Friday, May 23, 2008

doodle bug, doodle bug, you're house is on fire!

when i was little, we used to go under the shed with a pine needle (or small stick) and try to rustle up the doodle bugs. we'd stir into their hole and chant "doodle bug doodle bug, your house is on fire" over and over until the doodle bug came out (usually because we stirred him out, not because he was climbing out). when they were stirred out, they usually looked dead, as they would be flat on their back. we'd put them in our tiny little hands and in a few seconds, it would flip over and start walking (backwards) in our hand.

i was just reading about doodle bugs (random, huh?). i learned two things.

#1 the doodlebug that lives in the hole, that is just the larvae. apparently when the larvae is ready to molt into the adult stage, it goes into a "sleep" for about 3 weeks in the hole, and when it is done, it climbs out and onto a stick or grass and flies away! here is the adult:

#2 they DO bite. and when they bite, the inject a little bit of poison that makes it burn for several minutes. i've never been bitten, though. maybe that was luck. maybe i was just a doodle bug whisperer.

was being the key word there. once i decided to keep a doodle bug as a pet. cool pet, huh? well, all was great, it lived in a jar half-full of sand. i think there may have been a stick in there or something, but i used to feed it the aphids off of mom's rose plants. i guess ants were too hard to find (since a doodle bug is also called an antlion).

well mom saw all those aphids on her rose! guess what happened to my doodle bug after eating aphids that had been sprayed with pesticides...

i buried him in the front yard. even decorated a rock for his tombstone. i bet it is still out there!


  1. I have never heard of a doodle bug. I bet Lucy would love the flying adult, though! She loves to chase flying bugs and try to catch them so she can eat them.


    Now is the season to find half eaten crickets and grasshoppers all over the patio!

    Them, and frogs, of course.

  2. I found the rock not long ago! We do have quite a graveyard in our yard know, that bug was probably just asleep, not dead!

  3. When the Fairel family lived here we went outside and Grace (surprise, surprise!) was the one most interested in doodle bugs. We sang the song....doodle bug, doodle bug, your house is on fire, doodle bug doodle bug your house is on fire, and doodle bug doodle bug your coffee is boiling over, etc. and she would usually stir up a doodle bug. Then she would (and here is the surprise) pick it up and carry it around for a while. If she didn't drop it in the sand, she would bring it back to the little sand depression and put it back in. Now we know that Grace is not the bravest one when it comes to picking up insicts, kind of like her mama, but she loved the little doodle bugs doodling in her hand! She was so cute picking it up. And so careful taking care of it! But Faith will pick up a worm with no hesitation! I've only seen Joshua stomp spiders and ants so I'm not sure if he cares for insects yet. I can't wait for him to bring something in in his pocket for his mama to identify!

  4. Ummm... yeah. I learned a lot about lionants (the correct term here) the summer we lived in NC. Grace wanted to know all about doodle bugs -- that is when my collection of Audubon Books started! I have pictures of Grace holding her prized doodle bugs.

    Faith and Josh have both held them since then... :-)

    I think the reason they didn't bite our palms is that they can't get a good grip on that skin. Palms are pretty sweaty and wet in comparison to other skin, if you think about it.

  5. Well let me tell you my theory. When I was in third grade and " I'm 56 now'" this boy Kenny Anderson showed me a little vortex in the fine sand that you find here and there in Georgia. He took his finger and went in a circle in the little sand trap saying a little rhyme. Doodle bug Doodle bug your house on fire doodle bud doodle bug your house on fire then he would blow into the the sand vortex. He would repeat this sequence until the doodle bug came out. Here i s my point. When I became a adult I tried to get one out of it's home ie sand trap for ants. I felt silly about saying the rhyme even though no one but me and god were there. Well no doodle bug. Long story short when I finally got over my adult hangups and did it correct with the rhyme included out came the doodle bug. Now since I have theories and philosophies I will say that everything in this would is a combo deal. It never can be narrowed down to just one factor. The theory is the sound vibration of your voice is a key part of the proper end result Tom Gripes



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