Birds do it; Bees do it.

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JULY 24, 2008

I had to call my friend Eric Hynes, the staff naturalist at Maine Audubon, to find out what kind of insects I found doing “the wild thing” on my wild rose bushes. I learned they are Japanese beetles, an invasive species in the U.S. While they’re not very destructive in Japan, here they can be a serious pest to rose bushes, grapes, crape myrtles, and other shrubs. These beetles damage plants by eating the surface material, leaving the veins in place, producing a transparent leaf effect. I should, I suppose, try to eliminate them from my yard, but I’m transfixed by their iridescent beauty, and I feel a kinship with them, for I, too, am “from away” — that’s a Mainer’s designation for anyone who wasn’t born in the state. So for now, I’ll leave them to pursue their mating ritual and to feast on the greenery.

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