Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gives Me the Heebie-Jeebies

Early this morning, when I went to open the deck door and let the dogs out, I heard this crazy, creepy sound right outside the door. It sounded like some kind of rabid squirrel or something going crazy and screaming on the deck. And, I definitely heard something slamming repeatedly into the door.

So, there was no way in heck I was opening that door, which was not acceptable to Ginger... A) because she has to pee really bad first thing in the morning and B) because she, as official protector of the home and resident "wee-man syndrome" poster child, was determined to find the source of this horrid sound. Abby did not care about opening the door - she cares only about breakfast and how quickly it will be served to her.

With Ginger pressuring me for answers, and Abby pressuring me to quit staring out the window like a weirdo and feed her, I looked all around outside for the source of this horrible sound. I finally realized that this GIANT BUG was banging into the door very low to the ground. That was the source of the slamming and, I believed, the weird screaming sound. The bug would fly into the door, bounce and crash back into the deck a few feet away from the door, and lay there for a few seconds making the weird sound before trying again. I gave Ginger, who was raring to go, a quick pep talk and told her what was going on. Then, I very carefully cracked the door after the bug did one big slam and let my attack dog loose.

Ginger pounced on that screaming bug with both tiny paws. When it started flying and got off the ground, she batted it down with both paws, lunged at it, and chased it across a few deck boards as it skittered away. She then crushed it a few times with her paws again, throwing all of her fourteen pounds of body weight into it ... and mercifully the screaming sound ceased! Ginger had done it! HERO!

I let Ginger back in, fed the dogs, and let them back out, all while staring terrified out the window at this giant, creepy-as-heck bug. It was about three inches long and an inch and a half wide, very solid looking, with long glassy-looking wings. It was so scary! When I let the dogs out again, Ginger checked out her fresh kill ... AND PICKED IT UP IN HER MOUTH AND TOOK IT OFF THE DECK. Gross! I was glad it was off the deck, but I was hoping I could show Saunders because I knew he'd never believe me.

Well, this afternoon I got my chance. Katie Anne and I let both dogs out through the basement door, and then back in again through the deck... and Ginger had brought her little friend back up the stairs in her mouth. After I convinced her to spit it out by screaming, "Spit it out, Ginger! Good Lord - spit it out!!!!", I snuck outside with the digital camera and snapped these shots for Saunders proof and blogging enjoyment.

The bug's nasty belly:
I flipped it over for a top-of-the-body view:

Saunders got to see it himself when he got home because Ginger didn't mess with it any more, and he couldn't believe it! He thought I was exaggerating about how giant and creepy this bug is (and he didn't believe it was white when I described it), but I wasn't! Neither of us knows what kind of bug this is. I'm about to research it online, and I'll post what I find out.

UPDATE: Okay, after about an hour of internet research (when I definitely should be sleeping), I believe what we have here is a cicada. To be more precise, I believe we have a T. auletes variety. I am not sure about the specifics, but it looks a lot like pictures of the T. auletes, those are found in north Georgia, and it sure as heck sounded like this guy! Apparently, they are not dangerous, very rarely bite/sting people, and are actually kind of cool insects in theory. (Not in reality at 5:00 am, I can assure you.) They live underground for 2-13 years and emerge as nymphs before growing wings and flying around, scaring the heebie-jeebies out of people. I've got an email out to a bug expert to be sure, and I'll update again once I hear back from him. Now, off to bed!


The Brown Family said...

It most def. is a cicada! I too have been a victim of one "scratching" at my window screen at night (of course) and I was convinced it was a hiker with a bloody hook whom after 20 years had tracked me down! (you remember that horrible ghost story from childhood camp-outs) It was a very very loud intense noise. Stephen was all "It's just a bug.... Holy *%#*! That is a big bug" he then decided. The cicada came to visit us last year and now this year we have attracted "cicada killers" how terrific! They are gigantic hornet looking winged bandits with huge yellow hineys. We were convinced they were hornets (we found them this past Sun.) and my mighty hunter husband decided NOT to use hornet spray to kill them but..... He thought the ole' bat at them with the tennis rackets and slice them in half would be more beneficial (or barbaric) to the cause. I called an exterminator Mon. morning and he quickly came over to kill my hornets, he took one look at them and said in the most unconcerned voice "Ahhh them ain't gonna hurt ye there cicada killers" They don't even sting! Umm OK! So now I say to you my "joined at the cicada hip friend" beware of the cicada killers cause this is the time of year they hunt in our area (according to the internet - NOT the highly qualified exterminator man)

Kelly said...

We have cicadas around here too. I've never had to battle one but we find them already dead every once in a while. Our area is crawling with them, hence making it hard to sleep at night sometimes because they are so loud. I miss that sound in the winter, though.