I love the autumn. The temperatures start to cool off, the leaves are thinking about changing, the smell of wet grass and leaves is like an aphrodisiac. This is also the time of year you start seeing a lot more insects and spiders. They have had the whole summer to grow, make friends, and pass on some genetic material. So now a lot of those populations are peaking. I have seen a bunch of posts about the “biblical” “plague” of “apocalyptic” bug infestation that organizers say they may have to “nuke the city” to get rid of them. Ugh. What a total overreaction. (I will save my commentary on the horrible oversimplification and outrageous fear-mongering of our mainstream media for another day.) Thankfully, a few entomologist (namely Alex Wild and Jeff Knight) have tried to inform, calm, and instill some small semblance of common sense and let people know that this is 1. normal, and 2. not as catastrophic as headlines may imply. You go guys!
Another “outbreak” we are likely to see soon is the overwintering aggregations. Those insects that sense that… well… winter is coming. Lady beetles, boxelder bugs, and the now infamous brown marmorated stink bugs all congregate in the fall, looking for that nice sheltered spot to spend a quiet leisurely winter, whiling away the hours until spring. This spot can often be a house or any other type of building. This ensures that I will get at least a few panicked calls about “all these bugs in my” house/restaurant/office/warehouse/whatever.
And finally, there is my favorite of the fall, spiders. Haldane may have said there was an “inordinate fondness for beetles“, but I have an exorbitant excitement for spiders. This time of year, most have reached adulthood, males are looking for a little love, and females can often be seen with egg sacs. I got my first close look at a spined micrathena (Micrathena gracilis) when someone brought me in one to identify. I am always enamored by the diversity that can be seen of spiders and insects this time of year.
Best of all, my favorite holiday of the year is right around the corner! Countdown
to Halloween – 68 days!