First there was Rosie the Riveter
Then June Clever, the Beaver’s mom
Mustn’t forget Lady Bird Johnson
All famous wives and devoted mothers
But surely none can compare
With Alice the Aphid
Alice started out as an egg that was laid by her mother last fall. As an egg she wintered over on a leaf of a rose bush in suburban Milwaukie. It got very cold at one time during the winter and many of the eggs containing Alice’s sisters were killed, but fortunately Alice survived the big freeze.
The warm weather of early spring convinced Alice to wake up and break out of her egg and start living the good life. Unfortunately, the good life was not to be had in her neighborhood, so Alice grew wings and flew off to find better living conditions. Alice wasn’t much of a flyer, but she did manage to get way up above the trees and into a south blowing breeze. It took her a long time to float back down, but when she did she spotted a quiet neighborhood with lots of her favorite food: Rose bushes! And she was lucky enough to land right on top of a particularly good one.
Knowing she had only a short time to live, 30 to 40 days at most, she got right down to work starting a family; giving birth to as many as 12 live daughters in one day. Being the wonderful mother that she was, she instilled a strong familial tradition in all her daughters, who, after molting 4 times in 10 days started families of their own.
All was going well with Alice and her family until an unimaginably huge giant mashed Alice and many of her daughters and granddaughters in his log-like fingers. Fortunately, the giant missed a large number of Alice’s, by that time almost uncountable, family members. But then, in early summer, wasps, ladybugs, flies, lacewings, and other insects attacked. Carnage ensued.
Now it’s late summer and the surviving members of Alice’s family start to sense the cool weather and short days of fall. Knowing what’s coming, Alice’s daughters start to produce male aphids to… well, you know. Enough eggs are laid in protected areas all over the gardens and yards of the neighborhood that some are sure to make it through the coming winter.
Alice the aphid may be long gone but her family will live on for years to come.