Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Beetles



All it took was one day, not even a full day, and we bonded -- me and Algernon, Billy, Cora, Deacon.

That first evening, when I took them home and showed them around, of course each reacted differently. Ephraim seemed curious, Fred, excited; Gilda, bold; and Herbert, well, Herbert struggles with some trust issues, and we'd have to work on that.

We were all of us getting sleepy, it had been a long and eventful day, so I tucked them snugly in their transitional house, a mid-century modern plastic cup situated on the porch. Tomorrow morning they'd be able to explore on their own. Good night, Iona, Jeffrey, KiKi, Lawrence, I whispered.

What happened next, I have only myself to blame. What I forgot was the automatic sprinklers, and where one sprinkler in particular points -- relentlessly -- every morning at 4 a.m.

I fished them out of the cup this morning -- Monique, Neville, Opie, Prudence -- dumped their lifeless bodies in a corner of the garden, and drew a shade cloth over the area, to cover my shame.

Six hours later I returned, and all the beetles were gone ... Quentin, Rusty, Stewart, even Ulysses. All except Trevor. Trevor is famous for his steady nerves, cocksure stride, and I-don't-give-a-damn attitude.



"What about the others," I asked. "Are they still alive?"

"Oh sure, they're alive. Most moved to the Blankenship's place on Elm Street, though I think Vera and Winston found a rental over on Santa Anita; Xochitl and Yannick might take the guest house. And Zelda likes the look of that loquat tree next door."

"Without them, my citrus might die. I need them, Trevor, desperately. What should I do?"

Trevor chewed on a bit of aphid butt contemplatively, and said, "After last night, not sure. Just one thing I can think of."

"And that would be..."

"They might listen to one of their own. A word from their higher power, if you know what I mean."

Yes, I think I do. Here's hoping.




41 comments:

  1. hey, i am still awaiting my preying mantis to show up this yr.. he normally shows up when its warm...i think your friends are watching u from a 'safe spot'...... :-)

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  2. I see you picked the cute beetle - the dead one. I would have picked the smart beetle - also dead.

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  3. Well, dang. Maybe they'll be back. This post inspires two stories. First, a rather hippie former colleague (she raised chickens in her yard in a very posh neighborhood, long before Brooklynites made it stylish) had a greenhouse that opened into her home. One day, she got a bag of ladybugs and ripped it open in her dining room, figuring they would find their way to the greenhouse. Second, George once referred to himself and Ringo as the econo-Beatles, chafing at Lennon and McCartney's leadership.

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  4. Forget the ladybugs. They will only break your heart. Here's what I've found to be the cheapest, most effective way to control aphids. Get a spray bottle, put a little dish washing soap in it and fill with water. Then spray the little bastards. The soapy water kills them, they don't come back, and it doesn't harm the plants/flowers. And, once you've amortized the cost of the spray bottle, it's about 2 cents worth of soap per use. Avoid all the toxic bug killers. This works better, smells better, and is cheap.

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  5. Karin: dbdubya is right... it works! or Bayers' 2 in 1 systemic for Roses..my landscaper swears by it.. I've used it too. Don't let the word 'roses' sway you... its potent and kills aphids and other stuff.

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  6. You guys are the best. Wanna move in? I've got a mid-century modern with your names on it.

    K will bring her preying mantis, Terry cook, DB suds the bugs, and PA and I, we'll just argue.

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  7. I am so pleased you picked this plaintive ditty, it may be my favorite Beatle tune of all. I hope the kids come home soon.

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  8. Here's hoping the ode worked--
    on the other hand, my grandmother always used the dish soap method.

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  9. From Beaverton, ORApril 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Portlandelicious

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  10. I see you care for your lady bugs & are well fed.

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  11. I'm not sure that's true, Cafe Pasadena. Sounds like she drowned several of them.

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  12. What is they have against mid-century modern? Maybe if it was a Victorian . . .

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  13. I was so worried that you had killed them. But now thy will all have trust issues.

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  14. Trevor chewed on a bit of aphid butt contemplatively...

    Classic story, classic!

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  15. Great post!

    Maybe some of them will come back, at least for a visit.

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  16. Ohhhh those fickle, fickle lady bugs!!!

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  17. Pat picked out the same line that popped out at me:

    Trevor chewed on a bit of aphid butt contemplatively...

    Yep, classic!

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  18. You had me at mid century plastic cup

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  19. I just heard this morning about the thousands of ladybugs released at the Mall of America in Minnesota, used to fight aphids on all the indoor plants. Maybe your ladybugs got wind of that gig. And Trevor hates Orange Julius and Cinnabon.

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  20. They got soaked and some drowned? No wonder they left you. Trevor's probably brain-damaged, that's why he stayed.

    Their larvae are the main aphid eaters, and they don't look at all like the parents. I had one in my house the other day, and it took me a while to realize what that fierce-looking wingless creature with big front teeth was. Be careful not to kill them by mistake.

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  21. I love this from Wikipedia: in Christian areas, Coccinellids are often associated with the Virgin Mary and the name that the insect bears in the various languages of Europe corresponds to this. Though historically many European languages referenced Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology, in the names, the Virgin Mary has now largely supplanted her, so that, for example, freyjuhœna (Old Norse) and Frouehenge have been changed into marihøne (Norwegian) and Marienkäfer (German), which corresponds with Our Lady's Bird. Sometimes, the insect is referred to as belonging directly to God ("God's [little] cow"). In Dutch it is called lieveheersbeestje, meaning "little animal of our Good Lord".

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  22. If I intended to actually eat the apricots, I sure wouldn't use Bayers' 2 in 1 systemic for Roses to kill the aphids. Systemic means that the toxic material is taken into the plant tissues, thereby poisoning creatures when they suck or eat the plant.

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  23. Patty was a bad choice for George. He was a lot better off with Olivia. Seriously... a lot better off.

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  24. Didn't this post w/comments just have something for everyone? Music, George, Patty, life, death, architecture, mythology, pesticides

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  25. Dish soap works, along with used coffee grounds around the plants for the creepy crawlies, like slugs. I hope Trevor invites friends to move in, because they're cute.

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  26. My goodness, that's a fun post with a my goodness corny ending. Your facility with naming characters is really annoying, ma'am. Actually, it's hysterical, but naming characters is one of the things that keeps me from writing fiction. I spend so long trying to name people--before they have any physical or psychological reality . . . you see the problem.

    Bellis is a riot on Trevor. Poor guy. Wracked with survivor's guilt.

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  27. Banjo, let's collaborate. I'll name all the characters, pets, cities, and properties, and you can figure out how they all go about doing this and that for 300 pages. I also have dibs on the sex scenes and half the dark nights of the soul.

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  28. It did have something for everyone. I'm going to read it again.

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  29. I guess they all left to find work with Double A in Jobs. Case closed.

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  30. Nice Rilke comment at Banjo's. Man that dude kills me. Rilke, not Banjo, though he's quite the thinker!

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. DB, sorry I deleted the spam. My itchy trigger finger.

    Kenny, my jejeunist in crime? "Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

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  33. Thanks, Ken.
    AH, nice quote. Rilke?
    AH, you get sex AND darkness while I have to make sense of everything. Hmmm. Nope, no deal.

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  34. It's too late for me to add much, but I enjoyed this a lot. Banjo, for naming characters in fiction, do what I do: write a new take on a traditional story with the characters already named. Then you're stuck with those names whether they fit or not.

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  35. That was great. Aphid butt. haaaaaaaaa

    V

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  36. I laughed and laughed. But seriously, are you sure that is why they are gone? Maybe it was just that their houses were on fire and their children were alone...

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  37. Oh, I do hope there's a happy ending to this story!

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