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Summer Educational Opportunities


Me: What kind of bug?


*I go into the kitchen, and there he is, floating around the trash can*

Me: Oh Maisy Jane! This is a WONDERFUL Bug! SAM SAM SAM! COME QUICK!

*Sam tears his face away from some screen or other and appears.*

Sam: UGH!

Me: Do not UGH! This is such a FANTASTIC BUG to have. Grab me that Tupperware so we can capture him and put him safely outside. Do you know what kind of bug this is?

*Sam hands me the Tupperware. Now both kids are looking at the bug with friendly interest.*

Me: *overly dramatic* Kids, this is the MAJESTIC MOSQUITO HAWK, backyard super hero and friend to all. We LOVE him.

*The kids are now smiling at the bug with favor*

Me: To see him in our kitchen is like a rainbow flavored promise of less itchiness and summertime delight! Can you guess wha—

*A flash of hairy yellow evil parts the air, sailing between us, and SNAP! Boggart snatches the mosquito hawk out of the air in one fell bite, lands lightly, and saunters off.

*a blinking pause*

Me: Never mind.

Insult to injury? Later, feeling thwarted, I went to look him up on the internet so I could show the kids the Majestic Mosquito Hawk and expound upon his goodness and mosquito eating mercy with a less tragic end. I learned HE DOES NOT EVEN EAT MOSQUITOS. He doesn’t eat ANYTHING. He has no digestive system.


16 comments to Summer Educational Opportunities

  • We called these mosquito eaters when I was growing up. But I grew up in Arkansas and have discovered that we generally say weird things there. I’m disappointed to know that they don’t, in fact, eat mosquitos. I guess they’re okay to smoosh now?

  • Brigitte

    Gee, I just called them crane flies. It sounds so boring, now . .

  • Researching them, I foudn out they are ALSO called


    Now I feel like mosquito hawk is boring!

    I am calling Boggart goodgollymissmollywhopper now, because he ate one of THEM

  • DebR

    Hhhhmmm….so Boggart may be evil, but perhaps he Knows Things!

  • Em

    Geezaloo! In the north, we call those birds!! I thought you were making all of that up for the sake of your kids and I was so impressed with your motherly calming of the situation with an optimistic story about some horrid kitchen bug. I suppose it is greater that it is true but only wish the heroine was not a birdbug that comes inside.

  • I loves Boggart. He is such a cat.

  • Katie

    I’m smooshing them now. That stinks. They scare the jeebers outta me, and I only tolerate them since they were supposed to eat mosquitos.

  • gillian

    p’raps the move to Decatur has caused Goodgollymissmollywhopper-Boggart to have become a protector-of-his-family-Boggart?
    p’raps all the evil has been left behind?
    we can only hope and pray
    since he was smart enough to know that you should not judge a bug by his misleading name ( ????)

  • I need to take mothering lessons from you. You bug-charmed your children! Me, I’d just be pointing and screaming and demanding my son remove it from the house. Because all six of my cats are too lame for even bug-eating.

  • Whaaaaaat?! They don’t eat mosquitoes? I didn’t even put them outside. I let them fly around the house- because they were going to eat mosquitoes. Ugh. I need to go now.

  • I just want to follow up that when I looked this up to be sure (not that I doubted you or anything but you do live in Georgia) dragon flies are also called mosquito hawks? I never in my life called a dragon fly a mosquito hawk. But dragon flies DO eat mosquitoes.

    This is like Pluto losing its planet status.

  • Oh, the range of emotion this blog brought me through!

    Vindication for I have always been looked on with scorn and doubt for calling these creatures Mosquito Hawks.

    Guilt for declaring to all my friends that they are in fact Mosquito Hawks, not just merely crane flies, and declaring that we should not swat them, smash them, or otherwise kill them for they are our friends and prey on most evil mosquitoes.

    Disillusionment for being led astray all these years… Not even a digestive system?? On the other hand, that explains those long slender legs.. maybe they have something going there….

  • Jill W.

    SO calling them golly whoppers from now on. Very dissapointed that they do not eat mosquitoes.

    P.S. I am reading Shine Shine Shine and feeling like I am in the mirror hall of a fun house (in a good way). I keep bumping into things but it is very interesting and compelling and I am enjoying finding my way through it.:)

  • Jennifer K.

    Even though the internet says they don’t eat mosquitos, I am not convinced. Reasoning: I lived in Atlanta for 13 years. There were many mosquitos. There were many mosquito hawks. Now I live in the southwest. There are no mosquitos. There are no mosquito hawks. Obviously, the mosquito hawks can’t survive out here without their favorite prey.

    We have different big bugs out here. No cave crickets, but good-sized, ebony-colored crickets, some variation on palmetto bugs, and something that looks like a cross between a palmetto bug and a centipede. I have ascertained that this thing really only has the six legs, but I think it must walk on only two at a time while waving the other four around like jazz hands to make itself seem extra hairy-leggy. Yick.

  • Scottsdale Girl


  • MAYBE this is part of Southern lore. . .MAYBE long ago, our southern for-bearers decided to tell us that these MONSTROUSLY large bugs (’cause they are BIG) did something we really WANTED and NEEDED them to do in the summertime. Everyone KNOWS that dusk is THE best time to play in the south–the sun is DOWN, the lightning bugs are OUT, and there is a magical breeze. . .alas, our dusk fun is thwarted by skeeters. . .so when these big ‘ole mosquito hawks would come dancing around the porch light and flop against our faces and bare legs–it kept us from squealing so much to think that their purpose was so noble.