Monday, December 10, 2012

Insect Pests

Insects are necessary for plant life to exist. From symbiotic relationships that benefit both plant and insect, to pollinating efforts, insects have their place. But on the other hand, that doesn’t mean we have to like them.

In fact, I really dislike them. At one time I had no feelings one way or the other. But in recent years, with spiders, ants, ticks and a host of other creepy-crawly critters gnawing on my poor old hide, I have had it.

And yes, I know that spiders are arachnids, a separate category. But for purposes of this conversation, I’m lumping them all into one, homogenous group: insects.

For the last five years, I have gotten tick bites in March. That used to be the month when glorious spring arrived and with the warm, southern breezes, also came a feeling of freedom. And that freedom was borne of knowing that it would be another month or more before the first biting insects showed up.

But no more. These disease-carrying deer tick are fully active in March. And each tick bite presents not just the problem of Lyme disease, the bites themselves take a long time to go away…as in years. I’m still scratching a tick bite on my thigh that I got in March, 2010.

Spiders live in my house (they come in on firewood) and they purposely and with malice aforethought, attack me in my sleep. I have slapped myself awake, only to find a squashed spider in bed with me. Yekkk!

Wasps and hornets build their nests in the eaves of my cottage, in the barn and in my woodshed. Every year, one of these aggressive beasts nails me. And every year, I become more intolerant of bee stings. My physiology has changed and now I become swollen and experience shortness of breath. Benadryl has become a household staple.

So with all of this, now I see that “winter moths” are descending upon Maine en mass. Who ever heard of “winter moths?” I certainly didn’t. On the other hand, I never thought much about ticks, either, not until perhaps 10 years ago.

I know this post sounds sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it has a serious tone. Insects such as emerald ash borer and wooly adelgid are already a serious threat to our forests. And now winter moths are here to destroy the trees (hardwoods and fruit trees) that emerald ash borers and wooly adelgids can’t be bothered destroying.

Again, I write in a semi-humorous vein, but there is nothing funny about this. My thoughts now are, “what’s next?” Would it come as much of a surprise to learn that still another as-of-yet unknown insect pest has invaded the Pine Tree State?

As for me, I can’t see much hope for stopping any of this, a pessimistic, but honest point of view.  

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