All the Species in My Yard

yup-all of them, great AND small

Summer’s monster: the cat flea August 9, 2009

Filed under: Insects — Martin John Brown @ 3:44 pm
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Every summer the basement, where the cat spends most of her time, starts feeling funny.  If I’m down there for more than a minute or two, there are odd little scratches and tingles on my legs — and then a few days later, marks on my ankles that seem to be bug bites.  But I can’t see any bugs — what’s going on?  The answer is always the same: it’s cat fleas like these, sucking my blood.  Left undealt with, they soon grow to visible size:

Hookes drawing of a flea, from Wikimedia

Hooke's drawing of a flea, from Wikimedia

This is one product of evolution I really just have no appreciation for.  Leave it to Hooke to make something so annoying so beautiful.  Drawings like his, and these, give me something to ponder as I vacuum, launder, and (most hopeless aspect of any flea-fighting campaign) try to catch the cat to give her a treatment.

 

June’s buzzsaws: bumblebees July 28, 2009

Filed under: Insects — Martin John Brown @ 1:34 pm
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Just when the two-year stint of construction on my corner ended, a new kind of work crew showed up: bumblebees, mobbing the fireweed, and especially the purple Ceanothus flowers.  There were so many and they were so loud that occasionally I just could not sit in the side yard with my morning coffee without groaning please, SHUT UP! Do you have to be so frigging INDUSTRIOUS?

photo: flickr user LeeLeFever, used under CC

photo: flickr user LeeLeFever, used under CC

And this for a genus that is generally in trouble — though perhaps between my yard and this Transformer, people are starting to cut them a little slack.