Saturday, October 13, 2007

Not even Google can help

OK, what is this thing besides really gross?

When we moved into this house 14 years ago, one of the first things we did was take down an old, dying apple tree that was spilling rotten fruit into the neighbor's yard. We also had to evict huge ant colonies that really liked to eat the apples. Once the tree was gone, though, they took over our garden, which was right near the tree stump. These ants would drill a tiny hole in a tomato, then hundreds of them would use the hole as a doorway into the tomato, which they would eat from the inside out. I remember picking tomatoes, which -- hollowed out be the ants -- would collapse in my hand. I would be left holding a tomato skin, and my hand would be covered with the ants that had been inside. Ick, ick, ick -- it was like something out of a horror movie.

This weekend, my husband discovered that the old apple tree stump was finally giving up the battle and could easily be broken apart and pulled out. Deeply at home in the rotted wood were these things -- lots of 'em. Gross, gross, gross, gross. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Anyone know what it is? Besides disgusting, I mean? My Google searches haven't worked.

9 comments:

Daniel Cody said...

Looks like a white (May) beetle grub or Japanese beetle larvae to me Gretchen. If you contact the UW extension they can recommend some options for dealing with the infestation.

Good luck!

capper said...

All ya gotta do is ask a country boy. That there ugly little beastie looks to be a grub, or as they call them up nort der, a grub worm.

Jay Bullock said...

Gretchen: Try emailing the people at What's That Bug?.

James Wigderson said...

http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/urban/termites/c_cavifrons_castes.jpg

I think they're termites.

It's all Scott Walker's fault.

Gretchen Schuldt said...

Oh, boy. I think Capper and Dan Cody are right and it's a yucky grub. The hairy little legs are exact matches. The grosseties we found look too big to be termites.

And no, James, they aren't Scott Walker's fault, and I don't even expect the government to fix this problem for us. I may, however, take Dan's advice and contact the UW-Extension -- which Walker wanted to de-fund -- for some advice.

Anyway, my brief foray into the world of gross things I didn't really want to know about has revealed that these creepy crawlies are probably out there chomping on our lawn's roots. This is war.

Do you think these things might be what ate my beet crop last year?

capper said...

Do you think these things might be what ate my beet crop last year?

I really can't say what the dietary habit of grubs are regarding beets. I do know that you should be able to pick up some lawn treatment products at your local hardware store that will help eliminate them.

We had them a lot up north, but went green. We put up bird houses, bird feeders, etc. to attract more birds, and it has been years since we've had a problem. Plus robins, woodpeckers, etc, are much more pleasant to look at.

john barmore said...

I'm pretty sure that is larval stage of Dick Cheney. John

capper said...

If John is correct, you must kill it! Kill it now!!! And then burn the remains.

Geoff said...

An old farm boy once told me to put out beer in a shallow dish. Apparently, the beer attracts them and they drown in it. All in all, probably not a bad way to go. Try it. It's a non toxic way to get rid of them. If it works, great. If not, get out the DDT.