Harold Ramis’ Ghostbuster character would have loved Florida. Not only are we home to every spore, mold, and fungus, we also have any number of insects. Since moving to Florida, I’ve developed an intimate acquaintance with many.
First, there were the ghost ants that invaded the kitchen and bath. One ghost ant is so tiny and grey, it’s barely noticeable. Several hundred tromping through your kitchen in the dry months are a bigger concern. They don’t respond to Terro Ant Killer, but fixing some leaking pipes seems to have discouraged them.
Then, there were the paper wasps. Hundreds of them camped out in the bushes, swarming whenever I trimmed. They’re mostly harmless but scary in those numbers, so the neighbor and I pulled out the bushes and knocked down nests for a year or more. The wasps moved to the abandoned house where I’m guessing they made life interesting for wildlife until Tina bought and gutted the place this year.
The particularly wet winter has also brought out both little black beetles on my tea roses and Eastern Lubbber grasshoppers in droves. I’ve yet to identify the beetle, but both are particularly aggressive towards vegetation. I ended up dead-heading flowers to get rid of them.
The ones that make me laugh though are plaster bag worms. They look like little grey leaves stuck in odd corners and occasionally climbing up the walls. The leaf is the housing for a little worm that carries it around while looking for spiderwebs to eat. Again, mostly harmless and a sign that I should probably sweep out my garage.
You’d think carrying your housing around with you would be a bad thing, but it actually protects the worm. Most of us carry around a fair amount of baggage whether we want to or not – worry about jobs and bills or lists of things we need to get done. It’s pretty much inevitable, but writing around all that can be an enormous challenge! You have to channel your inner bag worm – stir around in the spring, get swept into a heap of rubbish, and crawl on out of it anyway!