Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Insects: The Mathews County Edition

The photo above is from the observation deck at New Point Light, on a day that found me running through swamps and briar patches in search of a decent shot of the lighthouse. Instead what I found was swamps and briar patches, an ancient graveyard and chiggers. And swamps.

Chiggers are a story for another day, but they do provide a nice segue way for a discussion of another Mathews County freak of nature nuisance, the "over sized, killer mosquito."

The other day I was perusing the web for information on the lighthouse and discovered this: http://www.newpointcomfort.com/. I'd come across it before but never lingered very long.

The site contains a wealth of information relating to the construction of the lighthouse, including the excerpt below, which in spite of all appearances was not written by a woman with insect paranoia and hysteria me:

Two hurricanes did pass northeast along the Atlantic Seaboard in August 1803 and September 1804 producing violent gales upon the lower Chesapeake. Another, in October 1804 passed directly over the Chesapeake Bay with Force 6 winds before turning nontropical and tracking northward dumping over two feet of snow in New England. Burroughs most likely rode this storm out on the mainland and returned after it had passed.

They also had to endure the conditions that existed beside a thriving salt marsh habitat. "It is home to a variety of aggressive stinging and flesh-eating insects that prey upon their human host. Vast numbers of gnats can erupt from the swamp on still mornings and nights graying the sky in a swarming cloud. They burrow under the clothing and into the hair on the head.

There is also a species of mosquito, larger than average, that can walk upon the skin undetected before it strikes. Biting flies in great variety prey here, some growing to several inches in length. They buzz about the head relentlessly before biting with such voracity as to cause a person to lose their grip or drop what they are carrying in order to swat at the beast."

Three things:

First, the "Burroughs" referenced above is Elzy Burroughs, kin to the one and only Ann Marie aka Re ,who today lives just a hop, skip and a jump (with a cartwheel thrown in for good measure) from the lighthouse her (great-great?) grandfather built. Mr. Burroughs was also appointed the first keeper.

Second, Hallelujah, I feel vindicated. Even centuries ago the mosquitoes and horseflies on steroids were causing people to swat the air and hop up and down like they didn't have any sense. It's not just me. Amen.

Third, Dear Blog Fest Attendees, be sure to bring armored tanks your strongest wine insect repellent.

Speaking of which, Blog Fest is less than two months away...

20 comments:

nativedevil said...

CBW,
Just had to let you know that today is our 24th anniversary. We got married at St. Paul UMC at Susamn, and our dinner/reception/dance was at your favorite place, the Islander. Good times!

foolery said...

Happy anniversary to Mr. & Mrs. nativedevil!

If it makes you feel any better, CBW, and why would it, I keep getting SLUGS in my shower -- yes, SLUGS. Cute little guys only an inch or so long, but still? SLUGS. And there is a black widow I cannot kill who lives right where I put my feet when I brush my teeth. Therefore my teeth are now rather green and I have a collection of sticks and boards in my bathroom, but the widow lives on.

Not exactly insects, but still.

Annie said...

Happy Anniversary to the native devils.

My sister in Melbourne had millipedes climbing the walls in their bathroom after the rain this year!

We had gnats/mites/bedbugs biting the girls in Nth Qld when we were up there recently.

Have mozzies toads here. Ugh.

Beware virus carrying insects!!

oh and I have another thrombosis in my other leg. arghhh. Bother.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mr. and Mrs. Nativedevil, 24 years is a major achievement. (To respond to your other post - I sure do remember Watergate, and would love to hear the story of how he got you fired.)

Foolery -Slugs are awful. Spiders, I'm reasonably OK with, but not black widows in my bathroom. No.

Annie-Millipedes are nasty, nasty, nasty, ansty creatures! CAn you tell I don't like them? So sorry to hear of your thrombosis - you seem to be juggling one thing after another these days.

Dashing off to work now in the pouring rain. Pouring.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

FOOLERY, Wha...? Slugs belong outside, not in your shower, and a BLACK WIDOW?? Holy crap. I coexist more or less peacefully with many varieties of spiders, living as I do in a woodsy area, but THAT would be a deal-breaker for me.

Am stockpiling all varieties of bug repellent starting.... NOW.

Mathews Mark said...

24 years its time for newer models just kidding hope you have 50 more. On the question of eating crab balls yesterday. You need a special small fork and someone who knows how to clean them just right. I like mine pickled most people like them raw it is and aquired taste. A little Grey Poupon is allwas good (pardon me but do you have any Grey Poupon). On the subject of bugs (is this what this blog has come to sence I have been gone? LOL) THERE IS NO BUGS IN MATHEWS PLEASE COME HERE AND SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY!!! this is the first sentence on the new tourist flyer the board of supervisors is sending out. HE HE HE. Ok got to go price some doors for CBW and clean some crab balls. Love yall MM

Jamie said...

Do crab balls and mountain oysters have any similarities?

I'm pretty sure the mosquito is the VA state bird. And I'm pretty sure most are the size of a Blue Heron and have been known to carry away small dogs and children.

Mental P Mama said...

Did you ever put nail polish on chigger bites? Ahhh the memories....buying loads of Off....

Trisha said...

Yikes! I don't know about visiting your neck of the woods now if that kind of "Critter" is waiting!

Caution Flag said...

Happy anniversary to the nativedevils!!

I saw my first 2010 mosquito yesterday ... in my shower. NOT a good sign.

Breezeway said...

Uhhh...I'm sorry, but I will take small animal sized mosquitoes and fiddler crabs etc ANY day over slugs in my shower! Just the thought grosses me out. I'm sure you've already heard the beer remedy Foolery, but I would require a case of beer for ME just to get in that shower =)
And I swear to you...dryer sheets rubbed on exposed skin, tucked under ball caps, tied to a belt loop, whatever, work amazingly well to repel mosquitoes. Go figure!

Mathews Mark said...

MMMMM slugs make a fine meal!!!My mosquito's have ticks on them.

Anonymous said...

MM - you are priceless =)

Breezeway said...

I'm not anonymous DAMN IT!!!! I put my "name" on the above comment!

foolery said...

When the mosquitos start wearing saddles, MM, I'm out.

No, Breezeway, I don't know of any beer cure (other than the obvious). This slug thing is new to me. The black widow thing is, unfortunately, old hat, although we have the house sprayed EVERY MONTH! And they like only my room, as far as I can tell. Super.

Bayman said...

Our mosquitoes over here on the island have tankers to take the blood back to the nest. But Poquoson was the worst. Playing football over there one night, it looked like clouds of smoke around the lights.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Foolery! Set out a small saucer with a bit of beer in it. (Try to leave some in your next bottle of Sierra Nevada... that should do the trick.) The slugs swim up to it - "ummmmmm beeeeeer" and fall in and perish. I suppose there are wosre ways to go...

I always giggle at that scene from "It's A Bug's Life" where the slug orders a margarita and when he takes his first sip, he says, "I SAID NO SALT!"

Country Girl said...

I'm bringing my favorite bug repellent. And I can't wait.

Ann Marie said...

I counted the greats one time but it is more than two. if you are trying to find me don't bother a swarm of gnats with two skeeters thrown in came along and drug me out to the island.. I am going to live here.

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