Don't get bugged
We all love living in Coolville, but sometimes the bugs tend to annoy. This little village of about 400 people is no different from the remainder of southwestern Ohio when it comes to insects. Here is interesting information guaranteed to gross you out while concurrently informing you: just like watching Congress pass laws.
You could enroll in bug studies at Ohio State University in Columbus, but this is much less time consuming and doesn't require federal aid. Commuting from Coolville might be problematic: round trip is about 200 miles. Plan to live on campus if possible rather than doing your homework while driving down the James A Rhodes Appalachian Highway.
Drop your boat into the Fourmile Creek or Hocking River for a leisurely afternoon of fishing, but be prepared for onslaughts of Black Flies. Adult flies chomp mercilessly on adult and child humans with the intent of drawing blood. Expect biting to occur during daylight hours: they lose interest in your flesh when the sun goes down.
Should you feel sorry for them? They only live for about 3 weeks and they rarely travel more than 10 miles from their watery birthplace. Fish dine on their eggs, laid close to running water to hopefully hatch in 4-5 days if the water remains at 70F or better. Mom is long gone by that time.
All ticks are parasites, feeding on the blood of animals. Nothing is more disgusting than bringing home your pure-bred collie after a fun day of chasing Frisbees at Forked Run State Park, only to find an engorged bloodsucker hanging off its neck. I use a hot match head to convince the bugger to drop off, but that's just me. Alcohol might also work, but not at the same time as the match.
Nobody has anything good to say about ticks. It's a shame that we are stuck with them. If bitten by one, save it. Mail it in for free disease testing. Send the live critter to:
The Ohio Department of Health
Zoonotic Disease Program
8955 E. Main St.
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Incidentally, zoonotic refers to diseases or ailments that can be transmitted from animals to people. Yes, I looked it up.
They like your mulch. Decaying leaves represent luxury homes to them. That's no big deal in the great outdoors, but if you bring home potted plants from the Parkersburg Home Depot (15 miles from Coolville), you may be lugging gnat larvae into your living room.
Yes, they do look like mosquitoes. These critters won't bother you all that much: aside from looking creepy, they will leave you alone unless you look like mulch. They only live 7-10 days anyway. Turn the house cat loose on them and their lifespan may be much shorter.
If you prefer a more aggressive approach, deploy sticky bug traps indoors and zappy bug electrocution contrivances outside. You might find these items at the Cool Spot Truck Stop (County Road 56 north of SR 32), but call ahead first.
It has 6 legs, but that's the least of your worries. It's only 1/20th of an inch long, so it fits easily into your most inconvenient places. What would be really cool is a 2" chigger that we could see and avoid: there might be a few of those in the Entomology Department at OSU, but Coolville is infested with the normally sized version.
What do they do? Chigger-based discomfort is hard to describe. You pretty much have to experience it to believe it. Technically they bite onto the pores of your skin. They hold on. Eventually your skin reacts negatively, relative to you. A rash ensues. Itching predominates. Life generally becomes barely tolerable, but no disease is transmitted.
The best way to avoid chiggers is to stay indoors. Resist the urge to visit the Coolville Public Library or attend the Athens County Fair. If you go outside, you will probably come in contact with leaves or grass or some other ostensibly harmless vegetation harboring chigger aggressors. Stay on pavement and don't touch anything green.
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