I’M BUGGED

Something bit me last night in my sleep and I have the bite-marks to prove it. Yech. Waking up to find that some small insect has been feasting on you while you thought you were peacefully sleeping is one of the creepiest things ever. To make matters worse, this morning over coffee I felt something tickle my neck. I figured it was nothing so I did nothing. Then I felt it again. So I reached up and felt…a nasty, tiny little bug ON MY NECK. I screamed. I think I actually killed it with my scream. It just freaked me right out. Then I felt like there were bugs all over me. I kept twitching and feeling my neck for more invaders. It definitely hampered my peaceful morning coffee time.

This just isn’t right

This is what I hate about spring and summer. Bugs. I always forget that there is even such a thing as a bug during the winter. I live on three acres with lots of trees and when spring comes, so does the weirdest assortment of many-legged, six-eyed, creeping, crawling, flying, darting bugs. I would have never guessed that Missouri is home to the creatures that greet me when I come home at night. Brazil, maybe. Not Grandview. I try to get my key in the door as quickly as possible while moths and other various winged-creatures are making a bee-line for my head – specifically my eyes and mouth. It is just disgusting.

Death by Midgies

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and Lake Erie was right at the end of our street – about 100 yards from our house. The Lake attracts all sorts of species of bugs and such, the main offender being “the midgie.” Shudder. I cannot describe to you the horror of these creatures when they gather. Picture the scene: You’re sitting outside in the backyard on the deck, enjoying the summer air of the early evening when all the sudden you hear this strange sound. “Is that a plane?” you wonder. “Is Bill mowing his lawn?” And then you turn and looking up, you see it. A cloud of thousands of tiny midgies, big, black and humming, moving, swaying overhead. It was enough to make you lose your lunch. My house (which my parents still live in, 31 years later) has big bushes in front of it, which flank the front door. They’re about as tall as me. The midgies love to live in these bushes but as soon as something disturbs them, like someone opening the screen door on the front porch, they instantly and mercilessly swarm. We used to count to three, hold our breath and make a mad dash for it. Inevitably you’d get one in your mouth, or worse, your eye.

Hallelujah! Let the Peasants Rejoice!

With the advent of bug season, I decided to do a little research on some commonly known “facts” that I hear all the time about spiders. I am very pleased to report that the following are simply myths. 🙂

#1. The average American has about 4 spiders crawl into their mouth a year. FALSE! YAY! The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington, affirms that “For a sleeping person to swallow even one live spider would involve so many highly unlikely circumstances that for practical purposes we can rule out the possibility. No such case is on formal record anywhere in scientific or medical literature.” YAY! YAY! YAY! That is all I have to say. I always hated thinking about that.

#2. Spiders drink the moisture from sleeping humans’ mouths. FALSE! This is disgusting. I picture a group of rowdy-looking spiders gathered round my gaping mouth around say, 3am, like some buds hanging out at the local pub, just sipping away and living it up. It’s just too gross to be true. Again the museum states, “this myth has no basis in fact.”

#3. Daddy-longlegs are the most poisonous spider in the world but they cannot bite humans because their fangs are too small.That is a full-fledged Urban Legend, with no basis in fact whatever. This legend is so widespread that many people believe it who should really know better, including some teachers and TV documentary producers.” This one was always interesting to me, but I was never scared of it.

“What? The Daddy Longlegs in the most poisonous spider in the world? Why are standing here so close to one? Let’s get out of here!!!”
“Yeah, it’s true, but it’s impossible for it to bite you.”
“Oh.”

I mean, why is that scary?

That does it for my bug rantings this season. I’m going to try to not complain about the bugs anymore till next year so I had to get it all out in this post. You know, it’s kind of ironic, but my dad’s nickname for me is “bug.” What’s even more ironic is that I love when he calls me that. 🙂

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  1. Wow, lucky for you Hitchcock produced “the Birds” – not, “the Bugs”.

    Are you referring to the “canadian soldiers” that hit the north shore about 1 month from now?

    Apparently the bugs out there aren’t observing the GBF… bummer. CBB

  2. benjaminwood

    WOWIE! Sarah, cannot stand spiders or any other crawly thing… so her knight in shining armor has to save her all the time! That’s Me!

  3. Retroman – You’ve got it – it’s just about that traumatic. If he wanted to, Hitchcock could’ve found the entire cast for “the bugs” right outside my house.

    Ben – I didn’t know you were a knight! JAWSOME!

  4. Retroman – yeah, those midgies are also called Canadian Soldiers, because they come from the north and they invade! Each midgie only lives about a day or two because they don’t eat. Weird. But they reproduce rapidly. They lay their eggs on the water!

    And yes, it’s a shame the bugs are not observing GBF. If only they knew the rewards of fasting! 🙂

  5. benjaminwood

    I know, it is yet another amazing thing that really awesome super cool Ben Wood can do. I am a drummer and a Knight and a Chef and a Dog Whisperer.

  6. And a hermit. You are many different things and I think you should dress accordingly from time to time. Do it! I have a Dog Whisperer costume you can borrow.

  7. Ugh. I must agree that bugs are disgusting. I have a far worse story, though.

    One morning, as I was eating breakfast, I felt a tickle on my chest. I felt my shirt, and thought a had some kind of small cotton ball in there. So I reached in and pulled it out. When I looked down, I saw I was holding a spider roughly the size of of the palm of my hand. I jumped, and threw the spider as far away from me as I could. For months, I was paranoid whenever getting dressed.

  8. Victoria

    wow…i really bought into the the daddy-longlegs legend. yikes…i feel so violated. jerks.

    i have a beautiful freshly blooming tree right outside my porch. i love to sit out there and enjoy the aroma with my freshly brewed coffee and my bible. the big bees (the kind can sting forever) found out about my special spot and will feast on my tree in groups of 100’s or more. i’m not sure how long they live but from my perspective…they never die. they hover over my head reminding me that no matter how small they might be…it is them that actually own the territory. so much for having dominion over the land…

  9. Hmm…so glad to hear that the “swallowing spiders while you sleep is FALSE!” Though, I actually have woken up a couple times choking and I just knew it was because I swallowed a spidy…wait, are you sure your source on this one is reliable??

    And as to bugs bitin’ you when you are sleeping…I have had the unfortunate experience of getting fleas twice in Bogota, Colombia. Yuck! Lots of little bugs bitin’ your tummy and legs as you sleep. And those buggers are hard to get rid off! Eww!

    And why, by the way, do we even need to have so many bugs on this earth!?! I think simply ants would do just fine.

  10. Idhrendur – what in the world? Is that normal in California to have spiders the size of small rodents crawling around? That would have been too much for me to handle. You definitely win. 🙂

    Victoria – hey you! Glad you piped in. Are you a lurker normally? You are totally busted. 🙂 I believed the daddy long legs thing too. It sounded real. So with these bees…I bet that puts a damper on the ‘relaxing on the porch’ thing, huh? Bummer. Do you remember hearing about the beehive in the One Thing Intern guys apartment? It was up in the ceiling and when they exterminated all the bees, they removed 50 lbs. of honey from the ceiling. 50 lbs! It was right in the ceiling in the living room. The bees would crawl out through a hole to outside and swarm around the balcony. The guys would open the sliding door, spray them with some aresol stuff and then throw a match into the swarm and incinerate bees by the hundreds. Maybe you could try that. 🙂

  11. Caranicole – Are you serious about waking up choking on a spider? Man, you guys have some crazy stories. I would’ve passed out! That is over the top. And fleas! Ug! I have no idea why we need bugs. I’m tempted to believe they are part of the fall. Do you think Noah brought them on the ark? I would’ve left all those suckers behind!

  12. Victoria

    No actually i just found your blog. i bet you visited me without a comment though….uh huh. but yeah…i’ll be back regularly. i like what i see here.

    the bees…there is no hive…they just fly around on the tree and me cuz i have flesh. 🙂

  13. Victoria – Yeah, you busted me. I lurked. and do. I’m glad you’ll be around – I like you.

    Those bees are creeping me out. Keep them away from your flesh. 🙂

  14. Victoria

    i like you too. yep. and i’ll never forget when…as my core leader…you told me to do drugs. yeah i’m gonna bust you online. oh. that sucks. just kidding.

  15. Wow. That hurts. But look, you turned out great anyways! I guess I was right. But never, ever do drugs again. 🙂

  16. Victoria

    No pain no gain. No for real…didn’t mean to hurt you. And no worries…you were right…i got it out of my system. 😉 And yes…i turned out great. No more remember whens…

  17. No, definitely not normal! There have been some places I’ve lived with spider infestations (like my parent’s house at times), but its not true of most places that are kept up.

    There was also that time I was doing relief work in Mississippi. A bunch of us were cleaning debris from a yard when some insect living in the debris started swarming. The other half of our team had all the bug spray, so we were swatting and working for over an hour. Everyone else had massive welts on their arms and legs for weeks. Somehow, I was fine.

  18. Ug – bugs in Mississippi! My sister lived there for a while and told us about the huge beetle-like bugs that would cover the ground for a couple weeks in the summer – you had to step on them and crunch them walking around cuz they were just everywhere. Disgusting! 🙂

    Sounds like you are naturally bug repellant. 🙂 I’ve heard some blood types repel bugs and some attract them. My sister-in-law is bug repellant. They just don’t bother her. That’s a good feature to have built right into yourself!

  19. Mostly true, but I do seem to find what seem to be spider bites every few months. Spiders…my nemesis. *shakes fist*

  20. benjaminwood

    MOMO, what kind of outfit does a dog whisperer wear???? if you have a picture i would love to see it.

  21. Idhrendur – I thought my random bites were spiders too, and then I read this, also from the Burke musuem of Natural History and Culture:

    Myth: A spider bit me while I was asleep. (No, I didn’t see any spider, but what else could it have been?)

    Fact: The notion that “if you didn’t see what bit you, it was a spider” is (to me) one of the strangest of the widespread spider superstitions. Even some physicians, who really should know better, accept it! I have no idea how this belief originated, but it is quite false.

    Here are some facts: Unless you are sleeping on the basement floor, a spider might wander onto your bed as often as twice a year. Not every night! If you take elementary precautions like not letting the blankets or bedspread touch the floor or walls, the incidence of spiders on the bed will be effectively zero. If a spider does get on a bed, usually no bite will result. Spiders have no reason to bite humans; they are not bloodsuckers, and are not aware of our existence in any case. If you roll over onto a spider, most likely the spider will have no chance to bite.

    True spider bites (which are rare events) occur when a spider is trapped inside clothing or when someone foolishly puts a hand or other body part in a spider habitat without looking, or even more foolishly slaps at a spider that is crawling on them. Bites noticed in the morning are generally caused by bloodsucking insects such as fleas, bedbugs, kissing bugs, lice, or assorted flies; less commonly by mites or ticks. Mechanical irritation, allergies and various disease conditions (see this article for a partial list) also cause bitelike sores.

    Myth: How could insects be biting me? I see only spiders in the house!

    Fact: Ah, but spiders are exclusively predators. Essentially all the food a spider consumes in its lifetime is other small living creatures, mainly insects. House spiders may be more conspicuous than household insects, but they could not live there without insects to eat. And if they were not there, there’d be a lot more insects!

    What do you think?

  22. Ben – What does a Dog Whisperer outfit look like? It looks JAWSOME! BOO YA!

  23. Victoria

    Man molly, i’m not sure I like your myth busting sessions…as in…I LIKE MY DELUSIONS!! lice??? gross…i’d rather it be a spider!

  24. Victoria – Me too! Lice – Grody. Thanks for giving me an excuse to say “grody!” I love that word cuz it’s so gross and yet so fulfilling.

  25. Hrm. Well, I guess I’ll have to generalize my statements now. Some kind of insect bites me in my sleep every so often.

  26. benjaminwood

    i can’t quite figure out if you are making fun of my trademarked phrases or if you love them? i hope it is the second!

  27. Idhrendur – don’t let me pressure you into being general! 🙂 If you want to be specific, claim that spider bite and I’ll back you up!

    Ben – Are you kidding?!?!? I LOVE them. I want to MARRY them. I’m just happy that you are letting me jump on the train and use them with you!

  28. benjaminwood

    You will have to pay me if you use them publicly seeing that they are trademarked! But i would let you use them at a discount price! I love exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Can I get a cut? After all, I’m like your trademark phrase promoter! Free adverstising! 🙂

  30. Last summer the dogs got fleas and, being generous, gave them to us. We bathed the dogs twice a week and gave them flea collars. No change. We were still getting eaten alive. We bug-bombed the house. The fleas just invaded again.

    I started spraying myself with bug spray at night (the stuff hunters use … like 40% DDT). My PJs would stink, but at least I could get some sleep. We finally bombed the house again and that took care of it. Must’ve been a month of flea-bitten misery altogether.

    Then I woke up a few days ago and there was a bug crawling across my arm…

  31. Ducky – Yech! Let’s hope it’s not happening again!

  32. benjaminwood

    I guess i can let you in on the money, get this though someone actually asked me what Jawsome means… i said it is my term for awesome just with a j on the front of it… also it is an obscure reference to Street Sharks, but who is counting??

  33. Ben – Thanks for cutting me a deal. I can see how someone wouldn’t know what “Jawsome” means… I mean, it’s so cryptic. 🙂 I’m glad you broke it down for them. I guess not everyone is from Fission City.

  34. emilymea

    My worst experience with bugs was when I was teaching riflery at a summer camp in Minnesota. I was out on the gun range at least 6 hours a day and it was in the “buggy-est” part of the camp. You see, we not only had misquitos – we had biting flies. At least once a day I would look down and notice my arm or leg was bleeding becuase some silly biting fly got me. (The misquitos were not that big of a deal becase I’m from Louisiana – just don’t eat bananas and they won’t get you too bad – it was the flies that bothered me the most.)

    Oh yeah, and bug repellant did not work for the flies. I probably tried five brands during my 2 months there to no avail. It got to the point that I often had to wear long pants and long sleeves to keep the bug bites down.

  35. Emily – I’m convinced – there is nothing good about bugs. Except they keep the ecosystem in balance. Other than that – nothing! 🙂




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