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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Summer bugs, ugh! 

I love summer but the bugs are the worst.  Especially no-see-ums.  You know, those little pesky things you can't see but feel biting like crazy at the worst possible moments?  Up north we called them gnats.  Here in the south we call them no-see-ums.   They bite in all the unreachable places and always pick the times when hands are occupied.  It's a bug conspiracy.  My husband told me something about them using their tongue to "saw" through skin, which painted a really horrible picture in my mind.  So I decided to do a little research (I am the research queen after all). 
The first thing I found out is that no-see-ums are actually in the Ceratopogonidae family and are flies.  They are less than 1/4 inch in size and that's why you feel them but don't see them until it's too late.  And guess what?  The female are the biters!  Go figure.  I can't even defend my own gender.  They need the protein from blood for their eggs.  The men are lovers, not fighters.  They go for nectar.  Now, I hate to confirm this but the tongues of the no-see-ums do slice the skin and their saliva keeps the blood from clotting while they feast.  Isn't that one of the most disgusting mental pictures you can have?  I'm cringing while I'm writing about it.  Yuck! 
So, what's our defense against these blood thirsting women?  None!  Even common sense won't work very well in the summer.  All the info I read says wear long sleeves and pants.  In summer?  In Florida?  Are these people out of their minds?  No way is that happening. I live in shorts and tank tops as do most southerners.  The second piece of advice is to move around since no-see-ums don't fly very far from their breeding ground.  Well, unless you want to dance around the garden all day I'd say this is a lame idea.  Even if you did move around, the dang things grab on anyway.  They definitely know how to dance as well as anyone I know.   Another control mechanism I read about is to avoid outdoor lighting.  Ok, so you're having friends and family over and they have to feel their way through the dark to get their plates?  I don't think so.  Finally, if all else fails use insect repellant.   Nice thought, but you guessed it or felt it.  These chicks love the stuff!  Insect repellant to these ladies is like honey to the bees, nectar to the gods, poison to the ivy...  You get the picture.   

Anyway, next time you see me in my garden, mid-day rather than in the evening,  I will have a long sleeved shirt on with long pants, socks and shoes.  A netted helmet will cover my head and I will have double gloves on my hands.  And before I go out, I'll be sure to spray myself head to toe with insect repellant.   I'll look like an alien from another planet and I'll bet I'll still wind up with no-see-ums using me as their favorite meal.   Happy Gardening and watch out for those dang bugs!

Hi Blogger,
During my search for information about backyard gardening, I found your Blog,
although Summer bugs, ugh! isn't exactly what I was looking for, I like the topic and the way you wrote it. My interest goes out to backyard gardening related information, but I always admire a well written post.
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