Book of June: Insects, A Golden Guide

So, yeah, insects. They aren’t my thing. And yet . . . they are fascinating. I only know this because my eyes were opened when I took the Maine Master Naturalist course. And this year, we’ve added a new title to the course: Insects from the Golden Guide series.

i-2 books

Our students received the 2002 edition, which is on the right. I also have the 1966 edition. Notice the price–$1.00 marked down to $.84. The newer edition: $6.95.


Price is not the only change. Though some things have stayed the same, the presentation has been reformatted and updated.

One of my favorite differences–attitude.

In the 1966 edition, “the battle to control insects is a never-ending necessity.” The purpose of the book–to help identify those bothersome pests. Insecticides were highly recommended, though precaution mentioned.

Fast forward to 2002: The foreword ends with a statement encouraging all to use the guide as an aid to “recognize and appreciate” insects that are part of our daily world.


For someone like me, it’s a great jumping-off point. I have a key and I have Peterson’s Guide and I have used bug, but this little book (6″x4″) offers a quick, easy-to-read glance and sometimes that’s all I need.

It’s certainly insect season (she wrote as she swatted a mosquito) and I encourage you to take a closer look. Like everything in the natural world, once you open your eyes to something, you’ll be amazed at what you find.


As a kid, I always thought this was snake spit. Huh? Do snakes climb flower stalks? Do they spit?


No, but spittlebugs (page 41) whip up some slimy froth to cover their eggs in late summer and the nymphs cover themselves while feeding in the spring.


I’m not sure if I’m seeing the nymph in the bubble house, but what I did notice as I looked at various masses this morning is the pattern or Fibonacci sequence. Cool stuff.

Meet my other friends:

i-bee 4

Some do good works.


Others–not so good.

i-spider on daisy

I’m amazed by color


and camouflage,


short antennae


and long,


bulging eyes,


veined wings and


jointed legs.


Last year, I spent hours stalking the parents or relatives of this little one because the body structure amazed me so. I suspect I’ll do the same this year. Be forewarned.

Notice I didn’t ID any bugs–that’s for you to do if you choose. But even if you don’t, I do hope you’ll take a closer look.

And if you are looking for a great introductory guide, I highly recommend Golden Guides Insects. My copy was a gift, but I’m sure your local, independent book store (aka Bridgton Books–always like to give them a plug) can locate a copy for you.