“Say! Haven't we met somewhere?”

7 comments so far...

helen birch October 26, 2009, 11:23 AM
what's happening....is this phenomena a gathering for winter?
Creeksong October 26, 2009, 04:22 PM
The ladies are here pretty much all year nowadays. They used to follow the sun to up higher in the canyon in about September. Then we vista pruned some of the Redwoods to make more sun here and they now stay here pretty much all year. What I have shown, here, is known as clumping. Not only are they staying warm in the clumps, they also are partying down and they must be laying some eggs somewhere, because a lot of them die in the winter both from freezing and just because their life cycle is over. I guess there are about 200,000 of them here and although there are a few other places were they can be found, the Electric company meter reader says this is the only place he has ever seen them. One year they settled on an abandoned VW Bettle and completely covered it! When it gets really hot they swarm and fill the air. This is the only time they bite! And the air is so full of them that it's hard to move through them without getting bit. When the rains start, soon, they will find something to get under and kind of hibernate and either die or wake up in the spring HUNGRY. They eat aphids and other little insets which inhabit the garden. Although they are wonderfully photogenic, because they like to get to the top of stuff in the sunshine, I do spend a lot of time tiptoeing gingerly through them so as not to step on them: I am their friend and servant. We have been here for 22 years, now and they were here before we arrived.
ranke October 26, 2009, 04:23 PM
wonderful picture and thanks for explaining!
janress October 26, 2009, 05:32 PM
interesting picture and description .
helen birch October 26, 2009, 06:23 PM
fascinating stuff - in the UK I think the most I've seen at once is 3 or 4...and they never bite
Em Sanity October 26, 2009, 06:57 PM
Creeksong October 26, 2009, 07:14 PM
I've never seen the "ladies" do this anywhere else, but there are places where the Monarch Butterflies do the same thing. 20 miles north of here and 20 miles south of here.
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