The weather in Portland has been very Spring-like over the last several weeks, but sure enough the winter weather has swept back through with one final blow. Snow, hail, and near-freezing temperatures decided to take another run through town and looks like they will hang around for a few more days. What I call “Portland’s false Spring” has come to an end. Eventually the temperature will warm up, but those gloriously sunny days might be replaced with rain for quite awhile.

That said, it’s still time to keep with the seed starting operation on my record player. The bad weather outside is a good excuse to work on this inside project. I moved the broccoli and chives outside recently, so there is room to add the next round of seedlings inside. As I sat down to organize my seeds and make some space-related choices on what to grow inside vs. what to direct sow outside later, I let out a short, yet highly-audible, squeal. Yes, I screamed like a little girl. Ahem.

What was so frightening, you ask? Pathetically, I was screaming in reaction to some small bugs. Or what I call “creepy-crawlies”. I know I work in the dirt. I know I see bugs of all sorts around me outside all the time. And most bugs I am generally okay with, even interested in. But ones that fall into the “creepy-crawly” category are darty bugs like earwigs (plus the name makes me think they are going to dart into my ears…) and unexpected bugs. This was a case of unexpected bugs.

I was calmly sorting my seeds when it hit me very suddenly: there were about ten of the same small bug methodically crawling over my seed packets, one of which I was holding. So I screamed, jumped back, and ran into the room Jay was writing in to explain the whole situation. We came back together and noticed there were probably twenty bugs just climbing around the bag I kept all my seeds in. Like a trooper, Jay picked up everything and went outside on the front porch to sort them for me. Seriously, could he be more perfect? I think not.

It took him about 30 minutes all together, with me peering through the front door. You can see the grow light reflection on the window, since that’s as close I wanted to be. The source of the bugs seemed to be the snap and snow peas I saved from my plants last year. It was beetle-like, mostly black, with some white dots on it. Jay went through each packet one by one and threw out what they had gotten into: the saved peas from last year and an older packet of peas.

I assume it’s okay to still plant my other seeds? Did I do something wrong when I saved my pea seeds? Although they got into an old pea seed packet, it was obvious they started in my saved seeds because there was just an infestation (trying not to gag as I type that). I am not sure what I did wrong… Any ideas? And what the hell was that damn bug? I found a picture of a flea beetle (pictured at the top), which looks similar in size and shape, but ours had little white spots.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson