Omen Teaches It: The Insect World

You may be boys or you may be girls. You may call us bugs or pests, but most of us are insects. By the time you finish reading what we have to tell, you may look at insects in a positive light and posibly consider adopting one as a family pet!

We prefer to be called insects, not bugs and definitely not pests! Insects have segmented bodies, six legs and external skeletons. True bugs, and there are a few, suck juices from plants using stylets which are strawmouths or probosces (or proboscis for just one).

There are more insects in the world than bugs and people too! There are about 200 million of us for every one of you.

My name is Omen. I know, that’s Nemo spelled backwards and I know where I am. I am a Chinavia hilaris, what you commonly call a green stink bug. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/485010-Chinavia-hilaris

By the way, you stink to most of us too!

https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A102d2a5e-8508-48d2-91ef-4efe83da0496

I have been chosen by all insects and bugs to educate humans on what we are really about. No conspiracies, rumors, tall-tales or half-truths. I’m here to give you some of the facts about us.

We the insects have been here on earth approximately 479 million years. We have been here before the dinosaurs! I bet you think we’re older than dirt. The oldest insect that still exists today lives in the dirt and it is the termite queen. Our current representative for the termite queen is my friend Kubaba. She can tell you that her family is very strong and has survived all of the changes that have happened on earth. Again, you considet termites as pests, but termites are like nature’s lumberjacks. Termites take down dead trees and eat them making fertilizer and mulch for the soil and clear the land for more plants and trees. Kubaba and other termite queens can live to be 60 years old. She and her family have been through, ice, snow, floods, fires and humans building and cutting trees for farming EVERYWHERE! You call them pests, but they usually stay close to where their homes have always been and that is…..where you put your house, barn, or building! Remember, they were in the forest, woods and rainforests first. https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/incredbugs

The most common insects on earth are ants, like my friend Eon. There are 10 to 100,000 trillion ants globally, with more than 10,000 different families called species. Ants can carry 10 to 50 times their own body weight. The amount that they can carry depends upon the species. The Asian weaver ant can lift 100 times its own body weight. You could think of it as the superhero of the insects because of its strength. https://www.westernexterminator.com/ants/10-interesting-facts-ants/

The longest living insect today is the ant. The black garden ant has a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. https://antark.net/ant-facts/ants-live-30-years/

The shortest living insect is the Mayfly. It lives for 24 hours. https://io9.gizmodo.com/mayflies-might-just-have-the-saddest-most-perfectly-ev-5815582

The rarest insect, and yes it is an endangered species, is the land lobster, scientifically known as Drycocelus australis. They have been driven from Lord Howe Island several hundred miles east of Australia, to Bali’s Pyramid Island 14 miles away. https://ansp.org/exhibits/online-exhibits/stories/the-worlds-rarest-insect/

The smallest insect is the Fairyfly at only 0.007 to 0.039 inches or  0.5 to 1.8 mm long. You might need a magnifying glass to see one of them. https://animals.mom.me/fun-fairy-fly-4190.html

The heaviest insect is the giant weta, another buddy of mine, Waymore, weighing in at 2.5 ounces. He weighs more than a mouse. https://www.grownups.co.nz/interests/entertainment/quick-facts-giant-weta/

The South American longhorn beetles are 6 inches long, but the walking stick insects have them beat as the longest insects in the world! Scientifically known as Phobaeticus serratipes, they are 2.5 feet long as you can see by my friend Feefifocus.

We have patiently watched and helped humans grow. We have been with you through your phases of fear of us, curiosity, admiration, love and hate. We have listened to your secrets and famous speeches, and marched with you during your wars. We have protected your plants, created food and beauty in your gardens. We have been your pets and best friends and your worst enemies too. We carried a few diseases that spread to you due to your lack of cleanliness and control. You have tried to eliminate us many times over thousands of years, but we think you are beginning to understand that we help you more than we hurt you and we are your friends! So before you stomp, swat, and spray poison on us, please try not to forget that we are EVERYWHERE and have been here since the beginning and we are your friends to the END!

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Baby Barnie Barnacle

Baby Barney Barnacle was floating in the warm quiet lagoon when it was released from

its mother into the sea with hundreds of its tiny brothers and sisters.

He heard a voice that sounded soft and familiar, but he could not tell where it was

from. The voice told him to eat the plankton that floated around him and wait until

he could find a large hard surface to attach himself to and rest. The voice became

louder and told him to move away when a school of fish passed by to eat a few of his

brothers and sisters. When the tide washed out, the voice told him he had to look

out for crabs that thought he would make a tasty snack! He dreamed about how he

would rest for the rest of his life on that hard surface. It would become his

forever home and he would never have to leave. He would not have to work to look for

food like some of the other sea creatures. He would not have to fight for his food

or go hungry like some of the creatures in the sea and he would not have to worry

about being eaten. He could travel and see the world and eat the different foods

that the sea offered and he would be safe. While he was eating his meal of plankton,

a piece of wood floated by, it looked nice, but the voice told him it was not large

enough, so he let it float by. Some of Barney’s sisters attached themselves to a

boat that slowly passed by, but there was not enough room for Barney, so he

continued to float in the lagoon and eat his plankton and algae. Some of Barney’s

brothers attached themselves to the baby sea turtles as they swam from the beach to

the lagoon on their way out to sea. A lot of the sea turtles did not get very far

because the seagulls and the fish ate them! So Barney just stayed in the lagoon

eating his plankton.

One day, the lagoon became dark and the water churned and the waves crashed into the

lagoon! Oh my! Baby Barney thought. He had never been through this before! All of a

sudden, he felt a large pull and before he knew it, he was out of the lagoon and

floating on the large rough waves of the sea! The voice he usually heard was loud

and told him to hang on, things were about to get better. So Baby Barney continued

to float on a large wave out to one of the sea currents. Then the water became calm

and clear again. Everything looked new and different now. There was a large, gray,

slow-moving, flat surface coming close to him. The voice that usually spoke to him

told him go now and hang on. It was time for him to attach himself and ride. It was

a gentle ride and he was able to see lots of places and eat different food and he

was safe. He lived on the side of a large whale. Barney traveled for many years on

the whale. Barney was on his forever home.

There’s an Amoeba in Your Water Supply

I’m Wuzherefirst an amoeba and I’m in your water supply.
I am really tough and I usually live in wet and warm places and
I will go to sleep when things get too cold or dry.

I am not bacteria, virus, or a plant.
Not an insect and smaller than an ant.
And I’m too tiny for you to see.

I am a complex one cell animal that is slow and I have big feet.
No, I don’t wear the latest kicks because I eat with my feet!
And boy do I like to eat!

I eat cells. Yes, cells. Any old kind will do as long as they’re warm and wet.
Guess what? You have quite a few cells that I haven’t met yet!

You jump into my home during the summer months and call yourself swimming and diving.
I swim in the water that goes up your nose and eat the cells that form the barrier between your nose and your brain and you will never know when I am arriving.

When I finish eating the membrane, I go inside your brain, vacation and continue eating like a zombie, but when I finish, I guess you know you won’t turn into a zombie, but I can make you dead because you will have many holes in your head.

You will just be a mammal walking around all over the place lost in space.
I just took over your brain as my new main vacation place.

You took over my home and declared it your water supply and now your brain is the new restaurant and vacation club that I occupy.

If I make it to your house through the faucet to visit, I can still snack on you when you use the water from the faucet to clean your contacts or get water in your eyes from the shower. You will just give me an extended lunch hour.

Just like the cobra that can blind you by spitting venom in your eyes, I am strong enough to make mammals die by eating through their eyes.

During the summer months when you like to picnic and drink water that you’re so sure it is clean. I am in that water you drank ready to really do my thing!

Your teeth can’t harm me and neither can the acid in your tummy, bile, digestive hormones, and antibodies. None of these things can defeat Wuzherefirst the Amoeba when I start to eat!

I will just eat until I have a happy tummy! Now while you won’t feel so well with your tummy ache and poop everywhere. I will be busy eating all of your cells without a worry or a care!

You must know that I’m not the only one in my home. I can make many sisters and brothers without a father or a mother. All I have to do is slowly split myself into two. My sisters and brothers can do that same trick too.

Amoeba, bacteria, and protozoa have been around on earth long before the animals that you see today. We have lasted longer than the dinosaurs, extinct birds and mammal fossils you have found.
Just remember that Wuzherefirst and all the other amoeba are still alive and hanging around.

Since you like to crash houses and haunt them on the sly, we decided to hang around and taunt you and your water supply!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Miles and the Invisible Twiga

Miles was always loved the animals he saw in the zoo. He had books on the

animals of the jungles of the Amazon, Africa and Asia. He wore tee-shirts with

his favorite animals on them. Miles had models of the animals he saw in the zoo.

He even had his own model zoo! He had stuffed animals of monkeys, zebras,

hippopotamuses, but his favorite was the giraffe. He visited the giraffes in the

zoo every time he went. Miles even asked the zookeeper about the giraffes. Miles

had lots of books and magazines on giraffes and he learned a lot about them. He

knew what they ate, how the slept, where they lived, how long they lived and

what they liked. He always dreamed about caring for giraffes.

One evening one of Miles’ teeth came out. He showed the tooth to his parents and

they told him to place it under his pillow that night before he went to sleep

and make a wish. His mother told him that there would be a surprise the next

morning for him. So he rushed to get ready for bed, placed the tooth carefully

under his pillow and made a wish. He wished for a pet giraffe. Soon Miles was

fast asleep.

The next morning, Miles woke up. It was time to get ready for school. He quickly

looked under his pillow and saw a shiny silver dollar where he had placed his

tooth. Then he noticed a shadow pass by his bedroom window. He wondered what was

that? The wind was not blowing and there were no trees near his window! Miles

went to his window and opened the curtains and what did he see? It was a young

giraffe looking straight at him through the window! Miles could not believe what

he saw. His wish came true! He opened the window and the giraffe stuck his head

into Miles room and licked his face clean. Miles decided he would name his new

friend Twiga, the Swahili name for giraffe.

Miles hurried to get ready for school. He washed his face, brushed his teeth and

dressed for school. He rushed downstairs for breakfast with his parents. Miles’

mother greeted him good morning and served his breakfast. She asked him if he

received his gift for his tooth under his pillow. He had almost forgotten about

that gift and said yes he had. His father asked him what were his plans for his

gift and Miles told his parents he had not thought about it yet. Twiga was

looking into the kitchen window at Miles, but Miles’ parents could not see him.

He asked if he could be excused from breakfast to arrive at school early for a

new project. His parents agreed and wished him well for the day. Miles hurried

out the back door into the backyard and found Twiga standing near the door

waiting for him. Miles gave Twiga a hug and walked him to a grove of trees in

the far corner of the backyard for breakfast. Miles said goodbye to Twiga and

promised to return to him after school. Miles started to leave the yard and meet

with his friends to walk to school. His friends Randy and Jessica met him at the

gate. They came face to face with Twiga at the fence. They asked Miles how did

he get a giraffe in his backyard? He explained about losing his tooth and

placing it under his pillow after making a wish and finding Twiga at his window

this morning.He also told them that he doesn’t think his parents can see Twiga.

Miles reminded them that it they must leave now to get to school on time. They

began to walk down the sidewalk when Jessica noticed that Twiga was following

them. Miles tried to get Twiga to stay at home, but Twiga still followed him.

They noticed that the neighbors that were rushing to work did not see Twiga.

They passed by as though he was not there. When they left the neighborhood and

walked closer to town, they noticed that the old ladies and old men sitting on

the benches waiting for the bus could see Twiga and they would point and wave.

Miles, Randy, and Jessica finally arrived at school. All of the students stopped

and ran to get a closer look at Twiga. They welcomed him and pet him. The bell

rang and Mrs. Butler, the principal, shouted for all of the students to stop

standing in their groups and get to class before she places the whole school in

detention. She obviously could not see Twiga because she didn’t say anything

about him being there and she usually doesn’t miss thing. It looked like none of

the teachers were able to see Twiga. Twiga was too tall to come inside the

school, so he stayed on the playground eating leaves on the trees. He would

occasionally peep into the window of Miles’ classroom to see what he was doing.

Soon it was lunchtime and Miles, Randy, and Jessica met outside at the picnic

bench to eat lunch with Twiga. Soon more of the classmates came over to feed,

pet, and play with Twiga. All of the students enjoyed their time with Twiga,but

the teachers did not notice anything different. Lunchtime was over and the

students returned to their classes and Twiga returned to eating tree leaves and

twigs. It was three o’clock, the school bell rang time to go home. All of the

students rushed out of the school building. It was Friday and the weekend was

starting. Everyone could not wait to get home. Miles looked for Twiga. He did

not have to look far. Twiga was walking toward him with Jessica, Randy and a few

other classmates hanging on to Twiga’s legs as he walked. They decided to take

the long way home through the park. The children and Twiga enjoyed their time in

the park. The children played on the swings, the slides, the merry-go-round and

other play equipment and climbed on Twiga. Twiga enjoyed everybody at the park.

He even kissed a grandmother and grandfather sitting on a bench tending to their

grandchild in a stroller. They rubbed his nose and head as a thank you for the

kiss. It was now time to go home for dinner. Randy and Jessica were asking

Miles if he would allow Twiga to spend the night at their houses later during

the month. Miles said he would let them know after he had spent more time with

Twiga. They were soon at Miles’ house. Randy and Jessica said goodbye to Miles

and Twiga and went home. Miles walked Twiga into the backyard and closed the

gate. He asked Twiga not to leave the yard without him and Twiga nodded his head

as if he understood. Miles walked into the backdoor of the house. He could smell

the wonderful dinner his mother had cooked. Miles’ mother announced that dinner

was ready and instructed her husband and Miles to wash up for dinner. When they

all sat down to eat, Miles’ mother asked him if he had an interesting day and

Miles told her it was a very very interesting day. No need in telling his

parents more. So he left it like that!

The Two Sisters’ Treasure

Debbie and Sonya were two sisters walking home from school one day when the found a

dollar bill on the sidewalk. They looked around to see if someone nearby dropped the

money, but there was no one in sight. Debbie decided she would carry the dollar home

until they could decide how to spend the dollar. Sonya did not like Debbie carrying

the dollar so she grabbed the dollar. Debbie grabbed the dollar back and this went

on until one of them dropped the dollar and a gust of wind blew the dollar into the

gutter and down the storm drain. Debbie and Sonya were sad at their loss. Mrs.

Davis, the neighbor across the street watched the whole episode and told the girls

it is always better to give in a little than to lose everything because you were

stubborn.

The Thumbprint Detective and the Blackout Christmas Tree

I just received a phone call from 7777 South Bay Drive. The owners said that their Christmas is now in the dark and the Christmas tree is down. There are no clues and they need help solving the mystery.

I open the front door and I can see the Christmas tree on the floor with the lights out and limbs broken. Some of the gifts seem to be unwrapped and torn. I will start interviewing the suspects and witnesses.

The Nephew: Chris

I was in the rec room watching TV when I heard the crash upstairs. The tree was on the floor, the gifts were torn and the lights were out on the tree. That’s when I called you.

The Niece: Kelsey

I was in my room on my laptop taking my writing class on
the Internet, when I heard a loud crash downstairs. Chris and I met in the kitchen after the crash and we called you.

The Bird: Squawk Box

When I first saw the tree, I thought what a great reminder of my home in the jungle. It’s been years since I have seen a tree. I could not wait! I opened the latch on my cage and flew to the near top of the tree and made a nest to relax. I was on vacation! No sooner than I got comfortable, the tree came crashing to the floor like the trees in my jungle. I miss my vacation spot!

The dog: Chewy

I could smell it down the hall! The dog treats under the tree! Chicken, cheese, fish, lamb and sweet potato flavored treats! They were in one of those boxes under the tree with all of those lights! I just had to find out which one! So I chewed the wrapping paper off some of the gifts until the tree started to fall! I ran for the doggie pillow in the hall for safety!

The Gold Fish: Fish and Bowl

We saw everything! Squawk Box flying into the tree, Chewy chewing the gifts and…….Sox the cat knocking down the tree and the lights went out!

The Cat: Sox

The tree smelled so good! It looked like it would make a great scratching post! I just could not resist it! I walked under the tree and placed my paws on the trunk and began to scratch when the lights went out and tree tipped back and I got this terrible feeling and my fur stood up and I was thrown back against the wall. I’ll never try to scratch one of those trees again!

Well, it looks like you’ll have to create another Christmas at 7777 South Bay Drive. The only surprises that you have are a dark Christmas tree, unwrapped gifts, several scared pets and a guilty dog and cat. I guess we will leave it at that! Since you have some shopping to do, I’ll send you my bill after January two! Another mystery solved by the Thumbprint Detective!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

The Frog and The Grasshopper

It was a sunny day and the grasshopper was happily jumping and leaping around in the

tall grass near the pond. He wasn’t paying very much attention when he made a leap

that landed him right in front of a large green frog! The grasshopper quickly

started to beg for his life. He asked the frog to please not eat him. The frog had

just awakened from his nap in the sun and was thinking about having a snack. The

frog asked the grasshopper why should he not eat him?

The grasshopper said he was small and puny and would not be tasty or worth his

time. The frog said let me think for a minute and I will let you know. The

grasshopper panicked and gave the frog a challenge. He asked the frog to let him go

if he leaped farther than the frog. If the frog leaped farther than the grasshopper,

the frog could eat the grasshopper for his snack. The frog agreed to the challenge.

The grasshopper and the frog agreed to leap from the edge of the pond to the tree on

the other side of the pond. The grasshopper jumped first and easily landed behind

the tree. The frog was next. He leaped into the air just over the center of the

pond, when he was suddenly swallowed by a large white crane who had been standing in

the pond watching the whole challenge! The grasshopper was amazed and went on his

merry way!

It is important to look before you leap! I’m sure the frog wished that he had!

The Story of Two Brothers

There were two brothers Johnny and Mike. Mike was the youngest and had limits on

where he could play and ride his bike. Johnny could go anywhere. One day Mike

decided to ride his bike outside of the area he was allowed to play and ride. He

rode over a piece of wood with a nail in it and quickly his front tire was flat.

What was he going to do? What would he tell his parents? He quickly walked his bike

home and was about to hide it in the garage when his big brother Johnny walked up

behind him and asked him what was wrong. Johnny looked at the bike and said I can

fix that really fast and have you riding in no time. Mike was relieved and very

happy. Johnny said you must have ridden your bike in the new section of the

neighborhood where they are building houses and picked up a nail. Mike was starting

to get nervous. He pleaded with Johnny not to tell their parents where he had been.

He told Johnny he would pay him back if he would fix the flat and not tell their

parents. Johnny just laughed and said he would fix the flat. He said there was no

way Mike could pay him back.

Two months passed and Mike was playing video games in his room when suddenly Johnny

was at his bedroom door. Johnny looked scared and he asked Mike to help him. Johnny

said he was washing his hands in the sink when his new class ring fell down the

drain. He could see it, but he couldn’t reach it. Mike said sure he would help.

Mike’s hands were much smaller and his fingers were slimmer and longer than

Johnny’s. Mike carefully reached into the drain and pulled out Johnny’s shiny class

ring. Johnny was so happy. Mike reminded Johnny that even the youngest can pay back

a favor.

Actions done with kindness, no matter how small, make a big difference.

The Useless Tree

One beautiful spring day, Ruby Robin and Rosy Squirrel decided it was time to find a

new home. They took a walk together through the woods, past a field of lovely yellow

flowers to a tree near the creek. Along the way, Ruby and Rosy discussed how they

needed more space now their families had grown and how they needed a place that

would be safe for their babies to play and they wouldn’t have to go far for food.

They also agreed on having a place with a beautiful view.

Ruby and Rosy stopped at a large oak tree near the bank of the creek. It was tall

with large, strong branches and a tree hollow just the right size for a family of

squirrels. The view was beautiful in all directions. Ruby and Rosy stopped and

looked at the tree and said how useless the tree could be.

The oak tree heard them while they were climbing the tree and said it provides

protection to all who live among his mighty branches so far from the ground. The oak

tree also told them that it provides shade from summer’s scorching sun and cover

from the rain. Its hollows provide warmth and protection from fall and winter’s cold

winds and snow. It provides food with its acorns and worms in the ground near its

roots. The tree asked Rosy and Ruby what more can you thankless creatures ask for?

The oak tree was mad by now and it shook its great limbs and almost knocked Ruby and

Rosy from the tree. The oak tree sent them away.

Ruby and Rosy thought about what they said and what the tree told them and they went

back and told the oak tree they were sorry for calling it useless. The oak tree

forgave them and reminded Ruby and Rosy that every living thing has a purpose and is

worth more than gold.

The 2D Dream

I had a dream that did not seem like a dream. It was really unreal.

I woke up one morning and sat up in my bed, but things just didn’t seem right. I

pushed my covers away and got up, walked to the bathroom as I usually do. I noticed

that the doorknob was harder to turn than usual. I thought no big deal and continued

into the bathroom. I turned on the water in the sink and washed my face and started

to brush my teeth and noticed that the toothbrush and toothpaste were flat. I

thought it must be another one of those strange mornings and continued getting ready

for the day. I tried to dress. I noticed that my jeans and shirts were flat like

clothes for a paper doll. There was only a front and a back. There were no sides. I

was trying to see how I would fit into that. I put on the clothes and I noticed that

they fit! I was now flat as a sheet of paper! I no longer had sides! I opened my

bedroom door and looked for my dog Bite. He was his usual shaggy-self waiting for me

in the hall next to the wall. When I went to him to pet his back, I noticed that he

had no sides either! Bite had only a front and a back with a flat tail! I ran to the

kitchen to find my mother who was also flat, cooking flat breakfast in the kitchen

while my flat father was reading the sports section of the newspaper. My family

acted like this was normal and nothing was wrong!

I quickly took Bite outside for a walk like I usually do before I leave for school.

It was a beautiful morning with the sun in the bright blue sky with white puffy

clouds. I walked Bite on his leash down the sidewalk and noticed that the houses

looked the same from the front, but there were no sides to the houses. You could see

the cars in the driveways, but only from the rear. There were no sides. The trees

were in the same places that they always were but they were flat. I hurried my walk

with Bite and returned home. I had a flat breakfast waiting for me. It was hard to

eat and I didn’t feel full. The hardest part about breakfast was drinking liquids.

They were in flat glasses and were hard to pour into your mouth. I grabbed my

backpack and ran to catch my bus. Everything weighed the same and things were still

hard to carry. I had a hard time seeing my bus because it was also flat. Everyone

acted like this was normal.

School looked the same except it was flat. There were no long halls anymore and it

didn’t seem crowded when you entered a classroom or hall. The gym seemed smaller and

unusual which make playing games very different, but no one seemed to notice.

Can you imagine playing flat basketball or flat volleyball? Everything else about

the day seemed normal: the computer, the English, and math assignments. It only

became odd when we went to science class. The science teacher discussed all of the

dimensions that are known to man so far. He acted like we had never experienced the

third dimension. School wasn’t out soon enough for me. I couldn’t wait to get home

and go to bed and wake up from this nightmare! I skipped dinner and didn’t do my

homework. For the first time since I was small, I was in a hurry to get to bed.Just

as I was falling asleep, the alarm went off and I woke up in my bed. It was six A.M.

A regular day in my regular world.

Everything was in 3D as usual. So was it all real or just a nightmare?