Invasion of the crispy, brown demons

Crispy, brown demons are invading my yard, and for once it’s not part of my artwork.

If I figure out how to incorporate them, however, they soon shall be.

Perhaps invasion is too strong a word. There are about a half dozen of these crispy critters, which are apparently the exoskeletons of some type of demonic looking insect.

Demonic close up/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Demonic close up/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

What first caught my eye was how the exoskeleton is left behind still clinging in precarious places, like the thin plastic tube I used for the tail of a rock rat or the side of a concrete tree border.


Demonic side view/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

I am enthralled with these little demons and, although insects in general give me the heebie-jeebies, I have come to adore these and some other Tucson bugs:

Tarantula hawk wasp/File photo

Tarantula hawk wasp/File photo

The tarantula hawk wasp. These large black bugs with bright reddish-orange wings are about the size of hummingbirds. They appear menacing and evil. They are beautiful.

• Those giant mosquito-looking things that are not mosquitoes. They are easy to smash and don’t leave green innards behind.

Moths. They are easy to cup in the hand and take back outside, which gives you the feeling that you are a worthwhile, very saintly person and leads to a good night’s sleep.

Southern Arizona is also ideal because it lacks other insects we have come to abhor, like the cockroach.

Sure, Tucson may have those giant sewer bugs that folks call roaches. These can be seen swarming under lampposts and atop manhole covers.

But I shall never again have the roach invasion that hit when I lived above a Brooklyn pizzeria. Here the world “invasion” is not too strong a word.

The roaches bred like bunnies in the large sacks of pizza flour and then worked their way upstairs. One early morning they started plopping from the ceiling like plump, crunchy raindrops.

I’ll take the crispy, brown demons any day.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

What insects to you love to hate? Hate to love?

Have you ever been invaded? What happened?



About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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21 Responses to Invasion of the crispy, brown demons

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski. Insects are some fascinating creatures when you have the stomach to check ’em out closely. I wonder what your demon metamorphosized into? Tell me though, why in the enlightened age of equality between the sexes, is it that the guy usually has to dispatch the mangy critters in the house? 🙂 PS-Roaches are EVIL!

  2. Rynski says:

    Mornin, RadMax – It’s taken me years to be able to stomach bugs up close and personal. And then they have to be dead. I may try to make jewelry out of the little demons, will keep you posted (haha). Good point about the battle of the sexes for some reason not expanding to equal rights when it comes to killing critters. For some reason, that’s fine with me!

  3. azmouse says:

    My pool is full of potato bugs. Those things are like velcro. If they get in your wet hair while you swim, major pain in the butt.

  4. Rynski says:

    Mornin’ AZMouse – potato bugs have always been tolerable to me. they look like little volkswagons. but then again, i never got them in my hair! how do you get them out of the pool?

    • azmouse says:

      Hello Ryn=
      Once the pool filter starts up in the morning, the bugs all get sucked into the skimmer basket, and I can get em out that way. Unfortunately I’ve also had frogs, birds and snakes get caught in the whirlpool of the skimmer and they don’t survive.

  5. radmax says:

    Potato bugs…aren’t they also called rolly-pollys? Mornin’ az.

  6. radmax says:

    Rolley Polleys-It’s early…

  7. MarcyMom says:

    Sorry to disappoint you about your demonic possession. It looks like you found the molted exoskeleton of a cicada or other native beetle. However, you can never ignore the possibility of  body snatchers. I hate when Japanese beetles attack my weeping cherry tree and rose bush. I hand pick them and drown them in soapy water sincve I don’t like to use pesticides.

  8. Glenn Weyant says:

    hi ryn,

    yep they’re cicadas and before they begin filling the air with their drone they spend most of their life beneath the dirt eating roots and such.

    you can usually find them on the east side of trees.  they rise in the night, usually during monsoon when the moisture is right and the soil soft, and get their exoskeletons drying in the new day light…

    here’s a track from a spatt post (which is i).

    drone on.

  9. Rynski says:

    Hiya MarcyMom and Glenn,
    While I am quite saddened of the dashing of my demon theory, I look forward to enjoying the symphony up close! Thanks for the link, SPLATT – and is your blog called splatt because you kill bugs? hahah
    MarcyMom – you must be quite patient to handpick Japanese beetles from the trees and bushes. And I’m still trying to figure out if drowning them in soapy water makes their death more humane. Do you use scented soap?

    • MarcyMom says:

      Not using pesticided is more humane for all of the birds I welcome into my garden. I found plain water didn’t do the trick. The beetles just swam around for days doing the “crawl.” At least they had a clean death!

  10. Glenn Weyant says:

    — Thanks for the link, SPLATT – and is your blog called splatt because you kill bugs? hahah

     actually i like bugs quite a bit.  

    although during my burroughs period i did consider becoming an exterminator.

    i’ll have to post a recording of my daughter’s madagascar hissing cokroaches at some point.

    the name splat involves booze, henri cartier-bresson photos and a guy with a chipped tooth on long island. 

    it’s too convoluted for this hour of the day…

  11. A.Farley says:

    The worst insect is the Walapai Tiger and if I ever need a reason for suicide, this bug would be on my list. Other names are “the cone-nosed bloodsucker” and the cute moniker “The Kissing Bug”. but don’t let the name fool you, these bugs are terrible and they are 100% evil.

  12. Tami says:

    When I first saw the title of the article, I thought it was going to be something about cookies–after all, they are crispy, brown demons too 😉
    Getting back to bugs, when I first moved here I saw this HUGE black bumblebee thing flying outside one day. It kept dive-bombing me and it freaked me out!! I called my aunt who had been living here for years and she said “Oh, that’s just a carpenter bee! They don’t hurt ya, they’re just annoying”.
    Haven’t really seen any of your crispy, brown demon friends, but their living counterparts sure are noisy!
    Another funny story-the other night I was at work and heard a noise that sounded like ducks quacking. I kept thinking ‘where the heck are there ducks?’. I finally realized it was FROGS in the wash, croaking after the heavy rains the night before! I’ve been here 11 years and it’s the first time I have heard them croaking so loud!!

  13. Krin says:

    They ARE the exoskeleton of a cicada.  I remember as a kid that my brothers would try to scare me with either the exoskeleton or the REAL cicada (which reminded me of a really big fly!).  As I grew up, the cicada became a reminder that summer was here, especially the loud sound they made which seemed to never end!

  14. azmouse says:

    I hate those huge, scary palo verde beetles. They look like they could snap off a finger.

    • bjay100 says:

      Ooooo.  I hate those guys too.  They look like aliens.  The ones in my yard chase me across the yard and into the house, and then they taunt me from outside the sliding glass door (along with their crazy praying mantis buddies who don’t realize they aren’t 8 ft tall).  I tried to instill a healthy fear of them in my 8-year-old son.  Didn’t work.  He LOVES them and seeks them out for closer looks.  In the meantime, I just wait.  One of these days one of them will fly into his face and then he’ll share my paranoia, haha.

  15. Miguel says:

    all bugs are bad, except for spiders

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