The bugs are here and I doubt I need to remind you. Bugs are as much a part of wine country as dogs, old trucks and Felco pruners. Bugs like ladybugs and bees can be good for the plants as they make things happen. Bugs are good for the eco system; I just don’t want them to be a part of my personal ecosystem. The big ones we can swat away or ambush them by attracting to that plastic yellow thingy that hangs from trees. The little bugs are another matter.

My least favorite bugs come in all sizes, so from smallest to largest, let me review my personal list that may ring a bell or buzz through your memories.

Ever gone to make oatmeal or prepare rice or bake some cookies and you ask, “Hey, who put the pepper in the flour?” Ah, those little black flecks are not pepper; it is a mysterious bug that can penetrate steel containers to ruin the dry goods. Not sure what they are called but they can be crunchy if not detected before steaming that rice.

The wine loving bug is another one of my least favorites. That is the bug that loves wine so much that it floats in your glass while having that romantic moment outside. Once the bug is in that glass holding that $100 cabernet, it is impossible to get out. Scooping it out with a spoon pushes the bug to the bottom. So, we continue to sip the wine hoping that it will show up somewhere on the side or bottom of the glass. Most wine loving bugs just disappear down the gullet. The not-so-distant cousin of the wine loving bug is the bug that gets in your eye whenever you hop on a bike.

The meat bee is in its own category of annoying. Who knew that bees liked meat? I thought that they liked flowers and were pollinators, not predators. A swarm of meat bees can ruin the nicest picnic, especially if accompanied by the little wine loving bug. There is no beating them. Once those meat bees find your picnic, just pack it in. You definitely do not want to eat a meat bee.

One bug made a spectacular appearance by flying directly into my wife’s ear in the middle of the night. To the bug, her ear must have looked like a delicate flower. Like a dive-bomber, it flew in and she could feel it flapping around inside her ear. The tiny moth-like bug was stuck in there and high drama ensued. A little flushing of the ear canal produced the culprit. Visions of Teddy Roosevelt on the Amazon with bugs killing people by getting into their bodies danced in our heads. That single bug is definitely my least favorite for the moment, until a wasp stings me.

Sometimes it is the little things from our creepy crawly friends that can make life special in wine country. It could be the spider web that feels like it was covered with super glue because it won’t let go. Or it could be a rose thorn in a suddenly swollen finger. A tick hidden in your sock is no fun. A bee sting can make a run to the emergency room necessary. The bugs are just doing what they were engineered to do.

Don’t let the bugs ruin a day. The same approach to humans should apply to the bugs of wine country. Just like our fellow humans, bugs come in all shapes and sizes and they come here for the lush landscape and the fine food and wine. We need bugs just like the humans; they are all part of a complicated eco system we call wine country.

Rich Moran spends his time in wine country marveling at nature.

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