PA Cray: Mini-Rainforest of Nightmares!
I've only been living in Pennsylvania for a month, but already I've been subjected to some pretty gnarly bugs since I've been here. The picture above is from an actual rainforest, but honestly some of the bugs around here seem like a stepping stone to the real deal. It's pretty wild.
Spotted Lantern Fly
This is the first bug I was introduced to here. They are everywhere and there's even a quarantine to attempt to contain them. I'm not sure what quarantine means in this context but I read what I read.
Every once and a while you'll see people randomly stomping the ground because we've all been told to kill these things on site.
A large, colorful pest from Asia is costing the Pennsylvania economy about $50 million and eliminating nearly 500 jobs each year
If the insect were to expand statewide, it could cause $325 million in damage and wipe out 2,800 jobs, the researchers estimate. The state’s $19 billion forest products industry would be especially vulnerable. Pennsylvania, with its vast unbroken stretches of forest, is the nation’s No. 1 producer of hardwoods.
Spotted lanternfly is believed to weaken, though not necessarily kill, trees like maple, oak and black walnut. A greater economic threat than tree mortality is the prospect that states and nations could limit imports from Pennsylvania in an effort to prevent the bugs’ spread, according to Wayne Bender, who leads the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, part of the state agriculture department.
The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an insect in the family Pentatomidae, native to China, Japan, Korea and other Asian regions. In September 1998 it was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where it is believed to have been accidentally introduced. The nymphs and adults of the brown marmorated stink bug feed on over 100 species of plants, including many agricultural crops, and by 2010–11 had become a season-long pest in orchards in the Eastern United States. In 2010, in the Mid-Atlantic United States, $37 million in apple crops were lost, and some stone fruit growers lost more than 90% of their crops. It is now established in many parts of North America, and has recently become established in Europe and South America.
These things are everywhere. They are always on my window trying to get in, and I derive a little joy in flicking the window screen to send them catapulting away. Apparently because it was a warm summer their numbers are very overinflated. This winter should give us a nice reset.
The odor from the stink bug is due to trans-2-decenal and trans-2-octenal. The smell has been characterized as a "pungent odor that smells like coriander." The stink bug's ability to emit an odor through holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds and lizards. However, simply handling the bug, injuring it, or attempting to move it can trigger it to release the odor.
A few of these things have gotten inside the house and I just thought they were regular Beatles. I have never smelled their stink because I'm a nice guy and I gently have shepparded them outside without freaking them out or killing them. Sometimes it pays to be nice, apparently.
Still, another invasive foreign species that fucks with the economy here?
The Periodical Cicadas Brood X have begun to emerge across Pennsylvania. These insects, which have been underground for some 17 years, do not bite or carry diseases and will only be around for a few weeks. ... To avoid damage, it's recommended to postpone any new plantings until after adult cicadas have died
These things are native and apparently belong here. Every 17 years there's a plague of them that wreaks havoc on crops and whatnot in a biblical-style swarm (locusts anyone?) Guess when they were last here? Spring 2021, literally right before I moved here. Dodged a bullet on that shit for sure. Never seen one. Probably never will.
Taking a break from the rainforest hellscape of bugs, here's a picture of my cat losing her shit over a deer out front in the parking lot of this complex. It's weird seeing so many deer. They are everywhere. Apparently there are bears as well but I've yet to see one.
My cat is used to being outside most of the day (in Cali), and now is confined indoors. Perhaps it's for the best. Wouldn't want her to get picked up by a coyote or fox or another small predator.
AND NOW FOR THE GRAND FINALE!
NOT For the faint of heart: shield your eyes, because you will never be able to un-see what I'm about to show you today. In fact, this next picture I took is the ONLY REASON I created this entire post. Everything else was just fluff leading up to this spectacular moment.
Last night I decided to get out of bed for whatever reason to check out the Blood Moon. Because you know... Bitcoin commanded it or some shit; it was very bright outside my bedroom window. So I go outside and check it out... yep, there it is... a full moon. How anti-climatic. Then I look up... and I forgot that there are about 3 or 4 nocturnal spiders that emerge after the sun goes down. Two of them were about 7 feet directly above me, so I was grateful in that moment that they didn't, you know... land on my fucking face.
I've tried to take a picture of these things before, but they were too far away and the lighting sucked. However, this time around there was one much closer that I was able to nab a picture of. You ready? I wasn't ready. Just saying.
Seriously, what the fuck
What is this? A hermit crab masquerading as a spider?!?!? Hm, this picture is a little blurry, let me move closer and turn on the flash.
HOLY FUCKING GOD
What is this abomination?! Did it just wink at me? Jesus Christ!
This thing definitely looked at me when the camera flashed, which is crazy because in my experience the vast majority of spiders don't respond to changes in the light. (Like when I shine lasers on them and stuff). Pretty sure spiders can't see red light, like at all.
Meanwhile, this thing's eyes are glowing like it's a creepy picture of someone's pet. Legend. What the hell is this thing?
Upon further review...
It appears to be a Furrow "Orb Weaver" Spider.
Which are indeed strictly nocturnal and also not dangerous.
Still though look at this fucking thing.
I wouldn't mess with it.
Spiders are the enemy!
I'm not sure what happened back in the day, but clearly humans are programed, embedded into their genetic code, to distrust spiders. This is also true with cats and snakes, which is why you can throw a rubber snake next to a cat and they will lose their god damn minds.
Except these cats, these cats are idiots.
In any case, all spiders are the enemy, except Daddy Long Legs (Harvestmen) because they aren't actually spiders:
Although superficially similar to and often misidentified as spiders (order Araneae), the Opiliones are a distinct order that is not closely related to spiders. They can be easily distinguished from long-legged spiders by their fused body regions and single pair of eyes in the middle of the cephalothorax. Spiders have a distinct abdomen that is separated from the cephalothorax by a constriction, and they have three to four pairs of eyes, usually around the margins of the cephalothorax.
English speakers may colloquially refer to species of Opiliones as "daddy longlegs" or "granddaddy longlegs", but this name is also used for two other distantly related groups of arthropods, the crane flies of the family Tipulidae, and the cellar spiders of the family Pholcidae, most likely because of their similar appearance. Harvestmen are also referred to as "shepherd spiders" in reference to how their unusually long legs reminded observers of the ways that some European shepherds used stilts to better observe their wandering flocks from a distance.
All three people who live in my apartment don't like spiders, but we let the Long Legs hang out in the corners of the ceiling because they kill everything that goes into the web and never bother us. I was gonna say I haven't seen one in PA yet but there's one hanging out in the corner right now, now that I've actually checked. Keep up the good work, bud.
Also Mosquito Hawks (Mosquito Eaters) do not eat mosquitos. They are just big dumb bubbling flies that I personally find very annoying. Kill them all, Daddy. Show no mercy.
Thus concludes the limited knowledge I have of bugs.
Let's keep it that way.
Bugs are gross.
Except for one.
This is obviously the coolest bug there is by a wide margin. I don't get to see them often, but who knows now that I live here. I just call them Bruce Lee for obvious reasons. These things are straight ninjas. I watched a documentary on them once, pretty wild.
Okay never mind I guess they are gross.
Behold: The savage world from which we evolved.
No wonder why we apes are so ridiculous.
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