We Bought a Zoo

Bought a Zoo

I’m pretty sure we accidentally bought a zoo with this house.  Mostly a bug zoo but still I think we have about enough specimens to get the ball rolling.  This last month we’ve added two to our collection – A Camel Cricket and a Wheel Bug.  And now here is a little educational post about our two newest backyard friends enemies.

Camel Cricket

The Camel Cricket  (aka. Spider Cricket)

So my first thought when I saw this guy was not to grab the camera so ours missed his photo-op but I did find this picture on the internet.  It is a little bit cuter than the others I saw but don’t be fooled.  These things are giants, like three inches long by 3 inches tall with these antennae that go on for miles.

This guy I met in the house when we were carving pumpkins.  He kindly jumped out from behind a pillow on the couch to say hello, and I promptly freaked out.  Eric calmly says
“oh, yeah those things are all over the garage.”  And I’m thinking how have you failed to mention the giant spider crickets (a more accurate name) that are infesting the garage??  That seems like something I should know about so that I can steer clear of the garage all together.  So Eric goes to catch it and take it outside but these things jump all crazy.  They jump high and in crazy directions, mostly towards you which I read is to scare away predators.  We finally got it out of the house.

My second encounter was in the garage when I went to take a chair off the wall and one jumped on my face.  I’ll admit I freaked out pretty thoroughly.  Thankfully my mom was there to vouch for the fact that this thing took up half of my face.  They’re no joke.  They’re supposed to live in caves and in dark moist places so I’m not sure why one was behind the couch but I think they’ll stick to the garage.  I’m just hoping they’re done ripping out the forest across the street so these guys don’t need to hunker down for the winter in our garage.

Wheel Bug

The Wheel Bug  (aka Assassin of the Insect World)

How crazy is this guy?  Straight out of a science fiction book?  No, straight out of our yard.  You can see why he is called a wheel bug, look at that gear protruding from his back.  They’re not sure what that thing is for.  He’s one of the ancient bugs, a “true bug”.  Apparently they are all over the east coast but they are so shy that people rarely see them.  My favorite part about him is his tiny little head that sticks out of the giant armor with that creepy bug eye on the side of it.  This is also the scariest place on the Wheel Bug because look at that crazy long mouth.  There is basically a needle in there, and like a spider this guy injects poison into his victim which turns their insides to liquid which he then sucks out like a straw.  I apologize if you’re about to eat lunch.  But, this is bad news for us humans as well because apparently one bite feels 10x worse than a hornet sting and won’t heal for months. Then again, everything I read said these guys eat the bad guys so don’t hurt them.  Just don’t play with them either.

ENCOUNTER:  Pretty boring, we found one dead in the house.  But we have seen lots of the babies around the yard in the spring that don’t look anything like the adults:

Wheel Bug Nymph

Have you caught all the other wildlife we’ve seen this year?  If not, here are a few other guys we’ve caught on camera:

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So there’s your learning lesson for the day, and if you live out here on the east coast, keep your eyes peeled for the assassin of the insect world next time you are hanging out in nature.

Author: Jamie Forbes

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