June 14, 2010
Alas faithful readers, we are taking a brief holiday to visit relatives in Ohio. We will not be answering any letters for the next week, however there will be daily postings that we postdated prior to our departure. We will be gone from 15 June through 23 June. Feel free to browse our extensive archives because chances are quite good the bug you want identified is already posted on our site.
June 23, 2010
We returned to Los Angeles just before midnight, and we haven’t even begun to look at all of the emails that arrived in our absence. We are certain that we will only be able to respond to a tiny fraction of what we received. We did, however, want to take a few minutes to provide an update on some Ohio sightings that we experienced that brought back some fond, and one not so fond, memories.
We were thrilled to have been lucky enough to witness the emergence of Lightning Bugs or Fireflies for the first time in decades. Our yearly June trip to Ohio is usually a bit earlier, but this year it seems that Ohio sightings are also running a few weeks early. We saw our first Lightning Bug the day of our arrival on June 15 at dusk, and by 9:30 PM, there were hundreds of blinking insects in the back yard. Greater Fritillaries also seemed to be most numerous this year. In Mom’s garden, they were attracted to blooming privet, queen of the prarie, and a white clematis. In the fields along the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, they were nectaring from milkweed and enjoying the hot and humid sunny conditions. On one wooded country road, we saw a dead opossum carcass in the road. As we approached in the car, a butterfly took flight. We patiently waited and were treated to a gorgeous Question Mark landing right next to the car. There were many Question Marks flying about and sunning on the roads, their appearance coming shortly after a morning thunderstorm.
Finally, a few days before leaving Ohio, the first Japanese Beetles of the year began to appear on the clematis. They increased in number each day, and they had a particular fondness for the queen of the prairie, primrose and roses as well as the clematis. We put water in a bucket and added a few squirts of motor oil and a squirt of liquid dish detergent and hand picked the beetles. The oily and soapy water quickly killed them when they were dropped into the bucket. Mom says in a few weeks, many of the plants in her yard will look like lace doilies because of the ravenous invasive exotic Japanese Beetles.
We would love to get photos of Fireflies, Fritillaries, Question Marks and Japanese Beetles from our readers.