Got Bugs? Buff Orpington to the Rescue

Early this morning as I carried my cup of coffee out the door into our screened in porch, I was surprised to discover it was already occupied.  The screens were covered with an estimated two-hundred million newborn gnats.

Lawn gnats, to be specific.  I looked it up.  According to the article I read, the population of lawn gnats soars during hot (check) rainy (check) weather.   

There are estimated to be approximately 200,000,000 insects alive on earth at any one time.  Not total. 200,000,000 for each and every person living on planet earth. I am not sure how they coordinated such a large event, but my 200,000,000 all decided to get together and surprise me this morning.

The article I read provided an easy solution – eliminate damp vegetation and standing water sources.  That may be easy in an apartment.  We live on 45 acres of damp vegetation with a small lake in the middle.

Plan B?  The article continued “Missouri Botanical Garden experts recommend just living with small populations of fungus gnats (200,000,000 or less).  Though they may do the backstroke in your coffee, they are considered “beneficial insects.” That’s because they also pollinate plants and help with the decomposition process “which releases nutrients for the grass and other plants to absorb.”

My son’s family doesn’t have this problem. Earlier this year they invested in a “ Buff Orpington natural insect control” device. 

Six of them.

Their house now has an insect shortage.

The Buff Orpington chicks shortly after arriving in our neighborhood.

In March, they were baby chicks.  Now they are only one month away from turning insects into my breakfast.  They are fun to watch patrolling the yard and interacting with each other. Some people call watching their antics “Chicken TV”. They are goodnatured and very patient with kids. They follow my grandson as he walks or runs around the yard. He is currently trying to teach them to march. Don’t bet against it.

The chickens are voracious eaters.  Last week as I paused while walking in the driveway we share with our son & his family. I suddenly found myself surrounded by the Buff Orpington gang.  I thought it was cute and reached for my phone to take a pic. In the brief interlude as I started up my phone, one chick mistook a scab on my leg for an insect, pecked it off, and ate it quicker than I could yell YEE-OWWWWW-EEEE!

I would not recommend investing in chickens to people with freckled legs.

My 6-year-old grandson rushed out to save me. 

It was just an honest mistake

This six-year-old “Chickenmaster” has already decided he wants to be a farmer. He has developed very distinctive calls for both cows and chickens.  The chickens come running when they hear his shrill, prepubescent “CHICK, CHICK, CHICK!” He learned his cow call at his other grandpa’s farm. At our home it is primarily reserved for when a neighbor’s cow gets the wanderlust and ends up in our field.

Hup, Toop, Treep, Har! Get in step!

If farming falls through, his backup plan is to be a doctor.

Depending on what part of my anatomy the chickens mistake for dinner in the future, having medical personnel close by may prove very handy.

So far, only one member of our family is not excited about the showboatin’, insect eatin’ Orpington chicks.

Dog to self “I thought once the cat finally kicked the bucket the attention would be mine, all mine!”

Our dog will eat about anything. She specializes in eating things you intended for something else. Or things so disgusting nothing else would want them. I hopeful that she may begin competing with the chickens for insects around our house.

I wouldn’t mind seeing ticks (chicks love them), horseflies (so far chicks can’t catch them), and mosquitoes on the endangered species list in central Missouri.

Ogden Nash wrote “God, in His wisdom, made the fly – and then forgot to tell us why!”

I would like to update that with the 2021 Country Living Edition: “God, in His Wisdom, made the tick, as a tasty morsel for a healthy chick. He then created mosquitoes, gnats and flies, so we would get some exercise.”