour of the morning!

    I hate bugs. I know we've got to have them, but except for bees, I'd just as soon all the bugs went away!

    I for one did not click on the tomato hornworm link because there is NOTHING that grosses me out as bad as tomato hornworms. (shudder) Give me spiders any day, just not those creeping behemoths!

    So, have you found out what the fuzzy butt bugs are yet?

  2. I know really!!

    No idea what the fuzzy butt bugs are!

  3. Wendy, are you talking about this insect:

    According to this website (, it's a cottony cushion scale.

  4. No, that's not it, but I wonder if that's the one my sister originally mentioned. My father-in-law thought it was a mealybug. I'll have to look up a pic.


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