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Critters and Bugs, Oh My!

The Dreaded Black Widow

It has been an enlightening year on the farm. I am not sure if we simply had more bugs than ever or if I’m just noticing them for the first time.

We have always had a plethora of spiders hanging around the house. We don’t disturb them and they don’t disturb us. We get some massive Cat eye spiders on our front porch. The kids love to look at them and feed them the occasional pest. One spider that I was aware we had around, but had never seen so many of, is the black widow. I have had to give the kids a few lectures on not picking up bugs, don’t stick your hands in dark places, come get us if you see a black spider, etc. They freak me out honestly. I don’t relish getting bit but I can’t imagine what I would do if one of the kids got bit. Lose my mind I imagine. So, while we tend to have a lassez faire attitude with most bugs, but particularly spiders, I’ve been killing these.

female black widow widowsThese spiders were all found in and around the kids outdoor play equipment. Really upsetting for me!

Now this next bug is a complete mystery. I found a few of them around last year and have no idea what they are. They look like massive ants to me. This one was easily an inch long. If you have any ideas please leave me a comment.

weird bug

We tend to have waves of grasshoppers around the property. One year it felt like a plague had descended upon us. You couldn’t take a single step without the things hopping about. Not so terrible if they didn’t hop into your shoe. Oh so disgusting! We have chickens now though. I think it has helped with our grasshopper population. Now we have enough to amuse us but not so much that going outside is a nightmare. Our son really enjoys the grasshoppers.

20140804_181614 20140804_181917

Now some bugs make perfect poultry food. Whenever we see “puddles” we make sure to grab them to take the the birds. Slimy little slugs. I might need more ducks if we keep getting so many. The birds really love them though! Another thing they love are grubs. I dug quite a few out of the garden last year. The birds love to see us coming.

Now our bids are free range. They just don’t tend to range all that far. They get a bit farther out every year. Maybe someday I won’t have to get rid of insect pests myself.

puddles“puddles”

20140801_184641grubs

We had a very special visitor this fall. He was found on our sons bulldozer. I think he had an injured leg. I took a few pictures and then removed him from the kid danger zone. I hope to see many more praying mantis in the future.

praying mantis

One bug that I detest are the red biting ants we have EVERYWHERE. They are terrible things and they kill so much land with their mounts.

Ant Hill

Not all bugs that we have are unwanted. In fact, I raise meal worms for the birds.

mealworms

Now we also have some interesting critters about. I found a salamander in the chicken run once. Unfortunately it was quite dead. We found a small little lizard in the berms. It is the first time any of us had seen this particular type of lizard. Since our son was not with us at the time I made sure to hold it just until he could see it. He loved it! We also save frogs every year. As the puddles dry up we go around fishing the tadpoles out and bringing them home to grow out. Then we release them back to the wild. Everyone enjoys the frogs!

lizard leo and lizard SAVING TADPOLES frogs

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