On the plus side, it’s kind of pretty. The gray, stained-glass, fingerprint wings — and underneath them, which this does not show, you’d find a vicious splash of red, which at least makes them easy to identify at a distance. For when they fly, that red really pops. The fire of little lanterns.
On the minus side, they’re an invasive species making a fast, fast foray into Pennsylvania. They have a hunger for another invasive — the assy-smelling Tree of Heaven, which is a weedy tree that pops up like unwanted backhair — and if that’s all it were, it would also fall neatly into the plus column. Sure, jerk bug, eat the jerk tree, huzzah. But they also hanker for grape vines, apple trees, peach trees, I think walnuts trees, too? Last year, I’d seen a few of them here and there. This year I’ve seen ten times that amount, and last week we went to the wildlife conservancy to hike and look for butterflies, and while there, we probably saw… 50? 60? All in just a couple hours.
So, they’re here, and we crush them whenever possible. I’ve heard tell from Twitter pal Rebecca Seidel that maybe a little diluted Dawn dish soap with water can kill them. Worth a shot.
And of course, all this is happening as slowly-but-surely we lose a ton of wonderful ash trees thanks to the emerald ash borer. We’re inoculating some of our nicest trees because the cost of inoculation per tree per year has come down from $1000 to $100, but it’s also no guarantee.
Good job, mankind. Spreading invasive species, like a jerk.
I suppose this is where I do the thing where I’m like HEY HEY HEY I WROTE A BOOK CALLED INVASIVE and it’s sorta about invasive species, if by “invasive species” you mean “Frankensteinian man-made skin-harvesting ants who take over the island of Kauai.” Anyway, blah blah blah, buy Invasive, in print or ebook or audio, please and thank you.
Also, looks like Damn Fine Story on e-book is down a bit in price ($8.49).
If you want another buggy macro, here is the head, or maybe the butt? of an io moth caterpillar, replete with a waterdrop cradled in the spines. Those spines, by the way, will give you a nasty passive sting. They blend in perfectly with our redbud tree, and so it’s easy to brush along one and get stung. I haven’t, as yet, though our tree guy got a sting — some say it’s equivalent to a bee sting, others claim it’s far worse? DO NOT HUG THE CATERPILLAR.
Or, if you’d rather a caterpillar who is a wee smidgen friendlier, here is the caterpillar of the snowberry clearwing hummingbird moth, a cool moth whose wings are, well, literally transparent in places. This one is an adorable little sushi roll, and was very delicious HA HA what no I didn’t eat the caterpillar YOU ate the caterpillar shut up
Here, this caterpillar you can hug. I mean, gently. Or maybe you should just let the caterpillar hug you, I mean, what with those ADORABLE WIDDLE CATTYPILLOW PAWS OMFG.
Anyway, I guess that’s it for now.
BE GOOD, HOOMANS
*vanishes in an ostentatious display of pixels*