Yes, it’s summertime in Rockaway and the insects have arrived. Or haven’t you noticed the swarms of dragonflies all over? My backyard resembles a World War I dogfight with mid-air battles occurring over Hydrangea. These fierce-looking flying battleships appear terrifying and they are very territorial, but they are not harmful to humans. Unlike bees and wasps, they don’t sting or bite, and in fact are actually helping by feasting on mosquitos. But they are wild-looking. Especially on the boardwalk by the concession stands where they seem to hang out, just like everyone else. Maybe they dig the scene too?
I heard my first cicada today, signaling that August is not far away. These weird beings take seventeen years to find their way above ground, and are so happy they made it that they truly make a racket about it. The sounds they make are actually described as singing, and no they don’t sing with the Grayriders, so let’s get that out of the way right up front. They are the loudest of all insects though and they sing the most when it’s the hottest. It’s sometimes hard to figure out where they are when they are singing. They are like the insect world's ventriloquists! But that comes in handy because Praying Mantis, birds and bats, to name a few, hunt them. I don’t think dragonflies like their taste though. In some countries, people eat them. I hope that restaurant never comes to Rockaway!
I have seen only one Monarch this year, and that’s a shame. Apparently there is a lack of Milkweed plants on which the Monarch feed. Even though they seem to float along, they need food to travel the long distances they travel. Perhaps the lack of Monarchs traveling north or south from our country through Mexico and South America has something to do with our immigration policy. I, for one, am in favor of allowing Monarchs free entry. Not Kings or Queens, I mean the butterflies.
You know June came and went and I did not see one June bug, or Lightening bug. It was so much fun to catch them and put them in a bottle when we were kids. Where have they all gone? Maybe they have been in communication with the Monarchs and are boycotting us? I hope not. I know that Milkweed sounds like a weed, but they do have flowers and they do attract butterflies, especially Monarchs. So if you are planning your garden for next year, set aside a space for some Milkweed. And if you see those dive-bombing dragonflies, don’t worry, they are eating the hell out of the mosquitos. And when you see that Praying Mantis just sitting there looking like he isn’t doing anything, you should know that he has his eye on that squawking cicada with the big eyes.
Six years after Sandy and I am reminded of Jeff Goldblum’s prophetic statement in the first Jurassic Park, “life finds a way.” And life, at least insect life, has certainly found its way back to Rockaway! What follows? Certainly dolphins and whales have emerged in Rockaway, big time. Could you imagine if there were other types of wildlife here like deer and bears? It could help keep the crowds down during the summer. Just something to think about, just saying.