Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: Strange Subterranean Grubs

You may wonder where the dirt clods came from.  Well, last week Erin came inside after digging in the dirt screaming she'd seen a yellow jacket (or jaguar in her vernacular) flying into the ground.  We had a yellow jacket problem last year, set traps early this year, and are trying to be pro-active about eradicating the problem before it starts.  So Brian heads out with a shovel and some protective clothing with the intent of digging down and finding the nest.

Instead he finds this:

A pretty large, slowly moving, juicy looking insect nestled about 6-10 inches under the ground.  No wings, but winglets (my own term: perfectly formed but mini wings), 6 legs.  First thought?  Queen.  Quick search revealed nope. Not a yellow jacket, not a bumblebee, not anything we can quickly ID by a google search.  We put it to rest.

A week goes by and the dirt clods resulting from the excavation are perfect for throwing.  Erin asks for more dirt to throw, I pick up the shovel and dig further into the pit already started.  And another big, juicy bug emerges. It really looks like a bug that's not quite done with development.  Puny, squirmy lets.  Itty bitty wings plastered to its body.  Eyes pasty and the same greenish-yellow as its body.

Out comes the iPhone, a quick picture, a Facebook post, and lots of minds on the question of "what in tarnation is this bug?!?!?!"

Hats off to Jenna Mc for finding this.  Reading through this blog post, the ID process went much as the FB discussion did.  It is a cicada nymph. I had no idea these insects lived here.  I remember hearing that they spent decades underground.  And now I feel really bad about killing two of them.  And I will feel even worse this summer when we tear apart the back yard dirt patch to put in a shed and veggie garden.

Thanks to everyone on FB who helped solve the mystery!

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