Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The not-so-great outdoors

Memorial Day marks the "unofficial" beginning of summer in the US. It is, indeed, warming up - from time to time - in New Hampshire. With it come the warnings - West Nile fever, encaphalitis, Lyme disease, rabies... Yep, you have to be wary when you go outside here.
I say this every year: Australia has an unfair rap as the dangerous creatures country.
I can't believe the way Americans cringe and squeal with horror at our snakes and spiders when they have a ubiquity of their own nasties.
Mosquitos are are a serious worry. So here we go again with the summer warnings and instructions. "Wear DEET and keep covered". DEET is the only chemical which really does it for mosquitos and ticks. A lot of so-called repellents are sold, but horrible old DEET is the effective one which does not so much repel the insects are confuse their sense of where we are. Yes, it is unpleasant to put this stuff on your skin - but it is a small price compared to the alternative of West Nile fever or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Bird-borne West Nile has been growng more common leaving a lot of dead crows and sick people in its wake.
As for the bloody ticks. As if it is not bad enough that those repugnant little blood-suckers can give one Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted ningnong, this summer comes with the announcement that a new, really, really wicked disease is being spread through New England by the tiny wee deer tick. It is called Babesiosis - and it is a malaria-like disease which makes your spleen swell until you can barely breathe, among other things.
Any idea I had of lying on my belly to get a macro shot of insects like the one above - is just a no-no-no-goer!! I won't be lying in any long grass until I am somewhere where the wildlife is safe - like Australia.

1 comment:

meeyauw said...

You're right: why are we squeamish about snakes when the stuff we can get here is carried by animals we can barely even see?

That photo is great. I've never seen bugs like that!