“Raining Beetles”

This week in the Patch has been alive with the rather flatulent sounding flying antics of these large bumbling beetles. Loads of them. The short journey to my garden shed has had me ducking, hopping, and occasionally screaming like a young girl as these beasts of burden try to desperately control their flight paths, occasionally dive bombing me like blundering wildebeests on the wing. When navigational and flying skills were handed out, these Figeater beetles (also known as the green fruit beetle or fig beetle)

Cotinis mutabilis

…apparently missed the entire meeting, they probably just got “turned around” and then distracted by a fig or peach tree on the way.  I witnessed one hit into my back porch with such velocity, I swear I could hear the wind get knocked out of it…it audibly wheezed, gathered itself, before going on it’s random way in a kind of stunned, sideways flying fashion…“I’m alright, I’m alright…meant to do that…doing okay now.”

They have turned up this week in plague-like proportions. Figeater beetles are oftenconfused with the green June beetle ,their appearance is quite similar, but the green June beetle is smaller and as the name suggests they are generally witnessed earlier on in the year.  To make identification even harder, the only possible geographical crossover of both species occurs right here in the state of Texas. It is a member of the scarab beetle family.


I rather like these blundering iridescent beetles, as do my kids who have been running around catching them in their butterfly net…and those legs and front pincer feet (top image, brr) are as formidable looking as this science fiction splitting datura seed pod…

I have a tray strategically situated under this “ready to hurl” spiny seed pod.  What an amazing sight, there must be hundreds of seeds here ready to go “Blah” on my decomposed granite pathway.  It is ridiculous that I now consult my wife…“do you think I have the tray positioned in the right place?’ We both look at the seed pod from various angles and position the tray accordingly…“left a bit, yes, right there”… until we agree.  I have already planted out a lot of these seeds in my hellstrip.

It is like we are playing one of those skill cranes at Dave and Busters!

“Aye, look at her, she is about tae have a core dump ESP, she’s gonna blow!”

“Ach, ah canna’ believe yer using Scotty’s fake Scottish accent and vulgarities, instead of mine now ESP!”

Poor William.

With the forecast of bad weather on the horizon I thought I should go ahead and get some plants in the ground for one of my clients. I pulled into a nursery, got a bunch of plants and as I approached my trusted steed to load up, I noticed that something was not as it should be…

I have no idea how or when this hole in my window appeared…as if my pick up wasn’t red-neck enough already.  It now looks completely ridiculous with dwarf miscanthus grasses poking out the side and a huge Buddah’s belly protruding five feet beyond my tailgate (asomewhat disheveled turban naturally completing the scene). What made the situation even worse was that every time I went over a bump…well exactly.

So how do I try to start to summarizewhat has happened this past week in central Texas?  We went from scorching dry conditions…

…to hurricane Hermine, and Hermine was not going to be satisfied until she had packed a punch with lots and lots and lots of rain. Oh, and did she deliver!

Some areas around Austin ended up at around the 8″ mark at the end of a night and day of sustained heavy rains. My pathways turned into running streams. I could hear the spirals of the hurricane hit my metal roof in waves whilst I was lying in my bed grinning like an insane Cheshire cat.

With every wave of rain my grin widened.

The noise of the storm brought with it the sound of tiny scampering feet (non-feline) followed by the inevitable late night, rather poltergeist sounding…

“Mommy it’s here!”

This midnight wandering is always followed by some predictable groaning…“No, no, no…Go back to bed, its late”…shortly before everyone immediately ends up in our bed…(the ESP / Walton’s ‘norm in a storm’ reaction)!

When this happens, my five year old daughter transforms immediately into a rugby union scrum-half, she proceeds to take full-advantage of her luxurious (I’m in my parents bed) position and for no apparent reason proceeds to repeatedly kick me in the kidneys until I am teetering on the edge of my side of the bed, bruised, battered and curled into a submissive fetal position. It does not matter how I react or try to anticipate her abusive nocturnal habits, over (subconscious) time, she always has me in a check mate position (the edge of the bed) by approximately 4am. (A number that is ironically comparable to the strategic chess / body moves it usually takes her to get me there).

She is a Russian Master!…Paige Nosleepnifcofv.

Naturally this is perfect timing on her part to totally ensure that I break all natural biorhythms, ensuring, once again, complete sleep deprivation. The ‘quacking-goose’ I-phone alarm goes off at precisely the moment that I fall back to sleep…6:00am – kindergarten…Ahhh.

Back to the Patch…

This little chap (I believe it is some type of squirrel treefrog) was enjoying all the wet weather in the bottom of this toy bucket.

My Celosia on the other hand had buckled over onto the  sidewalk in the soggy conditions. I placed a few large rocks at their bases to support them.  I am hoping they will regain their composure as we dry up a little.



The returning and reflected sun hit this gazing ball perfectly, illuminating the underside of the leaves of my Mexican lime tree that has made a pretty decent return after I cut it back to the ground after last winter’s freezes.

This Mexican Petunia immediately responded to having its large underground container filled up with the wet stuff.

I will leave you all to contemplate this rather mysterious scene from my garden…

It looks like a bunch of tiny red light bulbs devouring some paper wasps wings?


Inspirational image of the week:

The balconies of the “Cactus House” apartment building in Rotterdam were designed to maximize outdoor gardening space for tenants.  The splaying stack of slabs creates big terraces for gardening and the irregular shape allows sun to enter from multiple angles.

The cactus house reminds me of my pine cone cactus:

I have been meaning to do this for a while…

Stay Tuned  for:


All material © 2010 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant) 14th century planet Earth techniques.


  • Diana September 9, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Lots going on in the patch. But I’m most intrigued by you screaming like a girl! Could you do that for us, please?

  • Gail September 9, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Brilliant!! The “looks like” video…but strange.

  • ESP September 9, 2010, 6:37 pm

    Haha Diana and absolutely not :-)

  • ESP September 9, 2010, 6:41 pm

    Hi Gail…
    Strange as in “well that is odd” or strange as in…oh never mind, what do you mean strange? Perhaps you are referring to the score the ESP Neheughkian Quartet composed for the slideshow? It was one of their more ambient compositions I must admit.

  • Gail September 10, 2010, 6:48 am

    Strange as in “whimsical, wacky, wonderful, somewhat bizarre, but definitely not crack-brained”.

    I especially enjoyed the ESP Neheughkian Quartet’s compositions. Do you have CD’s? Will they be playing during the garden tours?

  • ESP September 10, 2010, 9:10 am

    Hi Gail.

    Whew…thank goodness!
    Yes the Quartet is getting a lot more experimental of late it seems. I have asked them to keep the October 16th date free…but you know how it is, they have a concert at the Sydney O/H next weekend! Amazing.


  • Annie in Austin September 10, 2010, 11:07 am

    I read part of this post yesterday, ESP but was interrupted before commenting. Today, when my son reported a weird green insect buzzing him near the garage, I impressed him by immediately remembering your green fig beetles. We’ve only seen one so far, but it was as beautiful as any scarab beetle pin in an art-jewelry catalogue.
    My garden survived a grand total of 12 inches of free water from Hermine- no real damage, just soggy ground and some washed away granite & mulch.

    Sorry about the car window!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  • ESP September 10, 2010, 12:54 pm

    Hi Annie.

    These beetles have been all over the patch…large numbers, I am now finding their corpses on the ground. Glad you impressed your son with your on the spot ID! They are like jewelery you are right…perhaps I will stick some pins through the corpse shells as ESP give-aways on the tour? Mmm, perhaps not.

    12 inches! That is crazy I tell you! Glad to hear you had little damage, the only thing here that uprooted were some of my larger Celosia plants as you can see, oh well…you will not hear me moaning about any rain.


  • Bob Pool September 10, 2010, 10:17 pm

    We really got the rain here at Draco, Philip. 14.7 inches. My gardens did OK, but we had one very serious tragedy, licking my lips at the thought of my loss. I posted pictures as well and they tell the tale of said tragedy, lick, lick.

    The comparison video was most excellent, a little creepy in places, but excellent. I would think there would be some commercial [payola] applications for it some where, it’s really that good.

    You want an Eryngo, you got an Eryngo. I found some small ones on a friends place and dug three of them up after the first rains. I think they all will make it but won’t get that big this year but will produce seeds as they all have multiple blooms. I will bring them and the stumps at the next G……, oh hell I can’t even type it. You know what I mean.

    Hi Bob.

    I just read about your tragedy…Bob! It was a pet…stop licking your chops, that just is not right!!! I also cannot believe you even had a catfish lurking in there…too funny! (Starts thinking about what other creatures are being harbored up there in Draco, perhaps in the large collection tanks…Brrr!) xfiles
    That is a crazy amount of rain…what was the river like?

    Thanks on the comparison video front, I suppose it is a little creepy in places :-)

    Most excellent on the Eryngo and stump front…thank you so much for this, it will be perfect timing for filling in some gaps before the you know what, you know when. I want to try the Eryngo next to purple heart for some serious purple clashing?
    Do you know if there is a G…G…G….G (you know what) at the end of this month?

    Thanks Bob

  • Les September 11, 2010, 6:01 am

    As I read the first few sentences, I kept saying to my self that that’s a June bug, that’s a June bug, so I am glad you clarified the two species. However, they look equally able to support a few feet of thread tied to a leg as a leash. I am glad you got rain, but that’s a lot in a short period of time; we could sure use it here.

  • ESP September 11, 2010, 10:39 am

    Hi Les.
    I almost posted the beetle as a green June bug…I went back and did another round of investigation and caught it just before I hit the “publish” button! The figeater beetles, being a little larger, would make getting the thread around the leg a little easier?
    Yes, a serious amount of rain…now back to sunshine and warm temperatures, the hurricane was a nice reprieve for a few days.

  • Laura September 11, 2010, 2:22 pm

    Your photo’s as always are outstanding! The hurricane one’s are especially mesmerizing. I’m glad everyone is alright. Was the hole in your window caused by the storm, or human intervention? It is amusing to see foliage sticking out of it. You know your a gardener when….

    My daughter would love your yard! What a time she’d have exploring it! Your kids must have tons of fun!

  • ESP September 11, 2010, 7:36 pm

    Hi Laura.


    Hurricane Hermine really dumped some well needed moisture over central Texas, tons of rain, a prolonged soaking…just what the doctor ordered.

    I have no idea what punched a whole in my steed’s window, but it will be out with my trusty duct tape tomorrow and some plastic bags to seal up the hole!

    My kids do have fun back there, I am always getting shouted at to take a picture of this and that, and they get another kick about seeing the same picture up on the blog a few hours later. My eldest pretends she is writing her own garden journal on her computer, before getting bored and logging on to her favorite site: “Pixie Hollow”!


  • Brianna September 14, 2010, 11:46 am

    Hi ESP,

    Thanks for IDing that beetle. We’ve seen loads of these too, and my own DH and son scream like a little girls about them, too. I thought they were Green June Beetles and posted as such:


    Now I can correct it. Thanks!

  • ESP September 14, 2010, 4:21 pm

    Hi Brianna.

    Yes I was about to make the same ID, caught it at the very last minute! We also had a lot of these beetles this year, all emerging from the ground en-mass like zombies…flying zombies…brrr. I had to physically slap one the other day to turn it in another direction (away from my head)…very “Shaun of the Dead” :-)
    I am glad that I am not the only one with the “scream”!



Leave a Comment