- ABOUT US
Megan Rossman, Associate Editor
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
By Megan Rossman
June 21, 2012
Oklahoma is a land of bugs aplenty. This time of year, when the heat and humidity step it up, Oklahoma’s bug community comes calling in hordes. A few of them I welcome, most of them I don’t. Unfortunately, bugs, like most of God’s creatures, don’t answer to me or hold my feelings in high regard, so I just have to live by my wits and hope I can avoid or outsmart most of them.
I feel especially threatened by wasps. For whatever reason, they in particular are drawn to my porch where they helicopter around eerily, making occasional bum rushes at my face. Clearly not realizing it means certain death, they sometimes come inside to terrify me until I decide which one of my old college textbooks to smash them with. America at Odds, second edition, has never served me so well. While I fear mass retaliation from the wasp brethren for killing a comrade, one of us has got to go, so it’s a risk I take.
One wasp I fear in particular, but have thankfully only seen in my parents’ backyard in Edmond, is what I have termed the Sausage Bee. Measuring roughly the size of a Lil’ Smokie, these giant kamikazes travel rapidly with complete disregard for everything in their midst. They buzz loudly and are striped like yellow jackets. When I tell people about Sausage Bees, they look at me blankly. I have run from them many times, and I refuse to believe they are a figment of my imagination. If you see one, let me know.
Not all bugs make me run for cover. I’m a big fan of fireflies, found across Oklahoma typically through July. Dan Aykroyd best summed up their appeal in The Great Outdoors: “Their butts light up.” Who knew a bioluminescent butt could be so beguiling? If you want to get technical, it’s actually their lower abdomens that light up. But, body parts aside, why do fireflies emit those flashes? Scientists say it’s to attract mates, and sometimes to trick would-be rivals into being eaten. That is the kind of efficiency you find only outside the human realm.
I fear and scorn many bugs, but I can’t deny they’re important members of our great animal kingdom. As hard as it is to believe sometimes, they all serve a purpose. Some of the creepiest things crawling and buzzing around this state also happen to be pretty interesting. On that note, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Recent Invertebrates blog is worth checking out. On this site, visitors find entries about everything from flesh-eating beetles and jumping spiders to information about how collections are catalogued at the museum.
If you can’t beat them, you might as well be informed.