I don’t recall ever seeing any of these at Balsamea during the five years before the house (2010). But they really love the house. In September these critters adorn the exterior walls of the house at the rate of about one per horizontal foot of wall space.
They even outnumber our famous “daddy-long-legs” spiders, which also came with the house and love its pale olive walls, also especially in September.
Only once this year have I seen one inside the house, probably fallen from the kitchen door where they like to bask in the sun.
Since the house arrived in 2010, the locusts (a.k.a. grasshoppers, but ours don’t live in the grass, only on the house … seemingly) have increased in number each year.
I suppose I should learn to eat fried locust and guacamole tacos (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Locust Watch website), which is a kosher dish, if anyone wants to know. Hey, who am I to turn down free food? But I’d replace the guacamole with yogurt. I never understood guacamole’s appeal. I suspect people like it because it cools the effects of the spicy food it comes with. Frankly, guacamole looks disgusting to me … especially in this picture. The bugs don’t look so bad.
After looking at a thousand images of grasshoppers and locusts on the Internet, I have decided that these must be the rare Balsamea type, because mine are the only pictures of this exact type of locust. Or maybe I’ve just captured the best images ever made?
They are sluggish, and sometimes won’t move even if you touch them. To get them off the door before I open it, I often have to flick or fling them. I add sound effects like, “Yahoo!” or “Yipes!” or “Yowee!”
They fly only in short bursts on their noisy wings. You can’t see it in these pictures, but they have red and white strobe landing lights under their abdomens, so that you don’t shoot them down at night, and to avoid collisions with fireflies. I heard a couple of them griping about the summer bug traffic congestion around here.
I don’t know why they have wings. It seems they can leap as far as they typically fly, with those monstrous hind legs.
By human aesthetic standards, everything about them is monstrous. But the more you study them, the more attractive they become. Their amazing nature grows on you. But I’d prefer they show up only one or two per day instead of being omnipresent.
I have a hunch that there is a part of human nature that needs close encounters with this kind of critter. Without it, we’d become too civilized, not wild enough, nature-deficient, merely humanoid, not fully human. We might start thinking the world revolves around us, was made solely for us, exists solely for our pleasure.
I’m pretty sure that they are vegans. I’ve never had one bother me in any way, only very rarely landing briefly on me before fluttering away. It only happens when one of their GPS units or radar guidance systems fail.
Buddy shows no interest in them. He also usually ignores frogs, lizards, snakes, fish and non-game birds (although he will not turn down an offer of the meat of these beings). But don’t try to saunter by him if you have any kind of fur. He’s such an animal. I seriously doubt he would want any of that taco.
If you know something interesting or fun about the lives or livelihoods of these miniature monsters, or about kosher food, guacamole or human nature, feel free to share it. You won’t embarrass my ignorance and lack of research.
Brought to you by the letter L.
YUCK. YECH. BLEH!
Somewhat Related Articles:
- Nahum 3:15-17 – Cankerworms, Locusts and Grasshoppers (thepauls.wordpress.com) – “He is a stronghold in the tempestuous and trying situations of life and he can immobilize the forces that are against you, if you trust in him, for he knows you – and guess what, he may even use cankerworms, locusts and grasshoppers to prove himself to you.” Oh god. I just KNEW there was something divine about bugs!
- FROM THE YOU GOTTA READ THIS DEPARTMENT: Tiny Livestock – Raising Locusts for People Food (iainmcgillvary.wordpress.com) – from the blog, Plagued; An experiment in breeding, harvesting and eating insects. Excerpt: I like to think of them as land-shrimp, or a special variety of soft-shelled crab, although they taste more like almonds than seafood. Farming cattle is very inefficient compared to raising tiny livestock like mealworms, grasshoppers and locusts. Insects require less space and less feed, and are high in protein and mineral content. Here’s what grasshopper nutrition looks like when compared to beef:
(Image source: http://www.dw.de/beef-vs-bugs/g-16941415)
- No, it’s not a joke. From the German news organization Deutsche Welle (DW): Beef vs. Bugs. “Grasshoppers, crickets and locusts are among the most popular edible insects.” I’m getting hungry just considering the prospect that I could get so much free food just walking around the walls of my house.
- Breeding insect food would be great fun if for no other reason than having the best ever answer to the question I so dislike: “So, what do you do for a living?” … I’m a locust rancher. Sing along: Roll ’em, roll ’em, roll ’em … Keep those locusts rollin’ … Rawhide! Recall that episode where Clint Eastwood said, “A locust man’s got to know his limitations.”
- Hey, I keep telling you … I blog for my entertainment.
- 17-Year Locusts Are Not Locusts. They are cicadas.
- Here’s a fun hobby for the kids: Collecting Locust Shells.
- Locust Plague Threatens to Trigger Severe Food Crisis in Madagascar. Put your Red Cross disaster relief dollars to work.
- Is it ok to watch people in class? From a Bikram yoga practitioner who says, “Afton in locust pose…. how can you not peek at this!?!?” in the caption of a picture of a woman in the locust pose, attired in things only young skinny girls wear. It hurts my eyes.
- What Locust Outbreak? … Oh, That One. A skeptic swarmed.
- Swarming Dynamics: Locust Marching Hopper Bands. The science, the math, the video. Get your egghead on. Good pic of Charlton Heston as Moses, too.
- And one from the Loose Nut Department: Video: Pastor Paul Begley – Locust Plague: Madagascar “Biblical Plague” Destruction! … He refers to the natural disaster in Madagascar as God’s doing because “we’re truly living in the last days.” One more reason I don’t hang with God any more. ALL TIMES are END TIMES, Pal. And all beginnings, too.