There are funnels of sandy dirt in my side garden
and some little inset that is below the surface kicking
up the loose pieces. I have waited and waited until
finally whatever it was emerged.
And it was sort of scary!
What the heck kind of beast has moved in?
This image is enlarged quite a bit- enormously in fact,
the creatures are tiny but nonetheless looking as if they
should be something that wants to eat humans
from Journey to the Center of the Earth.
What was I to do?
Google it, of course.
They are ant lions, a beneficial insect and boy,
do I have a lot of them! This is the larval form.
When they grow up they will resemble a damselfly
but they come out at night so you don't see them much.
As larva, they dig steep funnels which capture prey,
primarily ants but also other insects that could damage
your garden. The more the prey struggles, the deeper they fall.
After the short rain the other day it was as if a
major construction site was in my garden.
They were all down there kicking out the fine
mix of compost to remake their funnels.
I planted some pole beans and bush beans later in the season
which are just above the funnels. I tried to plant more but
between the heat and lack of rain (so different than the
soaking, cool spring we had), I was not getting much to grow.
The beans are now producing so I hope the little ant lions
are working hard to keep bugs away.
The other name they are know by is Doodle Bug. In sandy soil
you can see their meandering trails as if someone were
doodling in the soil. I even saw songs and poems about them on line.
Here is an adult version- see photo links below for the
larva and the adult.