Thursday, September 25, 2008


Is there such a thing as foot-in-keyboard disease? 'Cause I think I've got it.

Yesterday I typed out a description of my new guests, the Western Conifer Seed Bugs, dutifully changing every "bug" for "beetle," assuming that "bug" in this case was a misnomer. I thought of double-checking with BugGuide, but, no, I was too tired for that, I decided.

So, this afternoon there is a comment from Christopher Taylor; "Ummm.... that's not a beetle." Oh. It's a bug. I looked it up; he's right. And I knew that; I'd studied the BugGuide page last year. Dumb!

(The blogosphere is a wonderful place; so many, many helpful people live in it!)

So I've gone back and made a few corrections. And I've done my homework, re-read the BugGuide page and Googled for more info.

Bug One and Bug Two are Leaffooted Bugs, Leptoglossus occidentalis. Which translates as "Western thin tongue", as far as I can make out. They're "leaffooted" because of the flattened section of the hind leg; it's like a narrow leaf, spine in the centre and all.

Here's the classification, from BugGuide:
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Family Coreidae (Leaffooted Bugs)
Genus Leptoglossus
Species occidentalis (Western Conifer Seed Bug)
They live on Douglas fir and pine trees, and "can be a pest". (U. of Guelph fact sheet) This is why I won't put them outside; the first ones we found, last year, were on Laurie's dying conifers. BugGuide says,
"Nymphs and adults use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on sap from green cones, twigs, seed pulp, and sometimes needles of several species of pine, plus hemlock, spruce, and Douglas-fir."
And that book, "Care and Feeding of Seed Bugs as Pets," that I was looking for? I don't think I need it, after all. When the weather turns cold (about now), they burrow down into leaf litter or move into human houses to spend the winter. They do not breed indoors; they're here to sleep. In the spring, they will look for fresh Douglas fir needles to lay eggs on. Maybe I'll be able to provide some. In captivity, of course. I don't want their babies eating our trees.

Meanwhile, Bugs One and Two are not sleeping; they're wandering around their container, mostly staying close together. They wave their antennae at me when I check on them.

Off-topic. My neighbour's garden, yesterday.

Another thing I had forgotten; in all the hustle and bustle of the last month or so, I wasn't checking on the dates for the Annual Bloggers' Bioblitz. I found out Sunday that it is this week, Sunday to Sunday. So I think I'll do a mini-bioblitz this weekend. I do hope it's not pouring rain.

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