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Friday, March 10, 2023

What's Bugging You? by Bea Tifton

I’ve never been bothered by most bugs. And, as I was a real tomboy, they were even playmates at times when I was a child finding my way through the wide world.

When I was three, I was fascinated with what we called roly polies. Some people call them pill bugs, but they’re actual name is woodlouse. Not really insects, but crustaceans, these harmless little creatures roll up into a ball when threatened. I loved riding on merry go rounds, so I thought, why wouldn’t my little friends? I carefully placed three roly polies on my record turntable, and turned it on.

Whizzzzzz. Those poor little things went whizzing across the room. You can bet they rolled up into balls after that.

My favorite place to live as a kid was beside a lake. A little creek pushed its way up alongside our backyard. I loved ladybugs, and they were everywhere. One day when I was about five or six, I gathered what must have been dozens of ladybugs into a jar. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I took the jar to my bedroom to watch the brightly colored little ladybugs do their thing. I put the jar down on my bed and after a few minutes I noticed a ladybug flitting past me. Then two. Then three. Then dozens. The lid from the jar had come loose and the Great Ladybug Escape had begun. I ran around frantically trying to recapture all of them before my mother walked in.  Days after I emptied the jar back onto the willow trees by our creek; I still found the odd ladybug or two flying cheerfully around my room.

In the evenings by that same lake, the neighborhood kids would play outside as darkness fell, watching the scores of lightning bugs who twinkled by the water. We would make lanterns by intercepting lightning bugs and dropping them in our jars. I couldn’t bear to keep them captive, though, so I would hold my jar up high and watch each lightning bug wend its way to the lip of the jar, then fly into the summer sky like a star. Magical.


Are you squeamish around bugs?

Photo Credits:
Unsplash: Izzy Park "A Girl Holding a Roly-poly on Her Hand"
Pexels: "Vinyl Record Playing"
Pexels: Susanne Jutzeler, sukiyaki-foto "Close-Up Photo of Ladybug on Camomile Flower"
Pixabay: Willgard "Lightning Bugs"


  1. Growing up in the country, I loved bugs. My favorite story similar to your ladybug story was that we had Catalpa trees and on those trees were worms (larvae). This was some of the best catfish bait around and my mom drove to our other property just a couple miles away to gather some before a camping trip. Well, you guessed it. The Folger's can tipped over and she had worms all over her car!

    1. Oh, no! I prefer ladybugs in my bedroom. Thanks for your comment.

    2. Hero watched catalpa trees. As soon as they bloomed, he'd say it was time to go crappie fishing. His great aunt had a catalpa tree. They are pretty, but I don't collect the worms, thank you very much.

  2. I love bugs as long as they are outside. My Dad explained that beneficial bugs were beneficial outside, but were pests once they got inside.

  3. I live in the country and always have. While I like lightning bugs and butterflies, I'd just as soon give the rest of the bug world a miss! I like HEARing crickets and cicadas, but don't want to have contact with them. :-)

    1. I like hearing those, too. Thanks for commenting.


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