This page is not for the faint-hearted or squeamish. Here we can see a few insects and invertebrates that failed to qualify as garden pests. Once again, there is nothing rare here and most, if not all gardens should have these creatures or similar crawling or flying about. Most of these are benign or even useful but most are just scary. When looked at closely however, they all are little wonders of engineering and artistry, but most of this usually gets overlooked in the panic of its discovery.
Grasshoppers and Crickets
In my youth, there were thousands of these insects around all chirping away as long as the sun was shining, and were great fun to try to catch. Having been severely decimated in numbers almost to the point of extinction, they now appear to be making a comeback at last. Grasshoppers sometimes possess an alarming sword on its tail, but this is purely for egg laying purposes and the only trouble they may cause is the fact that they eat leaves. Providing they don't invite their cousins the Locusts you have no fear from these bugs.
Crickets tend to stay in grass, preferably long grass where they will hop away from you as you approach. The grasshoppers can be found in any situation and sometimes come into the house when windows or doors are left open.
Grasshoppers and crickets are responsible for producing the extremely loud chirping sounds on sunny summer afternoons. These sounds are produced by the insect rubbing its back legs against its body like a bow on a fiddle. When approached, they will jump to avoid capture. Those back legs can propel it several metres out of harms way.
The photo to the right shows the green shield bug. (Nothing to do with the stamps). There are many different varieties of these and most are brightly coloured. They are unusual amongst insects in that the parent guards the eggs from predators until they hatch but typically, the kids leave home as soon as they can walk.
Needing no introduction, the earwig is usually found after turning out pots and boxes during a tidy-up session. The pincers at its rear are quite capable of giving a nasty nip if you poke it, but is not an aggressive creature.
If you grow your flowers for the flower shows, the earwig may be considered a pest and suitable preventative measures will have to be taken to stop them spoiling the blooms, but for normal gardening, they cause no significant harm.
Believe it or not, they are good fliers and have quite large wings that have to be carefully folded into the harness on its shoulders.
There was once a rather adventurous earwig once that fancied doing a bit of base jumping. His wings were modified into a parachute and carefully folded away. After climbing to the top of the shed, he took an almighty leap into the abyss then pulled the cord.
His last words were .... "Ear Wi GoH"
Ok. Don't write in. I know spiders are not insects, but if I put them in their own page no one would ever look.
The one in the left photo is the common house spider often seen creeping about the house, but the one on the right is probably one you've never seen. It is very small but can jump a long way. That is how it catches its lunch. It walks around until it gets to within 10cm of its prey then jumps.
Nightmares are on me today. ~:)
Wow! Just look at that sting, or is it? From time to time, the more observant amongst you may notice flies similar to this one going about their business.
Once again, the business end is solely for egg laying and is harmless to gardeners.