The other day, I was coming into the house via the back deck and I saw something moving down in the corner by my feet. It was the biggest beetle I have ever seen outside of a zoo/aquarium!!! My first thought: get Will! I raced into the house as fast as I could and yelled for him to come. He very casually asked what I wanted. "Oh, nothing really. It's just that the biggest beetle in the world is now crawling around on our deck!" The minute he heard the words big and beetle put together, he put it into high gear and raced to the door. "Whoaaa!" was the only word that he managed to speak. For once, he was nearly speechless!
He scrambled to find his bug jar and we carefully (mind you, he had ginormous pinchers) put him in, using a pencil. All we could do is stare at him for what seemed like hours. Then, we had to share the incredible find with Emma and Jack. This was a brief sharing period because we HAD to get his book of 1000 insects to find out what kind of beetle this was. Will found it almost immediately - he was a STAG BEETLE. We learned that he liked to eat decaying wood. Perfect! We have lots of that in the woods surrounding our house. Will once again raced to the woods to find the perfect pile of decaying wood and then placed it in the jar with the nameless beetle.
Two days later, Will left for the "man trip" and was to be gone for 4 days. I was left with specific instructions to keep this new friend alive and was told exactly how to do so. Well, I am sure the outcome is obvious. That same night, after coming home from a day at the zoo, I found the beetle stiff and unmoving. He had been left on the deck rail to cook in the sun (the magnifying glass on the top of the bug jar didn't help, I am sure).
You might know, that night when Will called home, the first thing he asked about was his beetle. I hem hawed around about it and when he didn't specifically ask if he was alive, I was relieved. I did get the point blank question from Will as he was on his way home from the man trip and I had to give him a straight answer. I HATE giving bad news over the phone! His reaction was as expected. Luckily, he was so excited telling me about the trip and everything they had done by the time he got home, that the sadness of losing the beetle was forgotten. We are now on a mission to find the perfect box with a see-through lid to keep him in. Will is dying to show the beetle to his friends, Kyle and Hannah, who will truly appreciate him as much as Will did - even though he is now dead.