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When it rains in California, weird bugs start swarming out of the ground. Usually it's just ants, but this storm has brought out some kind of gray swarming thing onto the patio:






Here's what one looks like at 10x magnification:


After getting over the initial revulsion of swarming things, I googled the heck out of it to try to figure out what they were. It turns out they're springtails, a sort of exceedingly common soil-dwelling thing that seems to like rich organic material and moisture. They are called "springtail" because they have some sort of organ under their abdomens that cause them to hop when threatened. Apparently, they're some of the most common macroscopic organisms, exceeding 100,000 individuals per cubic meter of soil. Ew. According to one web site, they "... come in a wide variety of decorator colors, including white, pink, yellow, green, orange, red, blue, and indigo." I'm not sure it makes me feel better to know that my swarms are tastefully colored.



I wish things that belong in the ground would stay there and let me live on in ignorance.

Date: 2009-01-24 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyopsqueene.livejournal.com
Now we know what's in your room of 50,000 million insects. I love the idea of arranging them artistically in glass aquariums or something.

Date: 2009-01-24 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyopsqueene.livejournal.com
I'm sure it was you who had some fun fact about there being 50,000 millions insects for every person.
Although now I think about it it might have been my sister.

Anyway, I already know that in my hell 'my' insects are all centipedes (possible alternative: earwigs). Yours seem much more aesthetically pleasing. They're actually quite cute close up.

Date: 2009-01-24 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyopsqueene.livejournal.com
I had an unfortunate encounter with a door jam full of overwintering earwigs in my Wendy house when I was about 8 or 9. Forcing the door open in the spring caused a lovely shower of earwigs onto my head, and abotu four hours of screaming.

rich organic material, you say?

Date: 2009-01-29 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] booxntea.livejournal.com
Sweep them up if you can and release them into your compost. They will love it and probably help. At least they'll do more good there than on your stonescape.

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