Friday, May 13, 2011

Bees, Chiggers and Ticks! Oh My!

I am going to talk bugs today.  If you don't like bug talk (Sammy), you may now click the 'X' in the upper right-hand corner of your screen (Windows).  If you are an Apple fan, your 'X' is on the upper left.

I am not a squeamish female.  Messes happen.  Dogs and people throw up and pooh.  While given a choice, I would rather not be the one that has to clean up when accidents happen.  However, I will do so without complaint.

The only kind of crazy I get about bugs is picture taking crazy.  Abby, my housekeeper, once found a scorpion downstairs.  She was less than happy with me that the first thing I did was to take pictures of it, rather than to save her from it.  I think most bugs are picture-worthy.  Except cockroaches.  I immensely dislike cockroaches.

The past couple of weeks, bugs have decided that I am bite-worthy.

About a week ago, I was up in the loft, minding my own business and riding my ^#(*@ stationary bike and I got stung by a wasp.

I screamed like a girl.  The wasp snuck up on me and scared the living daylights out of me.  I didn't even see it coming, I was twelve minutes into my second twenty minute ^#(*@ exercise session, blissfully watching Shania Twain on Oprah and BAM!  On the underside of my right upper arm it felt like I was being pinched by needle nose pliers.  Hard.  Only more painful.  I didn't even see the culprit coming or going.

Both Randy and Roxy were outside and heard me scream and they came running.  My heros.

Dang if that sting didn't hurt all night.

I am very careful of ticks and chiggers here.  My closest friend is Off! Deep Woods insect repellant.  Roxy's closest friend is Frontline.  

A chigger, which you really can't see with the naked eye, attaches itself to a warm body, makes a hole in said warm body and then proceeds to feast off of that warm body.  A chigger doesn't really bite, it is actually done eating by the time the bite forms.  The itching and redness is actually caused by the digestive enzyme that the chigger uses to break down the warm body.

Chigger bites itch to high heaven.  Worse than a mosquito bite.  A rash caused by chigger bites is called trombiculosis.  I have seen pictures of people with hundreds of bites.  Oh, they probably went crazy with the itching.  I have been lucky (?) enough to have suffered only one chigger bite at a time.  I know that I would be driven over the edge of sanity with the itching if I had more than one to deal with.

The unfortunate part is that for me (for you, dog) over the edge of sanity isn't really that far.

Anyway ~

Sammy, who hates all things bug-related, swears that 'After Bite' is the magic formula to stopping the itch of bug bites.  

I call it 'Bite Off' which only reminds me of the time that I ruined a close to thirty year working relationship by telling somebody to 'bite me'.  I think its a very funny story and I don't regret saying it, as I got my point across quite nicely, and really, was never bothered by him again.

Anyway ~

My remedy for a chigger bite is to scrape off the center of the bite.  Then I scrub the bite down with rubbing alcohol a couple of times a day.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, there is a risk of infection when I do that.

Roxy is brushed a couple of times a day and inspected regularly for ticks.  Randy and I call it 'tick pickin' and we are quite good at it.  Randy holds Roxy still and I grab the tick - or ticks and then I kill 'em.  Ticks are dang hard to kill.  Supposedly, just flushing them down the toilet or washing them down the sink with hot water won't do them in.  If I am outside, I will smash them with a rock.  Yesterday we took Roxy to the vet for a spa day and Tina, the vet's assistant, gave me two ways to kill em.

One way is to drown them in rubbing alcohol.  The other way sounds way too much fun ... set them on fire in an ashtray.  Apparently, ticks explode when heat is applied to them.  That sounds like good, honest redneck entertainment on a wine night.

Even with our careful tick inspection of Roxy and the faithful use of Off!, I have had two tick bites this week.

I may have to start dabbing a bit of Frontline behind my ears.

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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