Monday, August 10, 2009

Bucking fugs!

Normally I wouldn't be very happy to find a large hole dug right next to the house when I hadn't planned to have one there. I would probably start by blaming the kids, but I couldn't this time because I know they haven't been out playing in this particular spot recently. This hole was clearly dug by a very persistent animal, possibly a large one. DH says it was probably a bear. How would having a bear digging next to the foundation of your house make you feel? A little nervous? Me too, except that this time I'm actually also feeling grateful to the bear, if that's what it was!

This animal (for the sake of argument let's assume it was a bear) knew what was down there and actually did us a favour with its digging. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the hole is about 9 or 10 inches wide and a foot deep. At first glance it's just a hole, and rather a tidy one at that. In another location it would look like a hole dug for a new plant. But look more closely and you can see what the bear was digging for.

This was a nest of yellowjacket wasps. (Did you know that bears do like to eat wasps? They are a good source of protein!) We regularly have to get rid of paper wasp nests, but at least those are easy to spot as they're usually hanging from the eaves of the house or the roof of the kids' climbing structure. This was hidden between the side of the house and the hatchway to the basement and could have been there for ages without us spotting it. Incubating large quantities of vicious stinging insects! I know they're supposed to be beneficial because they eat other insects, but they are also extremely annoying. Had the bear not started digging to get at the grubs, it would have taken us much longer to discover the nest and spray it. Here's hoping the bear had a feast, and also that it decides not to return. I'd hate for it to be poisoned by eating the grubs and wasps that have now been sprayed. If it comes back through the yard anytime soon, I hope it will decide the compost bin (which is much further away from the house!) is a more promising place to snack!

Of course, the hole could have been dug by a skunk as they also like a tasty wasp and grub meal, and I know we have skunks living close by.

Meanwhile, at the front of the house we have some of these "Great Black Wasps" or "Katydid Killers" (about an inch and a half to two inches long!) flying around. Supposedly fairly harmless, but they sure don't look it!

(This photo from Bev Wigney's wonderful collection of nature-related photos.)

Then there are all the biting things that make my son look like he has hives when he's simply covered in bug bites, and the fruit flies that have invaded the house, and I saw a couple of Indian meal moths today . . . I think I will be happy when it's winter again! At least then the only animals we have to deal with are the mice in the attic!

6 comments:

Limey said...

As much as having a bear knocking around my garden would make me anxious, I'd rather have a bear than lots of bugs! Hope he brings back his bear friends and they eat all the creepy crawlies!

rosiero said...

Those big black wasps looks scary. I hate the stag beetles we get here in May/June, because they are huge and fly around particularly at dusk. But at least they don't sting!

Karen @ If I Could Escape . . . said...

Yikes! Those photos have me a little freaked out. . . as beautiful as they may be!

Maddy said...

Good grief! Bears! About the biggest wild life we have around here are oposums [sp.] like huge rats but completely harmless. I'm certainly disappointed that the jolly expensive wasp catcher thing that I bought at the beginning of the summer is completely empty.

Little Britainer said...

Wow - N America really does a good line in terrifying insects. At least you have the (possible) bears around to take care of them - in the city, we still get the crazy insects but none of the large-sized predators around to eat them...

Anonymous said...

I swear these look just like what we have been having flying around our house, they are scary looking and seem like they are aggressive..

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