Here on the midwestern prairie we have an abundance of many things, insects among them. Some, like bees, are beneficial, some are bothersome (who has any real use for biting flies?) or worse (West Nile anyone? - thanks, mosquitos). And some are just... there.
At least from a human perspective, some bugs are ubiquitous but harmless in a way that just allows them to disappear into the scenery. Or they do until they don’t any more.
This time of year out here we start to get a showing of these little green bugs that I’m sure I must have seen before and just not noticed. But when I started riding my recumbent trike around the countryside I became much more aware of them because they like to mooch rides:
I’ve been riding around the countryside for over a decade, but I only noticed these guys the past couple of years. The noticing seems to accompany the transition to the recumbent trike, and I suspect it’s lower profile riding position is simply bringing me down to a level that makes me a more likely landing spot. In the late summer, depending upon the ride, I can pick up anywhere from one to a half-dozen of these guys across the course of the trip and, once they’ve hopped on they seem content to stay for the entire ride. Or so it appears - I don’t want to seem bug-normative - maybe it’s multiple different little green bugs switching on and off during the ride.
It’s a small event, but like so many things, once you become aware of something you start to see them everywhere. Start considering buying a particular type of car you’ve never really thought about before? Bam - they are now on every highway and in every parking lot you frequent.
And so it is with these little green guys, in particular in the patch of false sunflowers and goldenrod out by our barn.
I love this area of the yard in late summer. The false sunflowers are an amazing plant in and of themselves - you see them in ditches and off the side of the highway, but you can’t fully appreciate how unbelievably tall they are until you stand right beside them. It’s then that I realize just how initially intimidating the prairie must have been to early settlers - thick swaths of grasses and flowers standing taller than a man.
I’ll wander out there at different times of day to watch the bees moving back and forth between flowers, hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of a Preying Mantis. But as I’ve been picking up my cycling companions the past couple of years I came to realize that they are here in abundance as well:
Using the tool at insectidentification.org suggests that these little guys are Pale Green Weevils.
I say "suggests", because much of the online information on the Pale Green Weevil is limited. I suspect that this is because they are small, and fall into that category I described before: just... there.
They feed on the leaves of some species of trees, but apparently don’t do any real damage - they don’t lace the leaves the way a Japanese Beetle will, for example - and, thus, aren’t of any great concern.
I am also using the word "suggests", because the information I’m finding indicates that they are actively feeding in early summer, and I’m seeing them in late August and early September, rolling towards the end of the season. And I’m finding them on false sunflowers and myself, neither of which are mentioned in the habitat and feeding choices of these little dudes. It’s entirely possible that they are something else.
In any case, they are here, keeping me company on the country roadsides as I trundle around. They don’t add much to the conversation, but they aren’t heavy either, so I’m fine to have them along for the ride.