Those of us who enjoy a field excursion are not without stories of some measure of personal misery brought on by the "little things" which lie in wait for all large mammals passing thru.
In the field nearly everyone (it seems) wants a piece of you. Everything from ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, black flies, annoying gnats (flying in your eyeballs), deer flies, horse flies, and the occasional peeved-off bee/wasp lets you know that with reward comes discomfort.
Probably my most memorable event was my first encounter with a relict natural field in the southern part of my state.
Having caught sight of one of the first zebra swallowtails which I had ever seen I dashed into a field chasing after it (for only about 40 ft); when I took a swing and missed but, upon looking in my net to my horror I discovered 9 ticks in the netting !
I left immediately to check a couple alfalfa fields which I had passed earlier. Upon arrival at my room I found yet another 4 ticks about my clothing.
And then I realized my ankles were itching... Was it from the weeds ?
A quick and thorough shower gave me little relief around my ankle area; so I looked more closely. Low and behold, I discovered that I had "seed ticks" buried head deep into the skin of my ankles.
After an hour of carefully preening them out of my skin with my finest forceps I had relief; and 14 little "pinhead sized" seed ticks in a bottle of alcohol.
Beyond that memorable incident I do recall at least two occasions where I was literally driven out of the forest by the abundance of mosquitoes which were absolutely voracious and unrelenting.
So, if you have a story to relate of courage under fire I would like to hear it !
I've been lucky with ticks, and only had one manage to burrow in, don't sleep under a tree while Dad is fishing..
I only have one time where I was driven back to the vehicle by mosquitos, I really wanted to sweep for dragonfly nymphs to take back home to my pond,, I've had mosquito encounters before, and some persistent swatting would get things under control, but not this time, almost like those pictures you see from Alaska, they even followed me back into the truck.
Forget the yellow jacket wasps that chased me for a 1/4 mile, that was nothing. I did have to go back during winter to get my sunglasses.
So, I guess those are not stories of courage, but prudent self preservation.
Post by exoticimports on Jul 16, 2021 6:27:04 GMT -8
Where I grew up as a kid doing field research, there were no ticks, chiggers, etc. All three TV stations aired ads for dog collars protecting against Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but there was none for 2000 miles.
So in Ecuador 1998, I didn't think much of them. My MV was down a grassy hill, and I'd check it about every 90 minutes. At one point I got lazy, and instead of going down the dirt road I took the shortcut through the grass. Big mistake. My legs were wrecked with hundreds of chiggers. It itched unbelievably, and I had nothing to treat it with.
I remember well a friend and fellow lepidopterist Dr. Robert Gregg (Kentucky) telling me how in 1996 he had taken an Emmel trip to Rhondonia, Brazil.
He stated that he had a pretty good trip there for Morpho and Riodinids however, he also made a point of saying that should I ever go there to collect; bring along "powdered sulphur" to prevent chigger bites.
He remarked in a letter (I still have) that the cow pastures were heavily infested and that the bites were MORE than a casual annoyance...
He was a great fellow and I still miss his friendship.
My worst mosquito encounter happened at Grand Isle, Louisiana, when I was a kid. The mosquitos were so bad one summer that if you went outside wearing shorts and stood still for 30 seconds, your legs would be so covered with mosquitos that you couldn't see your legs. Us kids had to run as fast as we could to the beach. There were no mosquitos on the beach, but there were plenty of biting sand flies. To get away from them, we had to wade up to our necks in the water. The bugs were a hassle, but my brothers and I had fun anyway.
Post by exoticimports on Jul 16, 2021 12:26:44 GMT -8
""little things" which lie in wait for all large mammals passing thru"
Well, stretching that a bit...
Must have been about 1981 and my buddy and I decided to drive down to SE PA to do some field research.
On the way back, northbound in PA on the highway, some jerk in a white car and the stupidest looking flashing orange light on a riser was behind us, on our tail.
Tired of being hounded by this Highway Department superintendent or whomever he was, I told my buddy to get rid of him. So he hit the gas, and that 350 opened up, and a while later the white car was nowhere to be seen.
Later, we discovered that PA cops used orange lights, not the red we were familiar with.
....and not much later....same kids, same Camaro decided to go do some field work in Canada. When asked why we were entering Canada (two young males in a hopped up Camaro) my buddy said "sightseeing." Well, that got us the pink ticket and instructions to pull over.
The Canadian Mounties (they're all mounties as far as I'm concerned) came to check us out. One picked up my tupperware killing container, cracked a corner, and lifted it to his face to sniff it. I said "I wouldn't do that if I were you." He did anyway. Shortly after he collapsed we were surrounded by Mounties and dogs. They stripped every damned thing from that Camaro, ran the dogs through it, and 40 minutes later told us we could go. It took 20 minutes to put the car back together. Officer Collapse gave me the evil eye and I said "I told you so."