Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's Bugging You?

WARNING: this post contains graphic descriptions of creepy-crawlies and may result in headscratching

Bugs rule the world. Okay, maybe not. It just seems that way when they overwhelm your world and make your life miserable.

For being so small they have such sneaky, steadfast ways.

Living in the country holds many advantages, but what really 'bugs' me about it are 'bugs.' Even if they come with the territory. The 'plus' side of enjoying our wildlife are the 'down side' of the bugs that accompany them.

Last September we had a tick epidemic some creative soul could make into a real spine-tingler. Francis Fox had taken to sleeping under my car and hanging out in the gravel drive. She dug a smooth shallow trench to keep cool and sheltered, away from the kits but close enough and within eye-distance of the tack room to keep a wary eye on them. They were too young to venture down the drive. At first I thought it was cute. It certainly was clever. On a 'good' week, I only drive to town once or twice, so the car doesn't move that often. Then -- disaster. I was driving and noticed small brown spots on the windshield. Then the dash. Then the side windows. Then the roof of the car. My god - it was a horror movie -- a tick epidemic of crisis proportions. When I got to my destination I dashed in the bathroom to do a quick 'tick-check.' Found quite a few on my jeans. Hours later had to drive home. Repeated the tick-check and threw all my clothes in the washer. Checking the shoes showed more ticks. Yuck and double-yuck.

Excy got super-duty spray bomb for inside the car and then tackled the drive. When he came back in, we must've picked a hundred ticks off his clothes and off him. It was incredible. We had to bomb the car three times. Excy developed tick-fever. Fortunately we caught it right away, but with his heart issues and the meds he was already taking, it was a worry.

Finally, I could get in the car and not start jerking at every sensation. Francis didn't seem to mind the inconvenience, she just moved into the tall pampas grass.

This year, it's ants in the roof of the addition of the house. And it's a metal roof - somehow they got in the insulation. White flakes of insulation drift down gently like tiny snowflakes, coating the walls and the floors. Every time Excy conquers one spot they just move to another. It seems to be slowing down, but maybe it's my optimism.

I learned the hard way not to use Orkin type outfits -- yes they 'killed bugs dead,' but they also killed the 'good' bugs that kept most of the 'bad' ones at bay. We had more of the horrible spiders and others I won't freak you out with than we ever did before -- fortunately outside, but still...

Now we are encountering a problem we haven't had since the cats became strictly indoor cats in '99. FLEAS. Mama 'coon and her three babies hang out underneath the screen porch, which is the cat's 'outdoor room.' They lounge out there hours at a time. Last week I noticed an inordinate amount of scratching going on with our three and Dixie, our semi-permanent houseguest. Then I trapped one on the bed. Eeewwwwwhhh...

A thorough flea-combing revealed it was a problem of epic proportions. They all got treated three days ago, and there's been a lot of unpleasant side-effects, and it's still not resolved. I'm afraid I'll be bathing them and giving them another dose in a week or so. Excy sprayed the ground.

BAD BUGS. The bane of my country existence. You 'city folks' can thank your lucky stars.

On another note, though, a walking stick the size of an asparagus stalk has been providing entertainment for days -- I've never seen one as big before...

14 comments:

maddyrose said...

I really do not like bugs!! I've lived where the bugs were the enemy and it was always a war zone, and it wasn't in the country. I've been stung by a whole nest of fire ants and bitten three times by poisonous spiders. Yuck to bugs!! Ticks and fleas, shudder.....

ReformingGeek said...

The cat was playing with a scorpion this morning. Ugh. Bugs would be so much better if they stayed away from me and just did their thing in nature.

:)

Roan said...

I'm not a fan of the bugs either. I had a run in with a spider this afternoon. He bit my ankle while I was trying to focus on an old barbed wire fence. I hope it wasn't poisonous.

Ms. A said...

I'm not in the country, but we've had our share of bugs. My system can't tolerate any bug sprays and we are really fighting with some ants in my bathroom window. I let hubby spray outside, even though it still gets in and it still hasn't helped.

Thanks for making me all itchy! Not.

Belle said...

All those ticks! Awful. Now ants and fleas! I feel for you. My daughter brought a dog to our place that had fleas. Soon I could see them hopping around in the living room carpet and in my bed. We had trouble with ants too last year. Still, I would consider your ticks the worst.

Mrs. Tuna said...

Do you want to hear the horrors of head lice?

Peruby said...

Not a big solution to the flea problem, but it does help a little.

I took a bowl of water with dish detergent in it and sat it in the middle of the floor.

I put a desk lamp over it (extension cord to a socket) and left it on all night.

The heat attracted the fleas and when they jump in the bowl of water the detergent is slippery and keeps them from getting back out. They drown.

Good luck. The ticks? I shiver.

Lois said...

I remember when we lived in the country and had a feral mama cat living in our basement... When we finally found her a home she left behind her fleas and once when I came upstairs my legs were coated with them. We had to buy stable flea spray and do the basement 3 times... Ticks are scary, though.

Arkansas Patti said...

Yikes. Seeing one tick can make your skin crawl for days. That was a horror show you went through.
I had those carpenter ants in my guest house and it took an exterminator to get them. They are almost as distructive as termites.
The flea trap like Peruby suggested really work. Fortunately I have my dog on Comfortis and that keeps my house free. I don't know if it is safe for cats or not. As long as it works on Mighty, I don't have any in the house.
Spiders keep me itching. Country living does have drawbacks but I wouldn't change.
Hope you are bug free for a while.

Melodie said...

Not much bothers me,I am not the squeamish type.Except ticks! Shudder! Oh my goodness I would have been so creeped out with that! I would suggest some poultry,they eat their weight in bugs but with coons and foxes they would be the ones eaten!

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

This city folk has an ant problem as well, but only dead ones for some weird reason...we think, and not unreasonably that a spider (or two) maybe taking care of the problem...except he cleans house and leaves nothing but dead ant carcasses lying all over the rug! And this only happens in the summer! We think we may have to seal all the edges behind the molding....yuck!

Retired English Teacher said...

I am not really a fan of the bad bugs either. Being a gardener, I try to identify which are which. When they invade my indoor space, I am not happy at all.

Jenny said...

Oh my gosh. Feeling itchy as I read this. I swear I can feel them crawling on me! I'm definitely not a fan of bugs either!

Bridgette Adair said...

Sounds like you're having your slightly-more-than-average round of bug invasions. On the bright side, at least you're attending to them immediately instead of waiting for more problems to appear apart from an infestation of crisis proportions. As for the ants, have you thought about putting ant sheeting in the roof?

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