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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 8:55 pm | Fair 50º


Captain’s Log: A Bug’s Life — It’s Not All Feasting and Fluttering

Springtime brings challenges for the critters because of strong winds and fast storms

It’s tough being a bug. They have a tough time finding enough food, they have a tough time keeping from becoming food, and they have a tough time finding a safe and comfortable home. Humans don’t give them much respect, and they don’t seem to think much of us either. Still, I worry about the little critters.

A big rain, after a prolonged dry spell, causes a drop in the local bug population because bugs — like the rest of us — become complacent when life allows it.

They begin hanging out and making homes in places that seem dry and safe at the time but fill up with water and therefore drown the bug when a big rain comes.

It is sad for the bugs, but then they wash into creeks and then to the sea to become fish food, or they become part of silt deposits which eventually grow healthy crops.

Bugs are generally slow. Crawling bugs can rarely out-crawl a hungry lizard, frog, toad, rodent or small mammal. A flying bug is usually much slower than birds and to evade aviary pursuit must dart into a spot so tight the bird can’t follow. Aerial escape is a wing and a prayer.

Like I said, it’s tough being a bug. The exception may be the house fly because the young ones are mighty fast.

Ones I have to admire are spiders, who build big webs in plain sight and then boldly lounge in the middle of it, soaking up sunshine and taunting every hungry bug-eater in sight. That web offers amazing protection. Spider webs are really something, and our greatest human engineers have not yet duplicated the bio-engineering of a spider. Few bug-eaters want to mess with a strong sticky web. Even midsize birds strong enough to break the web and get away with the meal are hesitant to get the sticky stuff all over them. Yup, spiders are gutsy and amazing.

This generally mild winter hasn’t been too hard on bugs, yet springtime brings challenges because of strong winds and fast storms. The rains we just had wiped out untold numbers of bugs. The gale-force winds after the storm did damage to the bug population as well. But soon the warmer part of spring will be here and bugs can do what they seem really good at — making baby bugs.

And so it begins all over again. That doesn’t bug me.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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