Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's SPRING!!!!

How do I know it's spring?  Not from the 6'' of snow we received the last 2 days and the blistery winds.  Not because the eagles are all gone except one lone bald who stands sentry over the farm from his perch high in the tree.  Not by the stench of the skunk's spray defending his territory.  Not because the first robin of the season was spotted scouting out the perfect crook to build his nest.

No, I have my own unique way to tell it's spring.


Darkling Beetles

Every year when spring arrives I begin to find stink bugs.  Not outside (it's still to cold), but crawling across my floor in the little red house.  I know this may be a little disconcerting to some of you, but admit it we all harbor 6 or 8 legged creatures weather it be spiders, silverfish , scorpion, or roaches.  I actually have never seen a roach, I wonder of the stink bug eats them.  I usually see them as they make their way slowly accross the floor, but several times I have heard a crunch and then immediately smelt my mistake.   To dispose of them I have an old House for Sale sign that I scoop them up with.  It is slick so once the stink bug is on it the bug can't crawl up the sign and up my arm.  Then I sent the pour little smelly guy to a watery grave.

this guy was crawling up the bedroom curtain

A few interesting facts about stink bugs:

There are approx 20,000 different species of stink bugs over the world.  The variety that live at the farm (genus Eleodes) are large 1-2 inchs long,  hard-bodied and have long legs.  The long legs keep their bodies up off the ground so they can travel over hot sand and soil.  Their wings are welded to their bodies to help trap moisture.  Stink bugs do not need water.  They extract moisture from their food, they can even get moisture from ground flour.  When disturbed they assume a defensive position by standing on their heads and releasing chemicals from a scent gland in the rear that produces noxious ordors and will stain your skin brown if you come in contact with the chemicals.  "Carver quit catching those blasted stink bugs you smell awful"  I have been known to say more than once.  I also call my children affectionally, "You little Stinker Bug".

Mama stink bug lays 100's of tiny white, oval eggs, which later hatch into mealworms (larval stage)  it takes 4 to 9 days to hatch.  Each mealworm sheds it's exoskeleton many times as it grows.  It then enters the pupal stage (2-3 weeks to 9 months if it over winters).  The pupa transforms itself into an adult.  It is white when it emerges from the pupa----it soon turns black.   They feast on decaying material and will even cut plants off and munch on them.   Adults live for a few months.  The entire life cycle takes about a year.  This beetle is found in all regions of the world.  They usually live in dark, cool, moist places (like under my house) and under rocks and logs.

Why don't I bug bomb under my house?  Because I can tolerate the little fellers for a few days and besides STINK BUGS are my own personal RITE OF SPRING.

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