Mosquito LarvaeThe reason I posted the Bat House post was because mosquitos have become much more of a problem than they have been. This is probably because I have a 5 gallon bucket of water keeping some Eucalyptus clippings for my aunt-in-law. We had to clip the Eucalyptus because it was blowing into our neighbors power lines during a storm. So like reasonable people, we went out with one of those reach-and-pull-by-the-rope clippers during a lighning storm, in the dark to clip a tree that was six inches from black 220V lines delivering 200 amps. So we thought we were going to ship them to her. We didn't and in about a week, mosquito bite rates went through the roof. I am pretty sure that the grey curly things in the water are Tiger Mosqitio larvae. Based on that is what we have in the area, and now we have a lot more.
<Pre-emptive update: My wife saw my post and pictures and did the Google search for me. They are mosquito larvae. Based on her research, people on the internet say that bleach is a good way to kill them. Also soap because the larvae have to come up for air, and get it on their bodies when they do, disrupting their skin and breathing. Oil works the same way, but is more potent.>
We tried bleach about half a cup in about 3-4 gallons of water. We had apparantly no kill rate after 2 hours. No larvae floating on top, and the big one wrigglign away as per normal.
Fly Pre-PupaeI looked this one up earlier in the week and couldnt get past two photos before I closed all my browser windows in disgust. These next photos are of fly pre-pupae or maggots. Flies find my compost, deposit eggs and in 3-4 days, I have lots of these guys. They like to live under the surface out of the light. When I rotate my compost, and open the lid, they are innevitably on top, but 10-30 seconds later, they are not visible on the top of the compost. You can see a sunflower seed in the middle for scale, and to the upper right of that, a cantelope seed.
Based on the flies I see in the yard, there are normal houseflies, green flies, and the guys below. Im assuming that all the maggots looks the same (maybe different sizes) and that they are all in there and i cant tell them apart. I cant find the website, but I think I remember them having a termperture range of 80-120F. So having them is indicative of a compost pile not being hot enough to kill them, weed seeds, and most pathogens.
Large Black Flies of unknown name (maybe a wasp?)Based on the flies I see in the yard, there are normal houseflies, green flies, and the guys below. These guys I found in my finsihed compost storage bin which was known to have the pre-pupae in it. So Im assuming theat they hatched from those. They are large, 3-4 times the length of a house fly. In the picture you can see a scrap of paper with "eng" on it. That is 10pt Times New Roman for scale.
These guys were just chilling on the top of the pile when I opened the lid. Either they were drying out after recently hatching or they were in the process of dying from the parasitic infection I'm going to discuss next. When I came near, they moved, but did not fly away, and did not move by enough, or as fast as one might expect.
When i was diging thorugh the finished compost, (I cant remember whether it was the same or different bin that the one with the above photos - but it doesnt really matter since I mix compost from the two every other month), I found the following dead flies. They had small red aphid-like insects on them. The carapace had been split open, and the red aphid-like bugs were inside, presumably eating what was left of the inside of the fly. It is barely visible in the image. What is not visible, but what I did see was the same red bugs attached to the bottom of a much smaller different kind of fly. If I were to guess at the size, I would say they were 500-1000 microns (1000 micron=1mm). Inside the dead carapace, they looked gouged and fat. On the smaller fly (2 microns) they looked like 6-8 puppies clinging to the legs and abdomen of a mother dog - that was the scale.
Request for comments
If anyone knows anything about any of the four characters in today's post, please say something in the comments. If what you say cant be quickly verified on wikipedia, please post a source or a link. I want to learn, but cannot trawl through entomology websites on account of my weak suburban constitution. Thanks.