THE HISTORY OF INSECTS
There are different kinds of the locust; those we are acquainted with, in this country, are represented in the above cut. In some seasons, they are scarcely heard at all; in others, they are more numerous. About the middle or latter part of summer, we hear them among the leaves of the trees: their notes, which are continued about the space of one minute, are loud at the beginning and grow lower and lower...
Of butterflies there are many kinds. How wonderful the various changes of this class of insects! The butterflies lay their eggs: from these hatch out worms or caterpillars, which change their skins several times, and, finally, become aureliae, chrysalis, or silkworms, out of which come the beautiful butterflies.
This is one of the largest of the insect tribe. It is met with in different countries, and of various sizes, from two or three inches to nearly a foot in length: it somewhat resembles a lobster, and casts its skin, as the lobster does its shell.
These little animals have been for ages considered as patterns of industry: they were specially noticed by the wise king Solomon. He says, “go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise.” The ant lays eggs in the manner of common flies; from these eggs are hatched small maggots, or worms without legs; these, after a short time, change into large white aureliae, or hrysalis, which are usually called ant’s eggs. When a nest of these creatures is disturbed, however great their own danger, the care they take of their offspring is remarkable: each takes in its foreceps, a young one, often larger than itself and carries it off.
In the time of the children of Israel, scorpions were a plague in Egypt and Canaan, as appears by the sacred writings. See Deuteronomy, viii. 15, and other passages.
There are many species of mites, beside the itch animal and mite above: to the naked eye, they appear like moving particles of dust: but the microscope discovers them to be perfect animals, having as regular a figure, and performing all the functions of life as perfectly as creatures that exceed them many times in bulk: their eggs are so small that a regular computation shews that 90 millions of them are not so large as a common Pigeon’s egg.
When examined by a microscope, the flea is a pleasant object. The body is curiously adorned with a suit of polished armour, neatly jointed, and beset with a great number of sharp pins almost like the quills of a porcupine: it has a small head, large eyes, two horns, or feelers, which proceed from the head, and four long legs from the breast; they are very hairy and long, and have several joints, which fold as it were one within another.
In every hive of bees, there are three kinds; the queen, the drones, and the labourers: of these last, there are by far the greatest number: and as cold weather approaches, they drive from the hives and destroy the drones, that have not laboured in summer, and will not let them eat in winter. If bees are examined through a glass hive, all appears at first like confusion: but, on a more careful inspection, every animal is found regularly employed. It is very delightful, when the maple and other trees are in bloom, or the clover in the meadows, to be abroad and hear their busy hum.
There are two classes of crickets: viz. the field cricket, and the house cricket; the latter inhabits warm places, the holes of the hearth, &c. from whence we hear its notes, which are agreeable: it is said, that they are purchased by some, and kept in a kind of cage, for the sake of their music. Field crickets inhabit the meadows, and subsist on roots, &c. as does another species, called the mole cricket.
...till they cease; when they immediately fly to another tree, begin again, and end in the same way, and so on.
There are different kinds of the locust; those we are acquainted with, in this country, are represented in the above cut. In some seasons, they are scarcely heard at all;
Grasshoppers are too common to need description, as they abound almost wherever there is green grass. One summer only is their period of life; they are hatched in the spring, and die in the fall; previous to which, they deposit their eggs in the earth, which the genial warmth of the next season brings to life. They are food for many of the feathered race.
The Deathwatch, of which there are two kinds, is an insect famous for a ticking noise, like a watch, which superstitious people take for a presage of death, in the family where it is heard.