Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Scorpions, ants, ticks and more

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on September 3, 2008

OK, I’m ready for the hot summer to go away. The past couple of days here in Texas the weather is (still) near one hundred degrees and even the bugs are getting meaner.

My son woke me up at about 4AM today to tell me he had been stung by a scorpion. [mega OUCH!] Fortunately, it wasn’t a very venomous one and he’s back asleep now, but it still was cause for concern and a bit of pain. I treated the sting and dosed him up with an antihistime and ibuprofin, then applied a topical itch med and ice. Then, I caught the stupid scorpion and looked him up on the internet to make sure it wasn’t one of the more dangerous kinds. It’s not – it’s the common Stripe Tail found all over Texas, a young adult male from the looks of him. Still, I’ll have to watch over him (my son) for awhile and make sure he doesn’t show any allergic reactions.

Now yesterday and the day before, I was bitten by a tick and half a dozen fire ants. So I’m treating those as well. But Sheesh! The collection of biters and stingers on my counter is growing. Two ticks (dead now) and a really angry scorpion. The ants I don’t bother with. But the ticks (common dog ticks) I keep around for awhile in case I develop some weird symptoms that may be indications of Spotted Tick Fever or Lyme’s disease and the scorpion in case I have to take my son to the doctor for an anti-venom treatment in the event of an allergic reaction.

I have to say I’m sure the hot, droughty weather is contributing to the upswing on bug (or arachnid) activity. Scorpions are coming in to escape the heat and the ticks are new to my yard. I’ve pulled ticks off the dogs, my husband [sans bite] and myself. Each time we go out into the woods, we are coming home with these little gems. Now I think they are trying to breed in my yard. For the first time ever, my dogs’ flea and tick meds aren’t working and another first – I think we are going to have to poison the yard with something. In eight years in this house we’ve never had to put much poison down (we have a nature friendly yard) – only spot treat the random fire ant mounds. Now I may have to declare war.

I may as well mention the other little buggers – mosquitos. We haven’t had many of them this summer and I’ve gotten out of the habit of spraying myself when I want to spend some time outside. After the tiny bit of rain we got over a week ago, they did seem to come out again for a few days and of course, I am the one that attracts them the most and reacts to their bites. Fortunately, with my Koi pond, geckos, anoles, horned lizard, frogs and toads around my yard – the mosquito population doesn’t get too badly out of control. There are even a few bats in the area to contribute to the feasting.

Now, the wasps and bees – well, they are useful polinators so I tend not to try and drive them off too much, but they seem to ‘bee’ getting more aggressive as well. The Ruby Throated and Black Chin hummingbirds have to fight them off of the feeders to get to their nectar. The bees aren’t too bad; they give way to the hummers normally – but the wasps are generally the winners in a show down I’ve noticed. I’ve taken to flicking the red wasps off the feeders to let the hummers in because when it comes to a stand off, the hummers usually back down first. It’s interesting to watch the two (wasps vs/ hummingbirds) go at it. But the bees just fly over to a plant. I did notice a place in my yard where the big fat bumblebees (I think) have popped out some holes in my yard and yesterday I saw one flitting around the Rose of Sharon in my back yard. They don’t seem aggressive at all. The wasps like to buzz me though – and hang around my front and back door just waiting to zip in the house. I think they are looking for cooler air as well. Of course, all these things may be attracted to me because of my coconut hair shampoo, my Wild Freesia deoderant and my Frangiapani body mist – I must smell like a smorgasborg to them! When I go out in the woods or to hunt, I generally use non-scented products, but at home – well, I like to smell nice!

I can proudly acclaim that the chiggers haven’t gotten me [yet] this year. So that’s one little bitey thing I can scratch off my list for a few more days. I’m sure they will get me the next time I hit the woods to teach one of my classes, even with all the precautions I take to spray my pant legs and boots. Oh well, the battle with mother nature is going to get fierce around here the next few weeks.

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