Sunday, June 4, 2017

Boxelder Conundrum Part III

Most articles speak of how to get rid of Boxelders - there are some people who want to get to know Boxelders better. 

Boxelder Boosters - Do Such People Really Exist?

Before going further, here’s a question: Is there anything you can think of that attracts universal acclaim? Before answering, consider the question carefully. 
I thought everyone must enjoy chocolate, however,  a search of the Oracle of Googli quickly proved there are individuals who do not like chocolate at all. Consider the following  entry from the oracle's forum on chocolate. 
“My name is Diana, and I don’t like chocolate.
“No, I’m not allergic. Yes, I’ve always disliked it. No, I don’t like Nutella. Or chocolate cake. Or candy bars. Not hot chocolate, either. White chocolate is fine, but it’s not my preferred dessert and I think we can all agree that it’s not real chocolate, either.
“When I tell people about my hatred (yes, that’s a strong word, but it’s how I feel!) they’re understandably shocked. I get it — it is weird, although my dream is for someone to hear that I don’t like chocolate, and simply say, “okay.” This has yet to happen.”
A chocolate devotee will read Diana’s proclamation as something akin to blasphemy, however, her letter provides proof - not all people enjoy chocolate.
Try to think of anything you enjoy, admire, participate in, or have an attraction towards; it’s highly probable there’s someone out there ready to profane your preferences. 
Take broccoli for example. The gentlemen above expresses my feelings concerning broccoli to a "T", yet I know people who consider broccoli a nectar of the gods. 
What's the point of this lead to a Boxelder bug essay. The point is, contrary to what you might think, not everyone despises Boxelder bugs.
Boxelder Conundrum parts I and II talked of little else than Elderbugs as unwelcome nuisances that invade the valley in mid-April.  As the weather gets warmer, everyone seems ready to jump on the "Eliminate Elderbugs Wagon" (EEW). 
Residents share disparaging  Elderbug stories and theories as to how to eliminate Elderbugs from the home. To say Elderbugs are universally despised in this place is simply confirming the obvious, however, just as with chocolate, there are some who do not see Boxelders as pests. These people are  Boxelder Boosters
The following article is written by a Nebraska photographer who purchased new camera equipment to take detailed pictures of insects. His new equipment arrived in the winter, a season when few insect models are available.  

Thank Goodness For Box elder Bugs

...“Here’s my next problem:  Now that I’ve got a flash system to help me get better close-up insect photos, where am I supposed to find an insect to photograph during the middle of February in Nebraska??
"Enter the friendly neighborhood box elder bug…
"Boxelder bugs are considered by many people to be pests, but that’s not a completely fair characterization. Sure, they suck the juices out of leaves and the developing seeds of boxelder and maple trees, but they don’t siphon enough out to actually hurt the trees. 

"Yes, they can congregate in large numbers on the sunny sides of houses, but they’re not doing any actual damage. 

 "Also, while they are happy to spend the winter in cozy crevices around your house, they don’t eat anything during that time, and can make themselves available on short notice should you have the urge to try some wintertime insect photography in your kitchen." ...

There you go; while Stehekin residents revile the seeming plague of boxelder bugs each spring, others see a silver lining in the cloud of  black and orange, winged annoyances.
Believe it or not, the article above encouraged Boxelder Boosters to express themselves. 

 Readers responses to the, Thank Goodness for Boxelder bugs:

"Love this article – my son is doing a report on insects. Your article and pics are the best we found about this bug. Every other one is so negative and not so informative (other than to tell us how to get rid of them). My son and I agree that the boxelder is quite cute from the front. You’ve just gained yourself some new fans!! Thanks!!"    

Sorry, maybe I was too negative earlier.

And another response: "One of the endearing qualities of boxelder bugs is that they can release bad-smelling/tasting chemicals to discourage predators.  Like many other insects with similar capabilities (monarch butterflies and long-horned milkweed beetles, for example), they have bright orange or red markings to warn predators off.  That defense mechanism may be why boxelder bugs feel comfortable hanging around – often in large crowds – in plain sight, while most other insects work hard to stay hidden."  

All we can tell from this is that Boxelder bugs operate in throngs so vast and acridly aromatic as to intimidate birds and other would be predators. Not sure this is actually an "endearing" quality. 

And yet another response to the article: “I understand that many of you won’t ever become fans of boxelder bugs.  I guess I can live with that, and – with the exception of those you squish – so can the boxelder bugs.  Personally, I like them.  As with every other insect species I know of, they have a fascinating life story, and they’re just trying to make their way through life like the rest of us."
No doubt about the fascinating life stories, I mean just watch them. Nuff said.
And from the more individualistic regions of the human spectrum, there are some who perceive Boxelder bugs as pets. Emily chimes in with her story.

Emily says:
"I have had one living in my room since August, I named him Larry. Do you know what I could feed him? 
Since this posting was made in November, that little Elderbug must have been pretty lean and mean after three months without food.

Anne and Ian offer a response to Emily’s question.

"Emily, we always have a couple of hundred hanging out in our south-facing windows during the winter. We feed them on tea with sugar and milk, the same as we like it. The tea has proved very popular and they come running when they see the spoon. The ladybird beetles (lady bugs) also join the party regularly."

So British to serve tea.

And finally: "Loved reading this blog and am thrilled to know there are like-minded people out there! We have box elder bugs all over the room in which I work, I find them fascinating and amusing and, if I do say so myself, quite a handsome insect. I observed one today sucking up some dried milk & honey I guess I dripped out of my tea. I guess if they’re eating it’s a good sign that spring is soon to come! Unfortunately my admiration for insects is not shared here in the work place. I’ve cringed on numerous occasions when someone just outright smashes them or flicks them across the room, it always seems so unwarranted!”

Smashing….Ooo, Oooo, unwarranted for sure. Cringe away. This would certainly constitute workplace violence. But a flick? A little flick? One might look at this as helping the Elderbug on its journey through life. 

Even though a nuisance to most, the Boxelder bug has its fans. 

Like chocolate, Elderbugs are both praised and reviled. As mentioned earlier, consider anything you enjoy, admire, participate in, or have an attraction towards; it’s highly probable someone will consider your sense of affinity towards that object or idea with a sense of antipathy for the same object or idea.

The Boxelder might say, "You might as well get used to it."