Big Bug In My Garden

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adult-hellgrammite dobson fly larva Dobsonfly both male and female dobsonflies have sharp mandibles, those of an adult male dobsonfly are actually so big, up to 1 inch (25 mm) that they are unable to harm humans, as they have such poor leverage that they are incapable of breaking the skin. Their mandibles are used exclusively during mating, where males show them off and grasp the females during copulation. Female dobsonflies, however, retain the short, powerful pincers they had as larvae, so they can inflict painful bites, which can draw blood. Notwithstanding the males’ inability to inflict harm, when threatened both sexes will raise their heads and spread their jaws menacingly. They are not venomous, but possess an irritating, foul-smelling anal spray as a last ditch defense. I’m not going to test this statement out that they can’t harm humans!

Dobsonflies spend most of their life in the larval stage, during which they are called hellgrammites, aka “go-devils” or “crawlerbottoms”. Hellgrammites live under rocks at the bottoms of lakes, streams and rivers, and prey on other insect larvae with the short sharp pincers on their heads, with which they can also inflict painful bites on humans. The larvae reach to 2″ to 3″ in length.

After saying for the past 6 months that I was going to enlarge my chicken coop run. I did at last wait until the temperature was 107 degrees, dug 3 post holes for corner post and drove in 9 T-post. I locked the hens into the hen house, took down the old 4 foot tall coop run fence and strung a new 5 foot tall fence. Made from 2X4 welded wire fence that I got from my local feed store. The new run is 11 time as large in square feet as the old run (80 square feet run is now a 900 square foot run). Me and my laying hens are a lot happier now.

This morning I have been watching my hens scratching and eating a lot of weed and grass seed and from time to time getting into a foot race to see how could catch a grasshopper or other odd insect. It’s a lot more entertaining that watching daytime TV.

My next major improvement is to pour a 2 inch thick concrete floor inside my hen house to cut down on the mouse and rat population as well as to prevent critters like skunks from digging into my hen house for an easy free chicken meal. Having a concrete floor will also make it much easier to disinfect and to remove old litter from my hen house.

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3 responses to “Big Bug In My Garden

  1. Those bugs do not look pleasant! I would agree that watching your chickens must be much more fun than tv 🙂


  2. I wouldn’t want to test those dobsonflies out either. Yikes! I think they use those for fish bait here? I’d be afraid to handle them. And happy hens! Sounds like your hard work has paid off for them! So nice. 🙂


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