... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

b is for bugs

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ok so maybe at this point you're thinking: aren't you Australian?  Don't you come from the country that has more deadly critters than anywhere else in the world? Well, yes I am and that's exactly why I have to do this post!  Australian critters get a bad wrap because they're deadlier but I must say they're almost cute in comparison to some of America's bugs!  I want to take this chance to talk about the American bugs that I've personally come across and briefly mention the vast difference in pesticide use.

Tarantula:
Let me start by saying, despite seeing the deadly 'terrifying' redbacks on an almost daily basis in QLD, nothing has scared me more than seeing a tarantula! It was in the desert over Christmas when I encountered one and I remember how my chest seized at the sight of it!  At least the size of my hand, complete with thick and clearly visible hairs!  EW I can't even write this without cringing. I guess everything is bigger in the US...

the exact one we saw! the 'rio grande gold' pic thanks to thehibbitts.net
Which brings me to: the daddy long legs!  
Actually here they're called grand-daddy long legs and they're bigger than Aussie ones as well as DISGUSTING!  Australian ones are very unoffensive (and seriously cute) in comparison.

pic thanks to templebiomimetics.com

Next has to be scorpions.  
I'm oddly not as grossed out by these and almost feel proud that I've had a personal encounter - once again in the desert over Christmas.  These guys are somehow entrancing to watch (from a distance of course), the most beautiful of all the insects (or are they spiders...?)

the 'Arizona bark' that we saw, pic from wikipedia.com

Chiggers:
The next bug I have to mention is one that I've only recently become aware of, since a colony of them have made themselves at home on our outdoor dining table!  They're called chiggers and can be equivocated to Aussie sandflies but again, are WAY more disgusting.  These guys are the size of a tick but look and act like crabs!  Luckily they're bright red and easy to spot - their one redeeming quality.  They burrow into your flesh and lay eggs that then hatch and eat their way out - all the while causing irritation, unbearable itch and sometimes infections or allergic reactions.

pic from chigarid.com
Then there's ticks.  
American ticks are different to Aussie ones - and there are more common varieties.  So far I've seen four different types - the deer tick (which is giant), the white grass tick (which grows to the size of a grape but fills with white liquid as it sucks your red blood? (Go figure) and makes you nauseated), the cayenne tick (has a star on it's back) and lastly a microscopic sized black tick that even when full of blood is only the size of a grain of salt (these guys were all over Baxter's snout once - I counted more than 60!).

Hornets.  
No more needs to be said here - other than plenty of people are allergic to these scary giants.

Just like the ones I used to see in Atlanta!
pic from theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com

Now about pesticides:
The most remarkable difference is the use of pesticide in domestic situations.  Back in Aus, despite the dangers that lurk, I'd never heard of anyone spraying their yard against bugs (other than fire ants) and at school we just had to live with ants that occasionally bit us on the sports ovals.  But here in America it's a very common practice to spray the crap out of every patch of grass likely to make contact with humans!  I'm talking homes, schools, city parks, even popular walkways in certain cities have pesticide warning flags billowing the beware announcements.  Nobody tries coexisting with bugs - they just eradicate them.  I prefer our Australian approach of common sense that enables people to live alongside all the world's most deadliest critters simply by shaking out shoes before putting them on or checking the undersides of outdoor furniture before taking a seat in respect and caution.

pic from raginggardeners.com

Pic thanks to myveronanj.com

13 comments

  1. Chiggers??? Ick...and all that spraying...I'll take the shoe shaking, checking for red backs before sitting and stomping in grass to frighten off snakes anytime.

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    1. Oh yes I'd forgotten about the snakes! Aussie snakes are more aggressive but hearing a rattle snake nearby sends chills down your spine. This happened to me not long ago and I said to Will 'if you hear something that sounds like a pebble rattling in an empty cola can what does that mean?' and he froze and asked if I could SERIOUSLY hear it and I said 'yeah so?' and he told me it was a rattlesnake! We got the heck outta there as fast as we could!

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  2. Bugs can also be wonderful, like butterflies. I agree completely about the spraying. It seems the pesticide industry has a strangle hold on us. Herbicides also get sprayed everywhere. Can't have a weed, now can we? All that stuff is poison. It doesn't hurt us (so much) just because we are way bigger. My yard is proudly pesticide and herbicide free.
    Liz at Bead Contagion

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    1. I completely agree Liz! Because of our two small dogs we don't spray anything either. We have used an organic weedkiller in the past but found our hands did a much better job:) and my husband found us an organic bug spray (tea tree oil, thyme oil, sesame oil and a few other ingredients) that got rid of those chiggers in a flash. Now I like to sit out there with a coffee and admire our blue dragonflies or bumble bees... so relaxing!

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  3. I am always amazed at how bugs look beautiful in photographs! Until there's one looking at me face to face! :) That tarantula looks gorgeous!

    Decades ago we lived in a tiled roof house where there used to be hidden scorpions. Scary!

    Vidya
    Rocking the A to Z Challenge with Team Damyanti
    Counting Calories

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    1. Scorpions? OH NO! Did any creep out of the roof? Were they a deadly type?

      Oh my gosh I can't agree with that! I almost copied those pictures with my eyes closed because the mere sight of them makes me light headed. :( both my brother and I have a arachnophobia I think... he hates that giant spiders are featured in his fave movies and has to close his eyes!

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  4. I can't look! Even though looking at these pictures made me want to jump away from my screen, I still agree with you on the pesticides.

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    Replies
    1. HAHA. See what I wrote above to Vidya about pasting them in with my eyes closed lol. Thanks for reading :)

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  5. Ok I finally found the comment box :) I think other countries bugs are like other dogs poo - somehow your own is ok. I certainly prefer the aussie method of respecting their presence rather than total annihilation...

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    1. hahahahaha Ida I love your sense of humour! You're so right.

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  6. I love that I got an ad for Lowe's, featuring pesticide and rose fertilizer at the bottom of this post.

    I am a Northern transplant to the Southern US. I can't even identify the bugs down here. Ugh. Yuck. Chiggers are horrible. And my son wanted a cockroach for a pet. I much prefer the Daddy Longlegs of home.

    Rory
    Empire for a Blueberry

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    1. hehehe, that is too ironic! I guess the robots or whatever pick up on keywords... lol. I wish I didn't have ads but I have to justify all the time I spend on my blog NOT writing my novel to my husband somehow... :)

      I never thought about it before but of course due to the vast difference in climate your Northern insects would be different. I'm sure your shock has been as great as mine. How did you go talking your son out of THAT one? EW!

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  7. I agree wholeheartedly Lena! Aussie bugs are nowhere near as scary if I'm going by your descriptions above. If I saw one of those tarantulas I'd be on the first plane home. And as far as chiggers go... we don't have anything close to that. We have some pretty good marine life to make up for it I guess!

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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.

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