The Brown Bugs

Every year at this time, as the weather turns decidedly colder and the leaves begin to fall, we see the arrival of some kind of beetle, which my wife and I call “the brown bugs.” They seem to lead a brief life in the cold, and they appear outside on the balcony and inside in the adjoining master bath, where they slowly explore the immediate vicinity. The photo shows one that I found crawling by me in my den this morning.


The Great Dog Trotsky used to simply eat them. (He was very adept at eating bees, by the way, and would sit silently in the flower beds, stunning them with a quick nip, then bopping them with a huge paw, and devouring them. He taught our terrier to do that. “Protein,” said my wife.)


Buddy Beagle finds them too slow to try to play with, although they do fly like ungainly World War II B-24s, and Koufax would not deign to even touch a bug, much less devour one. Whatever their natural enemies are, they seem to have disappeared, since there are more than the usual number this year. We see about four a day, though it may well be the same bug four times, I admit.


My wife puts them gently outside (where I’m convinced they come right back in again) and I simply tolerate them, since they only last about two weeks. They are hardy critters, not minding freezing temperatures. I absently noted one in the dogs’ upstairs water bowl, floating, and forgot about it. A day later, when I emptied the bowl into the Jacuzzi, the floating bug seemed to shake itself, and then walk away, none the worse for a lengthy immersion!


These bugs move slowly and fly slowly, resembling a bad Japanese science fiction movie with lousy special effects. But in their fortnight or so, they emerge, eat, mate, and I assume lay eggs for the next generation. This group confines itself to a small corner of our home. I’ve come to admire them.


I know that some of you would consider calling in the insect police, or fumigating the place, but we live here on six acres and saw four deer the other day on the way to our morning workout. I can’t be selective in enjoying nature. Live and let live. Who am I to destroy life that really isn’t causing me any problem?


I’m going to have to call my wife to remove the one in my den and put him outside. I’m sure I’ll see him again before too long.


© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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