Doesn’t BUG us

Being nerdy geeks, one of the things we love watching in our garden is all the different bugs, insects and critter life that we have living along side us. They are our friendly…and sometime not so friendly…neighbours.

Usually we find lots of critters scurrying through the garden beds, burrowing homes between plants and finding ways to help our garden grow. Sometime we find them having a little snack on our vegetable leaves or in the flower pots. We have been lucky that most of our teeny-tiny neighbours have been helpful in our garden rather than being pests.

This year we have found more of our critters building and living among the new landscaping sections. Their location has led to some great photos to share with you.

While building our newest wall we briefly had to watch where we were stepping because we had a busy colony of ants on our landing, harvesting some of the weeds we had pulled up. After a day or two they were gone, finding a better place to reside.

This was a new fly for us. We had never seen nor heard of an Assassin Fly until this one settled in next to us as we were filling one of the cages. It was such a stealthy, wicked and svelte looking fly, it was hard not to get side tracked into watching it while it watched us. It’s look certainly lived up its name. After a little research we realized how awesome these flies are for a garden. They do not eat plants but rather feed on other insects as well as spiders. This guy is welcome to bring some friends over anytime.

This lady is not new to this blog. She has been highlighted in a couple posts but deserved a spot here as well. Despite being creeped out by spiders I have to admire the unique look and beauty of this spider. Their cephalothorax is a perfect shiny black orb with a hint of burgundy in the hourglass trait. I am happy to be rid of these dark crawlers.

I love bumble bees for so many reasons. They are just adorable when they dig into the deep pockets of pollen in the flowers and their fluffy bums are sticking out. They are so docile and chill, they are a pleasure to sit back and watch as they go about their work, helping our plants grow. They may not be the only pollinators in our garden but they are certainly my favourite to watch. I enjoy them so much that I have left my basil to flower in order to attract them to our patio.

We live in a semi- dessert, grasslands valley, surrounded by mountains. Crickets are our musicians of the evening, serenading us into our sweet dreams. This big guy was happily living in our rock pile until he got accidentally scooped up with a pile of rocks destined for our wall. We made sure he had a way out of the wheelbarrow and could find a new home in the lush gardens in our backyard.

It’s hard to think of these silly looking spiders as a “real” spider. With their long legs they always look on the verge of dancing a jig. Well, doing a bit of research I learned that these little jiggers are not actually spiders but are rather more closely related to mites, scorpions and pseudoscorpions. They have also been here FOREVER, with some fossils going back millions of years, with little to no change in their makeup. They still creep me out the same way spiders do though, so I give them a healthy berth as long as they are not where I need to be.

I hate spider so I see them all the time. K hates snakes so he sees them all the time. Luckily he calls me so that I can come check out the snakes since I really like them. This slow slithering friend had a full belly and was looking for a safe place to chill and digest. We left him relaxing in the ditch behind our new wall, with a roll of wire covering the gap so that our dogs would leave it be. Ellie has been known to be a little too “playful” whipping them around her head like a new toy and subsequently killing a very handy neighbour. With these guys making a home in the yard, we have far less rodents taking up homes in the yard.

We have a few different types of grasshoppers that live in our backyard. We think of them as free toys for the dogs since they enjoy chasing them around, very rarely ever actually catching one. The stubby brown ones blend in perfectly with the dry dessert dusty areas while the larger grey ones tend to stick to the long dry grasses.

This beautiful beetle was new for me. While cleaning my car he came along to rest on my window. He didn’t like having his photo taken and mostly ran around in random directions. What beautiful colouring and chrome-like shine he had. I would love to see more of them around. Unlike bug collectors, I was happy to enjoy his beauty for a bit but left him to carry on with his evening as I finished cleaning.

We have had quite a few new beetles in the yard this year. These two took a little digging to identify and I really only got as far as determining they are both types of longhorn beetles, aptly named due to their long antennas. Both are very different and uniquely interesting. The top one (black) was quite large, approx the length of my pinky finger (not including the antenna), while the bottom one (green) was the length of my pinky finger nail (not including the antenna).

Now this is a spider. Not beautiful like the black widow, but solid and hearty, with a wicked kick-ass look. Oddly enough, despite their look, they are apparently quite docile and tend to just chill. These get very large in our area usually. Perhaps due to the cooler summer they have not been able to grow to their gargantuan, tarantula size, that they usually do. This guy was keeping intruders out of our house while we were away camping. Unfortunately he was in our direct path in getting back into our house so I had to destroy his web. He skittered off into the bushes and has hopefully made a home away from where I need to be.

Last but certainly not least, a pesky neighbour who was uninvited and had the audacity to set up home in my Peter Pan bush. Last year his cousin tried to settle in the strawberries. Hopefully my eviction of this slimy little guy will get it through to his family that they are not welcome here as they rudely overeat and overstep their welcome (which is non-existent).

We hope you enjoyed meeting our neighbours. As I collect more candids, I will update again with photos of the new neighbours as they settle in.

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