by Carol Dunn
There’s something magical about this time of year. We’ve had the cold snap in September, and it’s getting colder at night, but it can still get kind of hot during the day. Gardens have taken a frost or two; leaves are turning colors. We humans know what’s coming. But this really messes with bugs.
Imagine for a moment that you are a bug. I know, that’s harder for some than for others. Anyway, you’re a bug. September rolls around, it gets cold, and some inside itch tells you to hibernate or migrate or whatever the heck you do in the fall. So you pack up the family and you get ready to fly, crawl or timetravel to Texas, or maybe Phoenix – where ever your kin folks came from. You’re just about to winterize your nest when *BAM*, here’s Indian Summer.
Your bug-spouse gives you that look like you’re a total idiot and insinuates that maybe you don’t know how to tell when summer’s over. After all, bugs don’t have calendars. So, it still feels like summer to them. And if they don’t have the date and time feature on their cell phones, unsuspecting flies and gnats and wasps and stink bugs might decide to unpack and stay for another month.
You might think I’m pulling your leg, but have you noticed how many flies there are buzzing around right now? Like, around your head, and you swat at them and they are totally clueless? I mean, come on, June is fly season. And how about gnats? Just wear a yellow shirt outside, and you’ll see how many gnats think it’s still gnat season. And yes, the grasshoppers have come back – I thought they were on their way to Grasshopper Junction in Arizona, but NO! Wasps are flying around and they don’t even know why. Some of them are so chilly that they don’t even fly. They just limp around like they have rheumatism, not really sure of what to do. Should they visit their Uncle in Walsenburg or make popcorn and watch a movie with the larvae? Those creepy conifer seed bugs don’t travel far for the winter – they just move into the nearest house. If that happens to be YOUR house, don’t panic. Their bite isn’t very painful unless they get trapped under your bed covers. Just kidding. They LOVE to be under your bed covers – or on your ceiling, from whence they can conveniently leap into your hair.
To me, there’s only one bug that is creepier than a conifer seed bug, and that is an earwig. Any bug with pinchers on its butt is a bug to be feared, not to mention the “ear” part of their name. Earwigs are evil. Just ask any little kid who has come running into the kitchen screaming bloody murder with an earwig attached to his finger. And earwigs are particularly active during Indian Summer. They, too, are looking for a way to move into your house for the winter. It’s either that or freeze their pinchers off. Because even a bug knows that sooner or later it’s gonna snow. And then, imagining again that you’re a bug, the bug-spouse gives you another look which insinuates that maybe you don’t know how to tell when winter is here.
So you see, Indian Summer SEEMS nice, but it simply reeks havoc on the insect kingdom. And we all know, insects have feelings too.