by Sandie Lee -
“Come my little ones,” Mom said. “It’s a beautiful day. It’s time to play.”
Mom stink bug poked her head out from under the old fallen tree. The sunshine was bright and warm. The perfect day.
“Where are my slug-a-bugs?” Mom called. “I’m not waiting all day.”
The ground seemed to ripple as not one, two, or even three, but twenty-four tiny nymphs scurried towards her.
“I want to go to the big grey rock,” shouted one. “I want to play by the stream,” added another.
Mom stink bug gently swished her antennas in the air to get her nymphs attention. As they quieted, Mom quickly did a count to be sure everyone was there.
“Now, do we remember the rules?” she chimed.
They all spoke as one, “stay where I can see you and watch out for flying wasps.”
Mom stink bug smiled. “Very good,” she chuckled.
The ground crackled as she led the way out from under the fallen log. The baby bugs were very excited. They jumped, tumbled, and did little flutter-flips as they tested out their newly sprouting wings. Mom settled back on a soft bent leaf and watched the busyness. But she couldn’t get comfortable. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t the leaf—it was in a perfect arch.
Suddenly, a dark shadow fell over Mom’s face. Her glance shot toward the sky, and what she saw froze her in place.
It was a villainous wasp. She heard the buzz-saw like pulses of its slim wings growing closer.
“Quickly little-ones!” Mom yelled. She frantically waved her antennas back and forth. Her nymphs responded and scurried as fast as their tiny legs would carry them. Mom counted each nymph as they scooted to safety under her triangular body.
The eager wasp hovered even closer.
Mom panicked. Where was Bessy? She looked about and caught sight of her nymph snoozing.
The wasp also saw Bessy. Zzzzzz zzzzz zzzzz its wings sliced through the air as it flew toward the nymph.
Mom knew she had to act fast. “Hey, over here,” she shouted. But the wasp didn’t care and lunged straight toward Bessy.
“Stay close little ones,” Mom demanded. She then steadied her tough, shield-like back and frantically buzzed her wings at the flying villain.
The wasp ignored her once again, landing just out of her reach. Then it stalked toward Bessy bug.
Mom kicked out her middle and back legs in another attempt to scare it away.
It worked. The wasp took to the air, darting back and forth.
“Bessy! Bessy!” Mom hollered...