The small, light-colored beetles flitting across the sand on a stretch of south shore beach on Martha’s Vineyard had long crawled under the radar. But when Tim Simmons saw several such beetles on an August day in 1989, he started to celebrate.

Northeastern beach tiger beetles on Martha’s Vineyard have survived hurricanes and northeasters, parasitic moths and erosion. But there is yet another threat: tiger beetle collectors.

Magnolia trees would do well to befriend beetles but leave bees behind.

For a homeowner, especially one with a fondness for gardening and landscaping, winter is the season for making plans and thinking about the possibilities of the coming year. As you contemplate your yard this winter, here’s a question to ask yourself: “How much lawn do I really need?” Modern patterns of homebuilding and landscaping tend to make sod-grass lawn the default use for any available space.


tiger Beetle sand

These brilliant beetles are easy to spot and hard to forget.

Spots are the way to identify the six-spotted green tiger beetle, but don’t take the name too literally. The beautiful beetles defy the confines of their given name.

For instance, don’t waste time counting spots for an identity confirmation. The six-spotted green tiger beetle can have as few as zero or as many as 10 white spots on their hard, outer wings.

We are all fired up at Felix Neck!

And why shouldn’t we be? Summer staff is here, camp is going strong and we are getting ready for the big parade next week. But it isn’t just the kids and counselors who are animated.

Our fields are full of light and love in the form of bright beetles. I know exactly what Bishop Reginald Heber was experiencing when he observed, “Before, beside us, and above, the firefly lights his lamp of love.”