I’ve been making a last ditch effort to document as many insects and spiders as I can before the snow buries them. I feel I’m trying to make up lost time since I spent the end of summer without a good camera for macro photography. And it is at times like this where I am continually amazed and educated by the natural world around me.
I had figured that by this time of the year the bugs would all be gone. Unless you look carefully you might assume it too be true, but it is not.
At the garden even on a day where it was spitting snow and the temperature never rose above 35 F there were insects and spiders to be found.
I found earthworms and a centipede under some carpet in a garden plot, and some small flies/gnats flying around a moldering lettuce plant.
But perhaps the best find was the plethora of tiny insects and several spiders that seem to be living on the low plants on the compost pile.
It makes sense if you think about it. The compost pile is actively decomposing and produces a bit of heat. It is not a significant amount, but on this cold day it is probably about all that is keeping most of the insects alive.
It also makes me wonder how many insects have burrowed into the pile where it may stay warm longer and thus provide the protection they need to either live till spring or to lay their eggs for the next generation.
Life is so tenacious. Just when you think you have it figured out it surprises you. I’ve long known that some insects winter over. It is not uncommon for us to bring wood in for our stove and have insects wake up and start moving around the house. But what surprised me most about today was that the insects were still active at these temperatures.
Normally by this time it is colder and we have snow covering the ground already. I’m going to keep looking for bugs and trying to see just how hardy these Alaskan insects can be.