Insectoids On the Loose

July 22 – The other day when we were ready to come in to eat supper, Dale went out to the garage and found that he couldn’t close the door by pressing on the button on the wall. After several tries, he decided he would ask our grandson Kevin to see if he could solve the problem. With Dale’s sore back, he surely didn’t want to try the job! After an hour or so with Kevin trying everything he could to find out the problem, he suggested that maybe, since the door was still under a warranty his grandpa should call the man who installed it. His business is about 50 miles from us, and since he couldn’t come till a couple days later, Dale had to push the door up and down before we left to drive anywhere!


Mud-dauber wasp

On Monday last week, the repairman phoned to say he would be coming very shortly. Well, THAT was an experience that we will not soon forget! Why?

While the man was checking for the problem we might have, he had some idea of how to repair the door, but he didn’t tell us until he had just about finished the job. He moved a few things out of the motor track so he could see what might be at the end of it, and found that his surmising was useful. Way back at the end of the track, a very big mud dauber wasp had recently built a nest and was master of the area! Not for long, however, as the nest was knocked about, with pieces landing on the driveway. (Pieces that the cat checked out very carefully before taking a look or two at the mud!)

So at last we can raise and lower the door without any help from anyone! However, when we learned how much we owed, we found that we had to pay around eighty dollars out of our own funds, since the problem was not with the equipment, but with the wasp!

To add one more item on this story, later that week I was getting ready to go outside and do some gardening work. I got on my work clothes and was just ready to put on my cap when I noticed, that inside the cap, there was another big mud dauber nest! I quickly changed my mind, and put on another cap.


Blister beetle

On another buggy topic, I wonder how many of you have ever heard of the blister beetle family? I can tell you for sure that these insects really do enjoy trying to find a human being in what they consider THEIR territory.

Well, they’re wrong about that! The ones that I am writing about do not own any of the fence or vines that grow up around it. Instead we are the ones who planted many clematis, knowing that the fence would be beautiful all the way up and down the hill, when it was time to enjoy the flowers.

Through the years we have never had so many of the plants taken over by the blister beetles. One late afternoon last week I noticed that one of the clematis vines had lost almost of its healthy greenery, and was now brown and unsightly. Although I carefully checked out the few leaves and stems that were not affected, I couldn’t figure out what had made the mess.


Blister beetles eating our clematis

Sitting back on the tailgate of the truck, I asked Dale if he could figure out what had done the damage. Well, just the NEXT day the entire fence row of clematis looked pretty sad. As the black blister beetles chomped their way along eating and eating, they left behind a sad clematis here and there, but so many plants were just ruined, with the beetles eating up the greenery on both sides of the fence. I plan to steer clear of that area until those pests give up. – CHRIS

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