2018-05-23 / Loose Ends

Itch by itch

The garden bites back

I was stunning in my khaki gardening hat with the flap down the back to keep the sun off my neck, my gardening shoes – an old pair of tennis shoes, very stained – a pair of jeans I never should have bought and a T-shirt that I paid $5 for. There is no sense dressing up for an afternoon in the garden.

Today I added to my look with the results of digging in the dirt in hot, humid weather. There is nothing like hat hair with a good dose of sweat. In addition to sweating, I was also wearing a layer of sunscreen and another of high-powered Deet. Unfortunately bugs are able to find the parts of me I missed with the bug spray.

I didn’t know they were that smart, but I guess when they’re hungry …

While I have been sitting here at my desk, two little brown ants have marched across my papers. They weren’t together, and I found another one in the guest bedroom this morning. We have battled ants before but it was very clear where they were coming inside. The long trail of their relatives was a dead giveaway. A reunion maybe?

I cleaned up, sprayed, cleaned up, sprayed – you get the idea. Then I pulled out the big guns: ant bait. It worked, and we haven’t had another problem until now. I just don’t know what they find so fascinating about my office. That’s where they came in before.

I’m not much on sharing my space or my things with critters, especially when they come in multiples. Now I find I am staring at anything little and dark to see if it moves. At least they don’t bite.

The last time I worked in the bed that had been taken over by sea oats, I became breakfast, lunch and dinner for the resident chiggers. On an itch scale of 1-10, chigger bites are right there at the top. Today I didn’t get any chigger bites, just gnat bites. They also rate high on the itch scale. I am pretty sure chiggers are active in the late summer.

Judging by my experiences, there’s a rolling list of insects and when they are the most active, beginning with ticks in May and June. Apparently they seek cover when it gets hot. In that case, this season should be an easy one for those of us who are tick targets.

I don’t know when the stinging insects have their active time, as they generally leave me alone. I am not offended by the neglect, but wish I knew what makes a target.

Yesterday when I was kneeling in the garden, a wolf spider decided to join me. For those who aren’t acquainted with them, to me they look like mini versions of the large hairy spiders on animal shows. It was a standoff and I blinked first, abandoning my spot to look for one where I could weed in peace – alone.

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