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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Bugs provided
hours of entertainment

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that bugs were worse in the old days. Every one remembers the mosquitoes, flies, wasps, ants, bees and chiggers of old. Maybe it's because we have repellents and bite remedies always at hand today.

My grandson's eclectic collection of mounted crawlers, rodent skulls, antlers, turtle shells and other oddities prompted me to recall other friendly bugs or crawlers that provided many hours of entertainment when I was a child.



The favorite bug has to be the lightning bug. This little flying lantern didn't bite, kept blinking on and off no matter if free or captured in a Mason jar. During spring and summer months, just after sundown, down in the low places, we spent hours chasing these blinking beacons.

Once captured, you could observe nature's best from only an inch away. Some of the most serene moments of my life have been spent watching the lightning bugs play along a creek bottom.



How about what we call "sand fleas?" They loved the dry dust under sheds where they created their little funnel traps to catch flies and other crawly critters. I spent many an hour on my knees with a straw of grass in hand pushing particles of dirt down into the traps.

When they sensed prey had fallen into the funnel, the little bugs exploded upward to attack for another meal.



Remember tumble bugs? These most industrious little bugs were always in a hurry and relentless in rolling up marble size balls of fresh manure. They spent hours struggling to roll these balls somewhere. Many times I followed closely trying to find their destination, but it was all in vain.



A science class at Perryton schools studied red ants with the den held between two panes of glass. This was not my cup of tea as I had experienced "ants in my pants" too many times.



As a young child, I experienced my first wasp sting while accompanying Grandma and Grandpa Trew during milking time. Boy howdy, did it hurt until Grandpa held a cud of chewing tobacco on the bite. Almost immediately the sting went away. How about that for an old-time remedy?



I usually had a tarantula in a jar where I fed him grasshoppers, tadpoles, a horned toad or a lizard, a terrapin or maybe a big black centipede with orange legs. Mother always made me turn them loose after a day or so. The insect I hated most were blister bugs that created a line of white blisters everywhere they crawled.

Look out for the pinchers on a pinch bug and hold your nose if you squashed a stink bug.

I remember one year when I helped Dad mix grasshopper bait and spread it around the gardens, yards and along the fence rows around the fields

Another time we were invaded by June bugs. They literally covered the ground every night.

Of all the night creatures remembered, I fell asleep many a night listening to the chirp of a cricket hidden in some dark recess of the house.

Somehow you just knew everything was going to be all right if his serenade was not interrupted.
Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
March 14 , 2004 column
 
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