This beautiful country home, located in the lower foothills, stands almost alone on an oak woodland, cattle country mega-ranchland estate.
Weed bugs (Arhyssus crassus) and house flies have been drawn to the attic of this house, apparently since it was built. The bugs would fly up into upper areas of the house, and enter the attic, in autumn, in order to over-winter. And it worked well, as attics are warm, and the house had good sun exposure, even in winter.
Come spring, the previously dormant insects would become active and attempt to leave. I am sure many managed it, but not all, as you can see. The large windows in the attic appear to have caused confusion for the weed bugs and house flies when it became time to leave. The windows allowed a lot of light into the attic, and the bugs, would fly and crawl to the predominate light sources. only to find glass there. Like bugs at a window, wanting to fly out, they could not, and they perished there, year after year.
Thousands of their dead and dried up bodies accumulated in piles at the base of the windows. Others simply perished and fell to the attic floor boards, scattered about. The piles were the largest, by far, at the bases of the windows.
Below are photos showing the attic windows, microscopic images of the weed bugs and house flies, and photos from within the attic.
An account in Copperopolis has some smallish trees in the back yard.
Maple (that appears to be dead)
The Fuji apple has sapsucker damage. But what might be causing the gaps at the branching off points?
The maple appears to have started to bud, and then died.
The black on the trunk is the result of excessive spraying she did to control borers, which is what she thought was the issue.
I saw these two western fence lizards in front of one of the offices (I see them all the time there), and one was sitting on its haunches, a position I’d not seen one take before. It gives the lizard a higher point of view to look for bugs to eat. I was lucky to get these pictures.
28 September 2020, near main office in Sonora, California.
Andrew Springer collected this moth in an office building in Wallace, Calaveras County, California.
I sent some images to Dr. Lynn Kimsey of the UC Bohart Museum of Entomology. She passed the images along to a couple of her lepidoptera experts, including Jeff Smith, the Curator of Lepidoptera.
Both experts agree that it is likely Agriphila attenuatus with the palpi broken off. These moths are flying now. “The coastal examples of this moth have whitish fore wings generously peppered with dark brown scales except for a longitudinal band slightly anteriad of the center of the fore wings that is nearly devoid of the dark brown scales. Specimens from around here are pale yellowish tan like the one in the photos and peppered with a very few to a moderate amount of light brown scales. The flight period is short: from about the last week of Sept. to third week of Oct. with most specimens (in Davis) collected during the first two weeks of Oct.”