Note: Part of this post was originally posted on Seasons of Violet, December 8, 2003. Additions, including pictures, have been made.
I'm on vacation but I'd still love to read your comments.
Ant Protector Turns Violent
When I was a child, I was a total insect pacifist. Insects were wonderful, had their place in nature, and should not be killed.
At about ten years of age, I founded the "Ant Protectors Club" whose futile mission was to prevent people from stepping on ants. Even through the club had two catchy mottos, I failed in recruiting more members and it was a lonely enterprise.
Ant Protector Club mottos:
How would you like it if somebody stepped on your house?
Don't, don't, don't kill ants 'cause you might need them some day!
I'm still fascinated with the insect world and try not to interfere with nature. However, we live a wooded swamp and some species specific insect warfare has replaced my total insect pacifism.
We believe that our house sits over the world's largest and heartiest ant hill. The ants come into the house from every direction and can be found in every room. We are hesitant to use nuclear force and nothing else seems to work. To keep the population in check we use borax based poison that the ants take back to their nest. It cuts back on the numbers but never completely eliminates the colony as advertised.
These are little ants and they bite. It's amazing how hard a tiny little ant can bite. I do not hesitate to murder the little ant who bites me.
DH Bob is freaked out by spiders. I'm not overly fond of them either. Outdoors we leave them in peace. Once they cross the threshold we assume they've declared war and we whap to kill.
In the fall when it starts to get chilly, the spiders line up outside our door to get into the warmth of the house. I think Bob is whapping before they cross the threshold, but I don't want to know about it.
Other insects are gently removed from the house and put back outdoors. We assume that is where they would rather be and we don't require them to pay for their mistake with their life. The exception is the blood sucking insects. They don't even have to come in the house to get killed.
Mosquitoes are a no-brainer. They get whapped whenever and wherever we can whap them.
In April and May we have blackflies. They hatch in the cold, fast flowing water of the creek that runs through our acreage. Then they bite. They inject a chemical so you can't feel them and they suck on your blood. I'm allergic to their bites and I swell and itch for several weeks after being bitten. Even cortisone doesn't help.
In June and July we have wood ticks. Ticks are slow about finding a place to bite. They like to crawl around on you for a while and select the best spot. It's usually possible to remove them before they initiate their blood feast.
Before ticks start sucking they are flat, hard, and difficult to kill. A good whap doesn't even phase them. After a tick starts sucking blood and bloating up, you don't want to whap them. They explode and splat blood all over and it's very gross. If the tick was not detached before exploding, it is more difficult to detach after exploding.
After fifteen tick seasons, I'm very good at removing embedded ticks. My preferred method is to use the Ticked Off tick remover, but I am capable of doing it with my bare hands if necessary. I read somewhere that ticks hate water, so, bloated or unbloated, I delight in flushing them down the toilet.
In July and August, we have deer flies. Or, as the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University calls them, "little sabres of pain."
They dive onto their victim and immediately CHOMP! Ouch!
The result is a red welt resembling a mosquito bite. The welts don't itch and they don't last long, it's just that initial, painful CHOMP that makes deer flies one of the worse bloodsucking insect pests we have here.
I view them as one of God's annual reminders that we live in a fallen world.
Actual blood was lost and pain suffered to bring you this picture of a deer fly biting my knee. Am I a dedicated blogger, or what?