Velvet ants, grasshoppers, and crickets

September 7 – Isn’t this cooler weather great? And we hear it may get even cooler later on this week. We just came in from picking the tomatoes and didn’t even get two buckets of them this time. There are still lots of green ones out there but they aren’t ripening quickly like they were last week. I just put some of them and a couple of cucumbers and peppers in a box for Dave’s family in case they have run out. Besides picking the tomatoes, we also picked our ground cherries and got a lot of them, three or four one-gallon containers full. I suppose we’ll shuck them out while watching some TV programs.

Painful sting? I'm not worried about no painful sting!

Painful sting? Not to worry!

While out picking the tomatoes I saw this cow killer wasp running around, so I captured it and Chris has taken several pictures of it which you can see in this post. It’s quite a pretty insect, sometimes also known as a velvet ant, but it has a very painful sting. As long as you allow it to run around freely it doesn’t try to sting. The female parasitizes the nests of bumble bees, while the male is much smaller, has wings, and does not sting.  

Yesterday afternoon we took a walk down the road a ways from here, and on the way back just for fun we started counting the grasshoppers that had been hit and killed by passing traffic.  I reached 40 and then quit but there were many more after that. I think that the crickets will be back soon, as there are lots of little ones around and quite a few adults. Some have started to “sing” in our basement already. This afternoon a dogday cicada suddenly landed on my shirt and stayed until I tried to catch it. It was quite a colorful character. – DALE

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