Monday

Creepy-crawlies

More procrastination? Yep! But I do have to write a chapter or two today. I only need about four more good writing days to finish this manucript, and I'm ready to be done and start the other rewrites. JT moves home today, so I need to get on it before he arrives and chaos begins. But first! I'll write about our local wildlife, and I'm not talking big like our nightly visiting raccoon or the 'gators that live in the lake across the backyard.

We seem to have been invaded by creepy-crawlies the past week! INSIDE the house, we’ve had two scorpions, four palmetto bugs, and a – I must say this one was cute! – tiny baby lizard.

The first scorpion was in the bathroom. Cassidy called out that there was a tarantula in there, so the scorpion was an improvement over that in my opinion. She just knew it was creepy looking. I figured it came in on an older gate we put up for the kittens so they’d not get out of the front hall – which they clambered right over anyway! – even though we’d scrubbed and cleaned the gate before bringing it inside.

With JT moving home, we needed to clean out the family room so we’d have a place to stage his stuff. We found a palmetto bug and the other scorpion in there. I MIGHT have vacuumed it up, but we aren’t sure. At least we were finished with the cleaning by then, and on the last stages. The girls and I didn’t much feel like hanging out in there much longer. We’d already had a run in with two palmettos. Ewww. They don’t really do anything, but they can sure creep you out when they jump out at you from a box.

THEN Tessa saw a palmetto bug go in our bedroom closet, and they found another in the hall bathroom. (I think it’s the same one, it went into the plumbing to the bathroom from my closet.) I’m reassuring myself with that thought anyway, and not ever getting anything out of the closet again to be sure! This does leave me in a predicament as far as clothing goes. Hmmm. Troy can pick out our clothes from now on.

I hate pesticides, but sometimes in Florida you have to make a choice. I guess we need to spray inside, cause a few carefully chosen chemicals vs. my children getting bitten by a venomous creature, make the choice pretty clear to me.

Saturday we found a large brown widow in the mailbox! Just a few months ago I’d read an article about how spiders loved mailboxes, and made note to be more careful when sticking my hand blindly in there. Tessa told us last week there was a big spider in there, but I thought Troy had taken care of it. NOT. I went out to look at it was right at the opening. We killed it, but now there are egg sacs that need to be taken care of or we’ll have lots more brown widows around.

I’ve seen the widows out back, but not out front. Sigh. It seems the only thing we haven’t seen is snakes. The pygmy rattlers come out in August, but we’ve not had any for a couple years. Other snakes yearly, but not rattlers.

And one other creepy-crawly run in…Tessa was at camp last week and was stung by a creature “that looked like a venus flytrap”. It had dropped off the table onto her lap – some of the counselors saw it but didn’t think it worth mentioning to her? – and when she put her arms on her legs, she smashed it against her arm. Another little boy buried it in the sand so they couldn’t bring it in with them to the medical personnel.

Tessa was checked out by the resident paramedic and nurse, but neither had a clue what stung her. It bothered me that no one researched what stung her because she has a high pain tolerance, and was in tears over this thing. She even missed out on horseback riding! I only knew about the sting because Cassidy told me when calling one night, which they aren’t really supposed to do, but her counselor let her call that once. They did check Tessa's records for a history of allergic reactions and they gave her some Benedryl.

When Tessa got home, I looked at the spot. It was leaf shaped with little holes all over it. I got on the net, looked up Florida stinging creatures, went through spiders, flying insects, and within five minutes found it under the last category, caterpillars. I called the girls in separately and both identified it out of a page full of pictures. It’s called a “Puss caterpillar.”

I looked it up on WebMD, “The puss caterpillar, or woolly slug, is the most poisonous caterpillar in the United States. Its poison is hidden in hollow spines among its hairs. This hairy caterpillar is found in the southern states, ranging west through most of Texas and north to Maryland and Missouri. It feeds on shade trees such as elm, oak, and sycamore. Puss caterpillars vary in size from 1.2 in.(32 mm) to 1.4 in.(36 mm).”

It was shaped like a leaf, and exactly the size of her sting. The little holes were from the stinging spines. The articles all say to rub the area with tape to remove the stingers. Fortunately, her counselor rubbed on some type of calamine type stuff, which must have worked them out.

It’s been known to send grown men to the emergency room in pain. I can’t believe they didn’t check it out! I thank God she didn’t have any worse reaction. I’ll post a picture for your viewing pleasure. I HATE creepy-crawlies! Only living in paradise makes me tolerate these creatures…

2 comments:

Ananda said...

ohh poor Tessa! That creature looks awful!!! I must say I'm completely creeped out by all the insects, lol! I'm definitely an indoor person :o) ps. What's a palmetto bug??

The Write Life said...

It's basically a big roach and they fly! I've been so glad to have only seen one, years ago, ouside at our apartment that first year. I've not seen any since, and suddenly we've had 3...or 4 if the one in the bathroom wasn't the one from my closet. Shudder.