I thought – super cool insect discovery! Weird weird! These little grey lumps – clearly insects, that shrink away from being poked, all grouped up on a branch, with abundant hairy frosting all over them with a kind of fungus texture.
Different! Never seen anything like it.
That’s because it’s a dire invasive species recently arrived in Nova Scotia and destroying hemlock stands.
Just great. Another invasive species.
This little clump was about 8′ from our door, and also, it was on a small alder. If it’s happy on alder, then it will have no shortage of hosts.
I hardly knew what I was seeing at first, but it was an insect of unknown type wrapped in a thick parka of small pink spider-like attack insects.
She fell into a piece of flashing I was using, and even with this load of hitchhikers, she was walking around and desperately trying to scrape the offenders off her head with her forelegs.
A bad day for this insect.
I tried to interfere. I dropped it in some water, imagining that the small attackers would release their prey under the greater threat.
No. It just made the situation worse for the beetle, who was now swimming for her already beseiged life. The attackers were totally unperturbed.
I tried scraping them off with my finger, and got enough off to briefly see it was an orange and black beetle, a kind I see all the time.
The scraped off bugs just surged back with the speed of ball bearings rolling toward a magnet. They were unstoppable. And fast.
I let her go in some grass and she was last seen apparently trying to bury herself.