Flight of the Junebugs

Every spring there comes a time when the june bugs wake up from their winter hibernation and arise by the thousands from a single patch of brush behind the house right at dusk. They do this nightly until they mate, die off, and make way for the next generation which emerge in the form of tiny june bugs. I havent figured out where in the life cycle are these big slender red things with wings that resemble wasps, but those, ive been told, are also some form of early june bug. I find them flying around the porch light at the same time as all three stages of june bug. Anyways, these big adult june bugs emerge from the ground behind the house in massive numbers and they fly exactly like a drunk teenager on a suspended license. They go up, down, sideways, backwards, and sometimes around in a circle. They bump into each other and change each others’ trajectories and bounce off one another. They go every which way. Its quite entertaining to watch. But the real thing to notice is the sound. When the sun sets in the spring it sounds as if a million bumble bees have taken flight behind the house. Its a real massive hum. If you dont know they nest there you might run for your life thinking you’re fixing to be a pin cushion for a bunch of angry bees. I collect as many as i can for the chickens. June bugs are their absolute favorite food above all else.

Well, ever since the fires shifted some prey animals from their regular habitats to the places still equipped with grass people have been reporting sightings of coyotes and armadillos in the nearest city, i had a number of animals hanging out on my property, including a couple barn cats that aren’t mine and some new armadillos in addition to the little one and the one with the long healed puncture wound to its shell, and we heard the big cat noise on the other side of the bathroom wall, i don’t go out to collect bugs at night anymore. Once the sun is down, i leave the yard to the wildlife and go in. So when i had to make a trip to the big city for dental work and noticed the fluorescent lights attracting a whole porch full of adult june bugs, i saw an opportunity. Imagine my family member’s enthusiasm when i showed up following my dental surgery with a container of insects asking if i could store them in her refrigerator until it was time to go…the answer was a hard no.

It was a much needed source of protein for the chickens and a lucky opportunity for free food. The chickens had no complaint about the cargo when i returned.

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