Hello folks who wonder if both Crocs and cockroaches will survive the nuclear war,

As Labor Day approaches, the nation quietly mourns the lost potential of the now departed summer. The vacations meant to be taken, the diets meant to be followed, the toned body meant to be shown off - these goals now seem but unfulfilled resolutions, pushed off until next summer. It is precisely at this nostalgic time that brands and shops capitalize, trying to sell you stuff for the next season that you won't be able to use for another 6 months. Clearing out summer inventory makes room for fall and winter collections.

It's time for an end-of-summer digital declutter. Just like those summer clearance sales at the mall, I'm looking to clear out the stale inventory gathering virtual dust on my devices. Say goodbye to those lackluster spring and summer stories lingering in my drafts. Consider this a Labor Day sale on my own content - everything must go!

Remember those days when your mom asked you to clean your room, and you had no counter-argument, so you just rolled your eyes? When trees shed leaves, and your yards are covered with leaf litter, the HOA just like your mom intimidates you into using a leaf blower to clear your lawn. Here's why it's a bad idea.

Leaf litter is akin to a protective blanket that helps shield the ground from soil erosion caused by rains and wind. This blanket supports many insects that depend on this habitat for shelter and food. In turn, this supports other animals that rely on these insects hidden under the leaf litter. Here is a classic example: this Bewick's Wren is foraging for insects hidden beneath all that leaf litter.

Below is a video of an Oleander Aphid mom giving birth to her daughter, or trying to.

Here is another species of aphid giving birth. Going through my video collection made me realize how many weekends I've spent trying to capture aphids in the act of giving birth. For the sake of your sanity and mine, I'll stop sharing any more aphid birth videos in this post.

You remember the post about the California Jumping gall wasp? I covered it in the post titled Those who don't jump will never fly. Well, I kept some of those jumping galls in a vial and forgot about it. When I checked it next, they had emerged as Adults. I felt bad since I wasn't there to cheer them during their special moment. Here is one running away from me and won't accept my apology.

Ever seen a fly proboscis up-close? Flies will lap up liquid food very efficiently since they have spongy pads on the proboscis to soak up liquid quick. This proboscis will retract back in the head when not in use.

Sometime back I caught someone doing something they were not supposed to do. Imagine you had a friend who is a hardcore vegan who keeps sharing their dietary preferences along with their pronouns to any stranger who greets them in the elevator. Now, if that same friend was caught wolfing down a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A, that would be similar to catching a catholic priest using Tinder app on their phone. That is why, I was stunned when I saw a pill bug/Roly-poly munching on a dead insect instead of decaying plant material and wood mulch that the media led us to believe.

And when I confronted it: it rolled into a ball so it wouldn't have to look me in the eye. Just own up to your actions and act like an adult already. No one wants to grow up these days.

Here is a cool video of a hoverfly warming up its engine before taking off.

Phone in Airplane mode ✓
Seat belt ✓
Engine ✓
Propeller  ✓
Camera taking the video ✓
Cleared for takeoff ✓

Insects have a remarkable ability to quickly right themselves when they are flipped over. They can do this in several ways depending on the species. One technique is swaying their legs aggressively to rock their bodies and then roll over. 

However, the varied carpet beetle I found near my window has given up and seems to have accepted that it will never be able to right itself.

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