The Bug

The gardening bug has bit hard this spring surely due to the mild weather that’s graced the Pacific Northwest. The usual persistent rain and gray skies give way to sun most every afternoon and the temperatures are pleasant if not downright warm. Although it was a little cooler this weekend than the past few, it was perfect for tilling, moving dirt and planting annuals in pots on the deck.

I’ve already prepped the vegetable garden so Mark can get out there without too much strain on the recovering leg and he’s already planted some lettuces and celery. Yesterday we bought some peppers, tomatoes and herbs that will go into the greenhouse until later this month and a few ornamentals for a long unplanted berm along the driveway.

This afternoon, I trimmed back some large branches from the neighbors fir tree that have been hanging over that unplanted berm and prepped the soil for some flower seeds that will help fill that space until later this summer when I can actually lay out a design for a fall planting.

Then it was off to the deck to start prepping pots with fresh soil for the annuals we’re sure to bring home from the wonderful Master Gardener’s sale next weekend. It’s this sale that usually inspires me to start work in the yard so I’m feeling good about being so far ahead for a change. It will also make the deck more inviting for our dear friends who will be housesitting while we’re in Europe. If the weather holds out…they’ll have a lovely little retreat where they can relax and watch the dogs on squirrel patrol.

While working on the deck I heard the fountain pump laboring and when I went to investigate, I found this colorful little critter caught in the intake filter.

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I love how this next shot makes his color lines look three dimensional…then again …maybe they are. Dr. T?

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I noticed he was still moving a bit so I turned him over to administer CPR and was surprised to find his underside was as brilliant as his back.

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In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen anything like him. I’ve seen numerous metallic beetles on Dr. T’s blog so I decided it was time to post on this neglected site and see if I could coax the good doctor into identifiying him for me. I should have sent an email but I really wanted to share this gorgeous little guy with those few folks that still stop by…and I was hoping it might spur me on to posting a little more frequently. Hopefully, with all the gardening going on around here, that will be the case.

BTW – He recovered nicely and was released with the instruction not to return to the fountain.

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12 responses to “The Bug

  1. Oh what a pretty beetle. We have bright green ones like that down here. I am not sure what they are called.

  2. Ooh, ohh, it’s a metallic wood boring beetle! Shiny!! (Family Buprestidae). I’m pretty sure yours is Buprestis aurulenta. see here.

    What became of this guy?

  3. Thanks Doug!

    I let this little guy go, should I have frozen him and called? I believe you said once that they lose their color when they’ve been euthanized. No?

    I was so thrilled to have saved him I just couldn’t put him down, especially if he would lose his brilliance.

    Also, are the ridges just an illusion? I didn’t notice them until I looked at the pictures and by then he’d been liberated.

  4. I was happy to see you posting!
    It is always good to hear about your gardens.

    I am prepping my new vegetable bed, hoping to grow something this year. Wish me luck

  5. The ridges are not an illusion. Species identification keys frequently refer to species like this one as having sculptured elytra. The elytra (sing. elytron) are the wing covers that form the shell-like back of many beetles.

    Although my first impulse was to completely covet the specimen, I would not want to deprive you of the pleasure of setting this beautiful creature free. Most buprestid beetles retain their colors when dead. That’s one of the reasons that they are so widely collected.

  6. I have never ever seen a beetle like that before. Its very pretty and looks great in your photos. I am in the middle of getting my garden ready so if I come across anything as exciting as that I will post photos too 🙂

  7. Thanks again Doug. I guess I was thinking of some other insect that lost it’s color, perhaps a grasshopper?

    If I ever find another Buprestis aurulenta…I’ll freeze him for you…and send him your way.

  8. Possibly a grasshopper or a dragonfly- both fade after death. The kinds of colors that fade this way are sometimes referred to as “fugitive colors.” I’ve always enjoyed that term.

  9. Glad to have you back! I’m also happy to hear you’ve been bitten by the gardening bug and not the other variety.

    It sounds like you are going at it hammer and tongs. I am still trying to work up some enthusiasm for my little patch. Hopefully, it will happen soon, since spring has hit the northeast like a sledgehammer and I am in the midst of allergy season.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how your gardening efforts come along this year. And seeing any interesting insect life that comes your way.

  10. great pics and nice way to show him off with the pale background.

    I’m glad he got set free.

  11. OH GROW ME SOME NICE RED TOMATOES SO I CAN MAKE SOME HOMEMADE PASTA SAUCE!!! You always did have the green thumb! I’m baaaaack.

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