Missouri or Bust
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 This is just a small sampling. I never have my camera or the bugs don't cooperate, but I'll work on it. The names are general. I found a fantastic website called What's That Bug that helped me idenity some of these.

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I am fascinated by bugs and Missouri is a entomologist heaven. They grow 'em big out here. The first mystery early this Spring were the big buzzing bees. They turned out to be Carpenter bees. The males show up early and stake out a territory and chase everything away. They try to get in your face but the males don't have a stinger. Still, I was not anxious to test it out if they were male or female. Then the females show up and start boring holes in all the bare rafters in the porch and barn lean-to. They apparently make a long tunnel into the wood where they make chambers to lay their young. I bought a couple of electric bug zapping rackets. It works well enough on flies but it just stuns the bees and bigger insects. We basically had to spray the holes and fill them with caulk to get them off the porch.

This area has tons of solitary wasps. Fortunately solitary wasps are not aggressive but they put their mud nests everywhere and can get into the smallest crevices. We cleaned out every nest we could find last fall, and they were in everything, but there are still lots flying around. The little mud daubers and paper wasps are not too bad but there is one wasp that has to be 2" long--we give way when he flies by. I have recently found another variety, the Golden Digger Wasp, that makes its nest in the ground and there is a small colony in the barn floor. There are also bumblebees, honeybees and social wasps but they are not as numerous. I haven't seen any yellowjackets although they are reported to be in Missouri, but there is a large black & white Bald-faced Hornet that makes me nervous.

The basement is a great place to find every kind of bug and spider. Most of them come in and just die on the floor for some reason. I have found several kinds of beetles, crickets and roaches. Plus a few earthworms when the basement was very wet. The spiders have a field day down there. The property is lousy with crickets of all sizes and colors. There is also a variety of Wood Cockroaches that basically stays in the barn or under old wood. They don't bother the house like German Cockroaches do. Danny has seen a large dung beetle elsewhere. There is an ugly big fat brown beetle that flies around in May. I found another fat green beetle near the nectarine. Apparently that is what they like to eat. This one is much prettier, iridescent on the underside.

During Danny's Mom's visit is when the first lightning bugs came out. It was ethereal watching them in the trees and on the lawn. I swear they look just like fairies. What a shock when we figured out what they look like during the day.

The mosquitos did not show up until just lately. They aren't as bad as I was lead to believe they would be. Rather small, but they are around during the day which you don't get as much in California. There do seem to be a few different types though. There is one huge one that we've seen a couple times but they don't seem to be very common. Called an Elephant Mosquito, and according to the book, they don't bite. More annoying than the mosquitos are the flies. They can drive you crazy when working outside. Although they don't bite, they land on your arms and back of your legs and tickle. They cover the front of any building in the morning light to warm up. I always have my bug zapper racket and love the satisfying crackle when I connect with one. There are also biting flies like horseflies and deerflies. We find a lot of them in the shop window. Danny's been bitten by one but I haven't, yea! The cows hides are covered with flies where their tails don't reach.

The Cicadas have started singing. They start up in the early afternoon and when the air heats up. What an eerie sound they make. They really sound like a hot summer day.

Butterflies and moths abound. Some of the butterflies are bigger than the hummingbirds. Several varieties of swallowtails, and large, orange monarchs are common. There are Buckeyes, Red Admirals, yellow Sulphur and white Cabbage plus a lot that we haven't identified. Pretty little butterflies in blue and orange, skippers and small moths flit over the lawns. I found a large sphinx moth in the window of the shop. Danny found a huge dead Imperial moth in Macon. It had a 6" wingspan. I long to see a live one. I have seen several large Praying Mantis lately. And an equally large stick insect I found walking up the back door frame. I wish I could identify all the odd fuzzy caterpillars I find. The tent caterpillars make a mess in the trees.

Of course there are plenty of spiders. Big ones and tiny ones. The wasps use them to stock their nests. There has been a large wolf spider in the shop while we are working. There was a black jumping spider in the window. In the kitchen window, between the window and storm window live several house spiders that keep the bugs down.

There are plenty of ants but I haven't seen Argentine ants. The ants here stay outside! There are large black and red ants and the tiniest tan ants that can hardly be seen with the naked eye.

Buster loves to chase the grasshoppers. When Danny brush hogged the back field, I found at least 5 different kinds. I got decent pictures of the 3 shown here.