Monday, June 12, 2017

Dragging wings and insect things

Looks like gardenia season is nearly over, but I love the desiccated blooms nearly as much as the young ones.  They remind me of aged ivory parchment paper.

Thankfully, we have lots of new growth to fill in the gap.  Our "Jurassic ferns" are doing nicely in their new location.

Hostas are starting to spike.

The young lantana buds remind me of field clovers from home.

Our beautyberry bushes are sporting tiny purple flowers that are attracting lots of insects.

Trees are setting up their seeds, too.

It's hard to stay inside when all the tiny insects are on the move!  I love this iridescent fly.  Such beautiful colors!

The same goes for this pair of mating Japanese beetles.

I know they're destructive...can't you just hear him chewing?...

...but I can't help enjoying their lovely appearance.  Even relatively monochromatic insects have a beauty in the various shades of color.

These striped leaf hoppers are the same that we had in Indiana.  I'm glad to see them here!

I'm seeing assassin bug nymphs everywhere right now.

You can see their pale, immature rostrums, but just barely.  Soon he'll be able to deliver a pretty powerful bite!

I found a dead adult on one of our screens recently.  Check out the mature rostrum on this guy!

I have, unfortunately, been unable to be outside as much lately.  I was weeding in the yard a couple of weekends ago and was repeatedly bitten by a mystery insect that caused me to break out in head-to-toe hives and necessitated a trip to the ER because of my swollen throat/tongue.

Mystery insect unknown, but from a description of the circumstances, Todd's allergist thinks that it was probably fire ants.  There are two types here in South Carolina:  the native (Solinopsis geminata) and the imported (Solinopsis invicta).  The imported fire ants are the ones you've heard about that stowed away on some transport from South America and have spread like wildfire here in the United States.  They are quick, aggressive, and their bites leave a tell-tale pustule on the welt.  The native fire ants have a much smaller range and leave a welt with no pustule.  I was bitten/stung once or twice on the hand by a native fire ant two years ago.  My hand turned red and swelled, but no hives.  This time, though, I received 8 bites/stings.  But maybe it wasn't an ant at all.  I have an EpiPen now, but I still get anxious when I'm out by tall plants for very long, and I just won't crawl around on the ground to weed again.  Even staying upright, I'm still an insect magnet.  I was outside for about 2 hours this weekend and came in with TWENTY mosquito bites!  Ugh!  I'm mixing up an essential oils-based repellent this week.

I can't stay inside, though, when I see our "goz" coming.

They come right over to me... me the usual forthright look.

Their baby fuzz is nearly gone!

One gosling has a very noticeable problem.  When he walks, his wings drag the ground instead of tucking neatly away.

I read up on this problem.  I found that it wouldn't do any good to call a local wildlife rescue group. The nearest one is 45 minutes away and most groups - even relatively close ones - won't come out for a single goose, which is considered a bit of a nuisance bird anyway.  I read that it could be a back sprain or a birth defect. One nature blogger mentioned a very similar problem, and reported that the goose in question did eventually seem to improve on his own and was able to fly when the time came.  The fact is, this goose is fat and thriving on our pond.  It never freezes over, and there's plenty to eat.  If winter comes and he is still here, alone, and needs care, that will be another conversation.  I would love to rush in and feed him all winter, but that would make him dependent upon us.  I'm not sure that it's the wisest thing to do.  I'm going to watch and wait.

Have a great week!

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