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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Insect Advocate 2006 (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Insect Advocate 2006
FlyingCow
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I think if you're already dealing with a very high volume of beetles, the trap won't necessarily make it worse. I'm dealing with a very light volume and don't want to attract any more.

I've been killing one or two a day the last week or so.

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Jenny Gardener
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Well, my beetles have moved on to the vegetable garden, where they are happily munching the kale and turnip greens. I am fine with that. They haven't hurt the other veggies much at all. Faerygirl does go out and harass them every day, giving them baths in a bowl of soapy water (that's what we tell Little Crow is happening, since he loves the beetles and wouldn't want them to be killed).
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Tstorm
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Jenny, one of your friends bit me on the inner thigh a few days ago. It's quite red and swollen after 3 days, and I have tender lymph nodes near it So far, there is no blister or distinct hole in the center.

I spent a lot of time outside back when it started, wandering through tall grass, whacking weeds, and working in an old shed. Who only knows what kind of bug decided to chomp on me. I'm leaning toward spider, but I'll probably never know.

I'm monitoring it, to be sure it doesn't rapidly worsen. Hopefully it will clear up soon.

Tell them all to stay away from me, or I'll soon wage chemical (Raid) and conventional (flyswatter) warfare on them. :evil eyes:

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rivka
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Most bites blamed on spiders are NOT spider bites, which are actually fairly rare.
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Tstorm
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Right, and I'm well aware it's likely NOT a brown recluse bite. I made it clear that I have no way of knowing for sure, because I didn't see the bite occur.

I can say for sure that it's not a flea (or louse), tick, mosquito, chigger, or ant bite. It's also not a sting from a wasp, bee, or hornet.

But I'm willing to admit it could be a bad infection in a chigger or mosquito bite. Ahh, the wonders of never solving a mystery. [Smile]

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FlyingCow
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Well, I finally got a good sunny day when I was home, and I've picked off about 20 or so Japanese Beetles and gave them... a soapy bath.

Caught what looked to be a couple of mating pairs, too - which I'm sure was a rude surprise for them.

They have been going to town on my Basil the last couple of days, it seems.

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Jenny Gardener
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Tstorm, could be a sting from a small bee. The little solitary bees are quite aggressive, and their stings hurt. It could also be a bite, as you say. If your lymph nodes are swelling, I'd definitely watch it, and if they don't go down, you need to get things checked out. Sorry that you had a bad experience.
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Tstorm
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Yeah, I'm planning on a check up right now. The lymph nodes are still just as tender, and the inflamed area is getting larger. I traced a dashed line around it with a pen yesterday morning, and no doubt about it, it has grown larger in the past 24 hours. This is nearly five days after I noticed the itchy spot. Time for a doctor's visit, expensive though it may be.
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Tstorm
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Update: Went to the doctor, received prescription for antibiotic and steroid (to reduce the inflammation). Also received instruction to apply heat a few times a day, although that's difficult when I'm at work for 10 hours or more. I do my best, and I won't miss any of the medicine. [Smile]

Four days later, the bite is rapidly vanishing. The swollen lymph gland(s) are gone. I can still see little purple veins near the bite mark, but there's no more puffiness or inflammation like there was on Monday. I think those little "spider veins" (no pun intended) will go away after a while.

Thus ends the saga of the unknown insect bite. [Smile]

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rivka
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Hooray for better living through chemistry. [Wink]
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Synesthesia
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I hate wasps getting into my apartment. I think there has been two or three. Maybe 2 in my room and it's VERY SCARY!
Is there some sort of way to repel them? I feel guilty about smashing them, but they are varelse (sp) and I have no choice. They are vaguely cute scary dominatrixes of the insect world.

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theCrowsWife
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
They are vaguely cute scary dominatrixes of the insect world.

[ROFL] That's a great description! It belongs in a sig somewhere.

--Mel

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Jenny Gardener
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It's actually easy to catch a wasp for release. Just place a cup over it against a wall or floor or ceiling. Then, slide an index card or something of similar thickness beneath. Be careful not to pinch the wasp's legs. Gently carry the apparatus outside (cup upside down on the index card). Tip back the cup and retreat. The wasp will gladly fly away.

Wasps are actually rather large to be getting into your apartment. Find the hole or open door or window where they are coming in, and screen or otherwise put up a barrier.

If you know what kind of wasps they are, I can tell you more about their habits to help you troubleshoot where they are coming from and why they are in your apartment.

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Synesthesia
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They are so scary.
Black wasps (Polistis?) I don't mind. But these are YELLOW JACKETS or HORNETS
They scare me.

AUGH! ANOTHER ONE IN MY BEDROOM! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE

Maybe I'll move


I HATE THOSE THINGS! THIS IS THE 3RD OR 4TH ONE SINCE THESE GUYS PUT IN NEW WINDOWS!!!

[ July 14, 2007, 11:49 PM: Message edited by: Synesthesia ]

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kwsni
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I have discovered the biggest bugs since moving to Virginia. We have these green beetles the size of marbles that fly around aimlessly until they run into something. I Honestly think that's the way they navigate. They're funny to watch, but they hurt when they fly into your head.

Ni!

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Tstorm
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A continuation of my bite saga...

The bite has healed. There's still a small mark on my leg, smaller than a typical chigger bite, which should disappear soon. Aside from an unpleasant side effect of the antibiotic, no complications resulted from this.

More insect fun...

This weekend, I'm in KC and I'm staying at a friend's house. When I woke up this morning, one of the first things I did was go to my duffel bag for clothes. I picked up the old clothes on top of the bag first and set them aside. Then I picked up my jean shorts and ... underneath the shorts, sitting inconspicuosly on a white shirt, sat an average-sized fiddleback spider.

[Angst] Yeah.

We regarded each other for a couple of minutes. He didn't move, I didn't stop looking at him. I didn't want to lose sight of him in the event he scurried deeper into my duffel. He just kinda sat there, looking up at me with his six eyes. I, still sleepy-eyed, sat there and looked back at him, forcing my eyes to REALLY wake up.

Not wanting to lose sight, I went into gecko mode, used one eye and hand to fold up a sock as a weapon. In my past experience with these, I know it doesn't take much of a blow to kill them. One hit, and he's down. Wounded. I put him in a tupperware container, sealed it, and left a note:

"**DANGER** This is a Brown Recluse spider. It is poisonous. Please do not disturb, throw away, or set loose. I may need it for medical evidence."

I packed this bag and left it overnight in my apartment back home, so it's possible this guy is a hitchhiker. It's also possible he crawled into the bag while I slept last night. This is the same bag I used the weekend I received the bite, two weeks ago, staying at my parents house. At any rate, hitchhiker or not, he's earned an all-expenses-paid trip back home...I'll call him an "insect of interest" in an ongoing investigation. [Big Grin]

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Jenny Gardener
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The Insect Advocate has moved to its own blog! I just was remembering you folks, and how it all got started...

http://insectadvocate.blogspot.com/

Feel free to "bug" me with your insect questions by commenting and I'd love it if you just said hi.

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Tatiana
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Awesome! I posted on your blog but my comment's in moderation.
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Jenny Gardener
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Thanks! I posted your comments. It's nice to have readership...

Since you requested a return of The Insect Advocate to Hatrack, should I start a new thread (seeing as how this one is 3 years old?)

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Tatiana
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I think venerable old threads with multiple pages have an air of authority and importance that new threads don't have, don't you?

Should I post what I said on your blog to here as well, you think?

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Tatiana
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I have a question. I've quit sitting out on my deck because of the mosquitoes, and my heightened fear of arthropod borne diseases since my son's Lyme has had such a huge negative impact on his life. Is there any bug zapper or other device that can make it safe to do that again? It's beautiful out there but each time I spent 10 minutes admiring the bats and the foliage and the darkening sky, 3 days later I would be covered in itchy bumps that turned into sores, and due to my diabetes each sore on my lower extremities would last weeks to months, turn into an ulcer, and threaten the need to amputate my feet. 10 minutes of nature's beauty isn't worth that.

The idea of killing insects instead of enjoying their company might horrify you. If so, I apologize.

On another thread I recently read pooka's simile that she was drawn to something like a mosquito to a CO2 generator (or something like that). Are there new attractors on the market that actually keep an area clear of mosquitos?

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aspectre
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The Starwars Musquito Defense System, or the Weapon of Mosquito Destruction as it's known in real life.

Current bug zappers don't work on mosquitos. An entemologist did some body counts and found few hundred other insects for every mosquito. And the overwhelming supermajority of mosquitos killed were males, which don't bite.

[ March 20, 2009, 02:43 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Noemon
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Tatiana, it might be easier to just get some mosquito netting and build yourself an enclosure on your deck.
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Tatiana
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Noemon, that would make it feel a lot less like being outside, I think. For instance, looking at the stars through a telescope is one of the activities I like to do out there. I think the netting would cut way down on the light transmitted.

I have thought about a screened porch with cat access, so they can go sit out there whenever they like. I'm sure they would love that.

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ludosti
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I have an insect issue I could use some help with. We have a couple bushes in our front yard that the bees seem to love (a fairy duster and a ruellia). I'm happy that the bees seem to like our plants so much, but I'm concerned about pruning them. I don't want to upset the bees (there are a LOT of them in the fairy duster especially - dozens and dozens every time I look) and get stung, but I do need to do a little bit of pruning since the bushes are starting to overhang the sidewalk...
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Tatiana
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ludosti, pruning is best done at a time of year when a plant is not in bloom. For this year, forget pruning and leave it be. In the dead of winter, then prune it well back, so that with spring growth it will be the ideal size. [Smile]

aspectre, I would love one of those star wars mosquito zapper. Even better is the fact that it doesn't indiscriminately kill the good bugs. I can't wait until those go commercial. [Smile]

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Tatiana
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Alternately, if you absolutely must prune during the blooming times, you could look for beekeepers outlets and buy a smoker. The smoke makes them groggy and ill disposed to sting. It's still risky, though, to give all the bees the right dose of smoke. Usually it's done with a hive box to rob the honey.
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ludosti
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Unfortunately, it's warm enough here in AZ that they bloom all year round. I'll have to try looking first thing in the morning (like 6 or 7am when it's still cold) to see how active they are and see if I dare trying to prune...
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Noemon, that would make it feel a lot less like being outside, I think. For instance, looking at the stars through a telescope is one of the activities I like to do out there. I think the netting would cut way down on the light transmitted.

Fair enough!

In other news, I just became aware of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Very cool stuff!

quote:
* 1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
* 1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
* 1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
* 2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
* 2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
* 2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
* 3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
* 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
* 4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.
* 4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.


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Synesthesia
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http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/japanese/hand.jpg They say one of these feels like a hot nail.

I'd avoid these things. THEY ARE SCARY!!!!!!! No way I'd HAVE IT IN MY HAND!

But I am going to order a luna moth, and perhaps a cecropia in the future. I love them.

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Jenny Gardener
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Syn, I wrote it up on the Insect Advocate!

ludosti, most nectar feeders can be nudged gently. I recommend starting gently with a few branches, see how that goes. Most of the time, if you are calmly going about your business, the pollinators will calmly go about theirs. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to button up with gloves, long sleeves, and pants with legs tucked into boots. I bump into my wee wasps and bees quite often in my gardens, and I just say excuse me and they buzz off disgruntled in the opposite direction. Bees aren't really inclined to sting you unless you are messing with their hive. And the insects you are dealing with are probably so full of nectar it wouldn't be worth the effort to them (one of the things smoking does is get the bees to gorge on honey, and that makes it physically harder for them to sting!).

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Synesthesia
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Thanks!
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ludosti
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I'm glad to hear that the bees may let me prune. I know that bees normally aren't inclined to sting (since doing so kills them). I have been able to weed around (and under) the bushes without any problems. I'd get a little nervous when some of the bees would come land on me, but they'd fly right off again. I'll try doing some pruning early Saturday morning (when it's still cool out and hopefully there aren't as many around) and see what happens.
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ludosti
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Things went well this morning. There were considerably fewer bees first thing this morning and I did my best to be as calm and efficient as possible (which was still hard with them milling around me). I was silly and was even talking to the bees while I worked, apologizing for disturbing them and explaining that I needed to do this so we can continue to co-exist happily. [Big Grin]
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Jenny Gardener
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Nothing silly about talking to bees! Throughout history, beekeepers have talked to them. I certainly do when hubby and I go out to tend our own beehives. And who knows? Maybe your talking calms you, too, and helps your chemical signature be less threatening. Biochemistry is so complex, and insects live in a world where chemical sensations are very powerful. We don't sense a fraction of the things an insect does. Or, on the other hand, maybe they just appreciate you making an effort to work with them instead of saying "Eek! A bee! Go away! Or I'll get spray!"
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aspectre
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Admittedly it does get annoying when the bees start talking back. Such gossips they are.
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Jenny Gardener
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Not my girls. That, or I like the gossip they have to share. They were not happy with me today, going in on a windy overcast afternoon to get the queen out of her "cage" where we'd put her to lay eggs that we hope to convert into queens.
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