Does Size Matter?

My intelligence officer frantically bursts through my plastic door, salutes with the wrong hand and reports to me in broken sentences and insufficient oxygen-intake THE terrible crisis which has befallen us:

Highly General! We’ve been hit by a surprise attack that is of the scale and deadly precision of… yes… Dec. 7th, 1941… “A date which will live in INFAMY!

Stunned and not sure whether I left the refrigerator door open this morning or not, and whether I remembered to apply my under-arm deodorant, I asked my IO Alright, so how bad is it? What’s the damage report?

Sir of Highlyness, the reports are still preliminary, but all sectors are fighting gallantly in all directions! But there is just TOO MANY of them. We are being overrun!

I scramble to find somewhere on my big desk in front of my BIG chair underneath all my “kinky surveillance photos” and questionable magazines, Where is that file? I know it’s here somewhere! Shuffle, shuffle, push, push… HAH! There it is! My IO with the utmost attentiveness of a feline inside a pet-bird store snaps WHAT!? What is it your Highlyness!?

I open up the top-secret file labelled “Top Secret” to read valuable national security data for kitchens:

If you have been seeing small flies or gnats in your kitchen, they’re probably fruit flies. Fruit flies can be a problem year round, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables.

There it is. The Coup d’état of preemptive covert preparations in early to mid-April. Yes, APRIL! What good does that do us in June under piles of kinky photos and unconventional magazine… research!? The extensive report continues:

Adults are about 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The front portion of the body is tan and the rear portion is black. Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. This surface-feeding characteristic of the larvae is significant in that damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire life-cycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week. 

Obviously I cannot confirm the red eyes because the little f*ckers never stay still, especially when I try to look up close directly at their eyes! Tan bodies? What!? Are they migrating here from Caribbean beaches of UV-coconut lotion? Wow, what a life!

Eggs on fermenting foods or organic materials? That is unequivocally wrong! I have nothing fermenting within my zone-of-defense and most grocers don’t sell anything organic, at least not at reasonable prices! Damn, these little pecker-pests have figured out another method of infiltration and penetration! And I am NOT talking about Karen McDougal or Stormy Daniels. HOLY SHIT! 500 eggs!? The entire life-cycle from egg to adult can be completed in about [30-seconds]. Well, at least that’s much much longer than Donnie T’s endurance.

As I am reading this Top Secret file I have three enemy flies/gnats buzz me. One tries entry into my nostril the other tries my ear like my skull is the Death Star and they have delusions of Luke Skywalker grandeur! OH HELL NO! I’m swatting my hands everywhere like M.C. Hammer on steroids firing laser-maching-guns! BAAM! BOOM! gnatty-ness carnage everywhere!

But within minutes there’s another wave of horny-for-500-more fruity flies flying to my kitchen and to every orifice on my body… I presume because I do not have enough organic produce! Hence, I am the fruiter’s target. I must read the rest of the Top Secret fruit-fly files FAST… EEER!

ERADICATION – or Counter-attacks:
Once a structure is infested with fruit flies, all potential breeding areas must be located and eliminated. Unless the breeding sites are removed or cleaned, the problem will continue no matter how often insecticides are applied to control the adults. Finding the source(s) of attraction and breeding can be very challenging and often will require much thought and persistence. Potential breeding sites which are inaccessible (e.g., garbage disposals and drains) can be inspected by taping a clear plastic food storage bag over the opening overnight. If flies are breeding in these areas, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.

Are you fuckin’ kidding me? I have to find areas with 500 eggs? And we thought Easter was fun!?

I scream at my IO, Corporal Klinger! It is time to call-in SEAL Team D-O. We have no choice, no hope of clean orifices if we do not call-in the Specialized DO-ers.

Cpl. Klinger stares forward and stares forward… KLINGER! He jumps to attention, SIR!? I give him the piercing reprimand-stare, This is no time for daydream believers and homecoming Queens! Make the call! He salutes proudly, Yes sir. Right away sir! I’m sure the Black-Ops of Drain-O squad will see to it that Operation orifice is a resounding success!

Well, it better be or we will become the 30-second breeding ground of eggs-galore! Can you imagine being violated like that in 30-seconds? Both of us pause a few seconds and remember the long, long history of patriarchal plunder. Cpl. Klinger begins to open his mouth to respond. STOP! Do not answer that.

Right now we have a formidable fruit-fly foray requiring our finest feats of ferocity! Are you fit for this forthcoming fatal function of fracas fruit-fly… I must pause to wipe my lip and chin… FARNAGE! the Cpl. blurts out! You are indeed my Intelligence Officer. Go call SEAL team DO-ers!

The Battle-Smoke Slowly Clears, the Smell of Apple Vinegar Lingers with Fly-Bodies Floating Lifeless Everywhere

💀  💀  💀  💀  💀

It was near disaster. There were so many. They just kept coming and coming and coming. Three bottles of apple-cider vinegar (squirted with Dawn dishsoap) gone, strategically dispersed throughout our fortress defenses, precision counter-attacks by the SEAL DO-ers, and orifices brilliantly booby-trapped… the war had been won, but at what cost? Would we be able to withstand the next attack? Unless we breed like our fruity enemy do we have a chance? Yes, we were victors, for now. Like the dinosaurs we are big and mighty, for now. But can we last?

Do numbers matter? Scary still, does size matter? We face an uncertain future with those levels of reproduction and libidos. I don’t think we hetero males will keep up. Have we been deluding ourselves over the millenia with dreams of superiority?

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Live Well — Make Love Much More? — Laugh Often at our Arrogance — Learn Always from the Tiny Details

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Machiavellian Meloidae

For those of you who are utterly fascinated (like me) with Earth’s most resilient creatures — no, humans are not even close — the Meloidae take survival and reproduction to an all new high… or rather a cunning, evil low may be the correct designation. If you think politicians or double-agents are unscrupulous, then you don’t know much about these ingenious Coleoptera. No, not Cleopatra, Coleoptera… though the behavioral similarities are clearly there.

Beware of Seductive Female…

Coleop

Coleoptera Meloidae

Bees. Yes, seductive fake female bees! Or perhaps I could have left-off “bees”. HAH! But let’s not go there, yet. But I do want to talk about perfumes… seductive perfumes!

The larvae of the Blister Beetle, after they are hatched, must immediately seek food. But they do not seek out just any menu. They want a specific 5-star platinum dinning establishment with an unforgettable experience, AND they want and will be chauffeured there! Men, married men, husbands with a pregnant wife or newborns… does this sound familiar? How do these newly born larvae do it? As the below video will show, their genetic coding makes them work as one team, climb to the top of a blade of grass or leaf, clump together, then the Coup d’état… they lure an unsuspecting (horny) male Digger-bee, and do it with specialized perfume, or pheromones! Again, sound familiar? Talk about the greatest STD. Wow! Guys, this totally redefines the need for super safe sex!

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What Can We Learn From Blister Beetles?

Having a background in psych counseling and assessment, as well as certified 4th through 8th grade teacher in all core subjects with a deep fondness for science and social studies (history), my students have always enjoyed relating or connecting Earth science and its creatures to self or to us. Invariably the bored middle school kids ask the question… How does this effect me or help me in life? Well my little unknowing enquiring mind, it does in many ways. Case and point: the Blister Beetle.

meloidae_beetle_larvae

Male Digger-bee with stowaways

Ever heard of the adage “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is” or its gullible opposite “Never look a gift horse in the mouth“? Those two phrases and similar ones carry a lot of wisdom. As many a magician have demonstrated over the centuries, our eyes can be easily deceived. Our ears and nose can be fooled as well, to a lesser extent. Obviously, the “perfumed pheromones” these meloidae larvae ooze, cause much “male digger-bee intoxication” and I believe mimic other species’ perfumes! I’ve fallen prey to different parfums enivrants as many times as these male digger-bees! And I’d wager I have hit the ground, once or twice, much harder than these gullible lads!

Our judgement and perceptions (of self and others) can be quite flawed. Only through periods of time — sometimes years, and in the case of humanity, centuries or millenia — and through trial and error do we learn from events and our mistakes. Hopefully not fatal mistakes. Therefore, it really behooves us flawed humans (and hetero males?) to consider situations with as much cognitive examination as with emotion, especially impulsive emotion. Easier said than done, right? Particularly when some of us are genetically wired to feel and feel strongly, or to find and love, and love strongly. Believe me, I have wrestled with this advice for much of my life, as my recent posts about my daughter, marriages and divorces, and the nature of love can greatly attest!

Five-Factor Model - courtesy of noboproject.com

Five-Factor Model – courtesy of noboproject.com

All of us, every single human being alive, are inextricably connected to this planet and its life-giving (and taking) environments and creatures. We absolutely can learn from all the animals, how they survive, adapt, evolve, and especially reproduce, even from the aversely simpatico relationship of Blister Beetles and Digger bees.

BigFive-sub

Subtraits of the Big Five – courtesy of noboproject.com

In modern psychology, Machiavellianism (and this beetle) is one of three personality traits of the Dark Triad; dark meaning malevolent manifestations. Essentially it is behavior exhibited by a high drive to achieve at the expense of or disregard to others. Clearly this is the female Blister Beetle’s — and her offspring’s — motivation and behavior. What I find fascinating is the question “Are there Blister Beetles among us as humans?” Is it simply genetic programming in order to survive and perpetuate the species and they cannot CHOOSE morality… the “higher road”? Or are there always choices between species; in other words, species who are inferior deserving of extinction and those as superior who deserve to live and survive? Are we talking about humans or beetles? Humanity’s long long history of wars and genocide speak volumes of this Genetics versus Morality judgement. As much as Blister Beetles have a very high regard for self and their offspring, I think humans do too… particularly certain males. By default I must reluctantly include myself in that gender. 😦

In Wikipedia’s description of Mechaiavellianism, the section on human relations with other personality traits, I found to be uncomfortably familiar. Are you familiar with the HEXACO model? I wasn’t until I began comparing this beetle’s behavior with similarities to other Earth species, which I typically like to do as a good (Freethinking Humanist) science teacher. See the three figures of the HEXACO “Big Five” tables.. Where do you think your (self?) personality falls?

BeyondBigFive-3

Traits beyond Five-Factor Model – courtesy of noboproject.com

Personally, I see the Blister Beetle’s Machiavellianism within several primate species, especially certain Homo sapiens. Would you agree or disagree? Why or why not? Are we products of our DNA or of our environment, or a little of both? Are you a Blister Beetle or a Digger bee. Or if you’d like to protect your true identity (like I do here!) you can simply comment about these cunning little insects and their larvae. 😈

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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