Feel free to bug me
Some of you know I’ve joined the world of the employed lately, and for that I am very, very grateful. For a person who spent years getting paid to listen to music and make judgment calls, or to work tangentially with music and art, the new world I’m immersed in on a daily basis is much different. And, as it turns out, it’s a subject I’ve been interested in since childhood, when I used to fry pillbugs — which are small crustaceans, and not insects — on the sidewalk with my glasses, and would spend hours watching aphids making honeydew, or ants building colonies. Work just woke up the dormant nine-year-old boy in me, which isn’t a bad thing.
I was at a music event a couple of weeks ago — Sea of Bees, John Vanderslice and DoomBird at the TownHouse, to be specific — and they were projecting this French documentary called Microcosmos on the wall. It’s got bugs galore, even snails having sexytime, and I dug it enough to pay attention when the credits were rolling, and then found the whole thing online. Enjoy.
Before I started at my new gig, I couldn’t have told you the difference between a drywood and a subterranean termite, or what an alate was and why they call it a “swarmer,” or why Formosan termites are seriously problematic, or the interesting thing about Argentine ants is that they take over and dominate other species not through bellicosity, but via superior social organizing skills, or a bunch of other things. Did you know that there’s a wasp in the Far East that will sting a cockroach in the thorax in a spot that will paralyze the roach long enough for the wasp to deliver another sting, in the roach’s ganglia, or brain, that will disable its escape impulse, and then the wasp will snip the now-docile roach’s antennae off at the halfway point, then will suck out some body fluids through an antenna like a bug mai tai through a straw, and then the wasp will lead the roach like a dog on a leash back to its lair, where it will lay an egg on the zombie-fied bug, which will provide a living host for the wasp larva to burrow into and then burst from like an alien facehugger when it’s done feeding? I mean, how’s that for a cool horror movie plot?
Yeah, you could say I’m digging this new line of work. —Jackson Griffith