Friday, June 14, 2013

Real Dragons

Since this is my second spring-to-summer transition in this neck of the woods, I feel it's appropriate to tell you of one of my favorite things that happens on the back deck of my apartment.  It's the ladybug season.  Not the actual ladybugs, mind you, but their larvae.

Last year, I thought it was a fluke.  This year, I was torn between treating my plants for their hideous aphid infestations and just letting it ride in favor of another ladybug onslaught.

I chose the onslaught.  Sure, the plants are pekish and weak looking, none of the daisies is quite as pretty as they could have been... but there must be about eight jillion little ladybug larvae out there just tooling around and gobbling up everything aphid-like that they bump into.

Needless to say, they get fat fast and double in size by the hour.

There's a lot to be said for ladybug babies.  They're horrifying.  They look like creatures that both Star Wars AND Dr. Who would have rejected for being "too scary looking".  But yet they still have that spacey-wacey, timey-wimey look to them that just forces me to look more closely.  They look impossible.  Big hairy caterpillar abdomens being dragged around by weency little spidery legs which are all crammed into the first 2% of body length.  And they're the bug-world answer to the dyson vaccuum cleaner when it comes to eating aphids.  NOM NOM NOM they go as they speed up and down every little leaf and cranny they come to.  GOBBLE OBBLE OBBLE they go, as they pant in the sunshine and careen ever forward toward the next little green meal.  I imagine the aphids screaming in terror as they're seized, chomped, chewed and swallowed in a matter of picoseconds.

My littlest minions.

And then they stop moving entirely.  They blot their little butts onto a particularly comfortable leaf and they get all stony and blotchy and inescapably booger-looking.  And then the next day, they're gone.  They pupate (or whatever) in the morning and fly away, fly away home before I'm awake in the morning.

The whole process takes about, oh, four days I think.  But it's fantastic to watch and oh, so satisfying when you've got a cough-syrup-addled imagination like I do today.

So here's to my league of terrible dragons out there on the deck.  Couldn't be less than fifty of them out there, all of them together weighing less than a kernel of corn.  Go, my little dragons.  Seek out your prey and devour them by the handful as you scour my plants clean of their entire presence.  Then spread your little red wings and fly away, to adventures and romances I couldn't possibly imagine.

1 comment:

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