Friday, August 18, 2006

Entomological Adventures

I am not really interested in Entomology. Except when bugs intersect my life. It is not true, despite the urban myth circulating on the internet, that there are roach eggs in the glue on your envelopes.

It is not true that scorpions can swim up drains and that is why they appear in your sink or bathtub. I am not fan of scorpions. Been stung a couple times and it is like fire. But they don't swim. They simply enter your house by walking in and migrate to whatever moist place is nearby. Poisons are not very effective on scorpions. But luckily they are not good at climbing out of bathtubs and sinks. They keep sliding back as they try to escape, just before I sever their disgusting segmented body into disjoined pieces. Ick.

Yesterday I had an unfortunate introduction to fire ants. These small critters are not native to my area but are becoming more common. Our recent mild winter may have encouraged them to locate here. They are endemic to the southeastern US and Texas. Well, anyway, there I was, ignorantly putting my left hand into a nest of them and suddenly I was being swarmed. They bite and then sting and the sting is, well, it is like fire! I brushed them off as fast as I could but still suffered the normal localized reaction: swelling, burning, intense itching. I had my hand & arm on ice for 3 hours trying to calm the reaction to their venom. Today I have a few small pustules and residule itchiness. I would like to invite these immigrants to return to Texas forthwith.

My years in the desert have been happily with few incidents of the entomological kind. Mosquitoes for instance are quite rare on the ranch. There are no blackflies, no gnats. My dogs have never had a tick. My horses do attract flies however; but they prefer equine blood to human.

That brings me to my last entomology story. Names are omitted to protect the innocent. Recently I was invited to a picnic. I arrived late as I'd been out of town. Everyone had eaten and the leftover food was being attacked by flies. As it was getting on to be evening the decision was made to move indoors. A comment was made that this was a good plan because then the flies would head for the ceiling and could be vacuumed up. This was news to me. Now I'm not a snob. I understand that some folks have trouble keeping flies out of their house. But they go up to roost on the ceilings at night? In fact I witnessed this phenomenom after we moved indoors. But as this was being discussed a young lady asked me what the flies did in my house. I said I didn't have flies in my house. Why not? she inquired. I said I have screens on my windows and I close the door to my house. Finally a guy clarified it for her when he stated for all assembled to hear: she doesn't know about the flies because she's not a REDNECK.

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