Houston, we have a problem.
Lions and Tigers and Jumping Spiders, OH MY
We have spickets in the house. What’s a spicket, you ask? A spicket is a horribly gianormous mutation that obviously occurred during the time a spider was holding a cricket captive and decided the cricket looked, uh, nice that day. It resembles a wolf spider, has two extra long antennae, a lengthy tail, and possesses the ability to jump higher than a cricket. Like straight up. At face-level. Seriously. I have also learned they do so purposely as an intimidation tactic.
This bug is actually trying to scare me. It THINKS. It’s the kind of stuff my nightmares are made of.
Early this morning, Keith finally got to hear what his girlfriend sounds like when she screams. Loudly. It wasn’t pretty.
From what I’ve read, nobody likes them (everybody hates them, I think I’ll eat a worm… fat ones, skinny ones, even little bitty ones – see how they wiggle and squirm…)
They’re fast. Like Edward Cullen fast. I assume this is because (yes, I know what assuming does) they realize just how bad they look. I’d be willing to bet these babies would turn to stone just by seeing their reflection in a mirror.
I made a new Kill this morning, the second one within 24 hours. This morning’s Kill was about the size of a silver dollar. A bug should not be the size of a silver dollar. It’s just not natural. If you are able to catch up to one, it’s a gross Kill since they’re quite meaty – their upper thighs resemble those of a bodybuilder.
Afterwards I went into the bedroom where Keith was sitting straight up in bed. At this point I wouldn’t have been more surprised if his head had spun around in Linda Blair fashion. “We’ve got jumping spiders” I said. “We can’t do this. We just can’t.” (Note the “We”, as in Us, as in No Us if They stay.) Of course I didn’t come right out and say that it was either me or the spickets – I think I made a point without saying anything like that. “I’ll stop on the way home and get some stuff” he said. I locked eyes with him and held the glare for what seemed like 60 seconds but was probably only about 10. I really do think he understood me, he’s just good like that.
He also kept any witty comments he might’ve had about my sheet-white face locked up tight in his little bag of tricks. To be pulled out at a more opportune time, I’m sure. Like maybe at the next family reunion.
Enter Google. Old faithful, trusty, reliable Google. I heart Google.
Results = Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket, they’re one in the same. Oh good! So now I can replace the slang name ‘jumping spiders’ I’ve given them all my life with better terminology. Cave cricket – let’s see, what else lives in a cave? Bats. Spiders. Snakes. Bears. Monsters. The Unknown. Any insect that lives in a cave, well who the heck knows what they do in the dark? I also read they are people-intimidators. YA THINK?
The white-assed bee
Keith really entertains me with his love for nature. Early last spring, it was a little box turtle he rescued from a job site that came home to live with him for about 4 months. The little thing was such a carnivore! Keith would diligently go out and ‘fetch’ him worms, and the tiny little turtle would just ravish them. ‘Autobot’ was later released in a nice little pond-like area.
When the time comes, which is soon – there will be black snakes a’plenty. Let me say right up front that I am not a snake person, not even close. This said, upon hearing my screams, Keith will go pick up said snake and transport it to a nearby tree. I personally think these snakes adore him – I say that because one climbed up to his kitchen window to get another glimpse of him last spring. Of course I got a picture of it!
They call him… the snake whisperer.
As it happened, this past weekend was to be insect weekend. From the front porch K motioned for me to come look through the storm door. He was holding a dragonfly, it’s little legs wrapped tight around his finger. He told me it was still a young one (obviously my understanding of the dragonfly aging-process needs work). K’s eagle-eyes found Junior on the ground and said he would be in danger if he got caught there during the looming storm.
And what a storm it was to be. Never in my life have I seen anything larger than quarter-sized hail. Saturday though, we got Kansas hail – baseball-sized. We happened to make national news with this one! I shall call it… Carolina Hail.
I guess I should realize by now, my man doesn’t exaggerate… he just doesn’t have it in him. Chuckle if you want to on that – but I can guarantee if you call him on something he tells you, you’ll lose. I quite simply adore this wonderful trait he possesses.
When I arrived at his house Friday, he told me about this carpenter bee who was running around with a white ass because of him. Carpenter bees are territorial and like to ‘hover’ – add to that the fact that they’re huge. K had been painting some louvered doors outside, and apparently this one wanted to hover in his face. After several failed attempts at rerouting the bee, he inadvertently swiped at it with the paintbrush in his hand. He said it sped off down the street. About an hour later, the bee showed back up at his house, sporting a white ass! Doubting Thomas over here asked if he was sure it was that exact bee, and did it really have a white ass. He calmly said yes, it was that bee and yes, it did.
The next day, we were ready to leave and he pointed up in the air beside him, laughing. Sure enough, said bee turned 90º to look at him (like the snakes, even the bees seem to love him – even after being swiped by a loaded paintbrush) and sure enough it had a white ass! Not just a dot, either – a genuine big white bee-ass! Come yesterday, it’s still guarding that section of the house. My stomach is literally sore from laughing at that, umm-hmm, particular end of the bee.
Sorry for the language, but it’s Keith’s story and that’s what he’s called it from the beginning. It just gives more ooomph to the storyline. Seriously, would a bee with a white butt be funny? Not so much. But a bee with a white ass? Now that’s hilarious…
Are you kidding, of course we got a picture!
Footnote: for all you insect-lovers… no bashing, please. Mr. Carpenter is alive and well, and doing a marvelous job of guarding his assigned spot on the side of the house. In this picture taken Monday 11 Apr, he’s actually hovering above the bricks, as Keith followed him around to get a detailed picture. As of yesterday, the remaining paint looks as though it’s ready to flake off any minute – I only wish we could’ve gotten a shot when his whole, umm, rear, was white!
Baby girl scare
So the epsom salt bath by candlelight with accompanying glass of wine that was on schedule for two nights ago was an epic fail. I had a minor/what could’ve been major, pet emergency.
Camille and I laid down for a short napper around 5-ish on Monday. I woke before her, gathered my cellphone and snapped the cutest pic of her laying beside me holding up her ‘hand’. (Yes, they have hands.)
Anywho, not five minutes after this pic was snapped she came running into the bedroom doing something I can only describe as a mix between a meow and a scream. I’ve only heard this terrible sound come from her once before – it was during the time I was trying to get her used to car rides. The few weeks it happened, I didn’t think I could endure it. I immediately noticed she had her belly close to the ground – not a good sign. She then took off (still performing the same ‘scream’) towards the living room, looking back at me to make sure I was following (YES, dog-lovers – cats do this too) and proceeded to lead me to the window overlooking the balcony where her cat-condo is at. There it was, about knee-level in the window – a red wasp, in all his effing glory. My furbaby had just ratted out the enemy’s location.
I hate wasps.
But the terminator adrenaline took over. Split-second checklist:
- Must locate fly-swatter (where is that thing??) ah, spare bathroom (wtf’s it doing in there?)
- Run-run-run up to it (quickly now, before I change my mind) and *big gulp*, oh my God I hope I get it the first time, I know these things DART at you…
- BAM. Okay, I injured it – but as I grudgingly glance back from the other room, I notice it still has flight capabilities. No good.
- Find the spider spray, once again rush it, and empty half the can on it. Okay the rest is now history.
Meanwhile my baby girl was back in my bedroom, injured. She had jumped on the bed and was still doing that horrible scream. I made the quick transformation from wasp-terminator back to furmommy-mode.
Her little paw swelled up to twice it’s normal size. I made her a little icepack and held her paw on it for a couple minutes at a time. I watched/loved on her for the next two hours. She really is the most appreciative little thing – she knew I was trying to help her and was worried so. About 45 minutes after the initial sting, the icepack was still sitting in front of her and she sat her own paw on top of it, so darn sweet – she must have been feeling some relief from it. I’m so thankful that there wasn’t a stinger to pull out, but also not sure how many times it may have stung her since wasps can sting multiple times. As the case may be, this particular wasp won’t be stinging any more kittehs…
A couple of hours later, she was back to ‘answering’ my questions (she’s one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of being mommy to).
Thank the Good Lord, as of yesterday she’s back to normal. Breathe, Bonnie.
Cow Killers – the Red Velvet Ant revisited
Here at wordpress we’re fortunate enough to have a stats feature that informs us of our most-read posts. I personally find this feature useful, and in paying close attention to it for the past month, have found one post that supersedes all others by a mile. It is the post I wrote on my experience with the Red Velvet Ant.
I had never seen one prior to that one instance. At the time, it’s mere image was so unrealistically startling that I questioned whether or not I was dreaming. I haven’t ran across another one since then, which if I never do again it’ll be too soon… but apparently a LOT of you out there are coming in contact with them this summer. The google search terms that people use to find information on them are plentiful, which lets me know they are still very much alive and well.
The insect coined the name ‘Cow Killers’ because when cows graze, they often pull the grass up by the roots, and sometimes attached to it is a less than friendly red velvet ant. The insect will then crawl up the nostril or face of the cow and sting it. Although ten times more powerful than that of a red ant, it’s a myth that it’s sting is lethal enough to kill a cow, unless of course there are multiple attacks. The female Cow Killers are wingless, which is what I encountered. They crawl around the ground looking for the holes of other bugs such as ground-nesting bees. They’ll infiltrate the nest, find a cocoon and eat a hole in it, then deposit an egg. When it hatches, it then feeds on the bee larva. Amazingly enough the insect is born as white, legless grub and will go through many stages before metamorphing into fuzzy Red Velvet Ants.
Here’s a very informative video on this most interesting insect which is really a wasp. This lady is well-informed and shares some very useful information on this most intriguing insect.