During the summertime there are a lot of bugs that bite

Published 7:53 pm Sunday, July 7, 2013

We all remember the different little bugs that like to bite people and draw out some blood. Probably the first ones we knew of were red bugs. Those little insects were in the bushes around the yard, in the grass and any place where animals and people happened to be. They would bury themselves in the soft skin around the waist, under the arms or anyplace they could get.

They were so small no one even noticed them until it got to be a lump that itched very much. When scratching didn’t seem to help we would get to looking and could see the little red ball of life that had grown about double its size with the blood it had taken in.

Along the same line of creatures was the tick, sometimes called the cow tick. They were much bigger than red bugs but they could bite and dig into the animals, especially cows and horses. Mother Nature supplied a plan to deal with the ticks on animals and that was some energetic birds that we grew up calling cowbirds. They were medium sized birds that would come land on the back of a horse or a cow and ride with them while they picked the ticks off and ate them — a strange selection for a diet.

There were several types and sizes of the ticks and some were really big, but the really worrisome ones were the little ones that lived in all the wooded areas in our part of town. A lot of hunters come in with some attached and their dogs always had some.

There were other things that liked to bite and suck blood from humans and animals, including something we called the yellow fly, similar to the horse fly, just smaller. They had a proper name but we only knew them as the yellow fly and you really knew when one of these bugs took a bite on you — it hurt.

Now it seems we have been blessed with yet another type of insect that lives off of bites on humans and animals — the Asian tiger mosquito, a very large flying mosquito that is very active. If you consider the size and weight of this one compared to the regular mosquito it may be why it is called a tiger, being it is some 20 times bigger, and it is active from daylight until darkness. Some say it is very aggressive and that’s why it is called a tiger. Some literature says they range from about a quarter of an inch in length to a whole inch. There was one caught and saved right here in Bogalusa, about the size of a wasp, but I’m sure there are smaller species of them.

These insects were introduced to our country in 1985 in some old truck tires that were delivered to ports in California and some in Houston. Since that time they have spread across the southern part of our country on up into New Jersey and neighbor states. They only need about a cup of water to lay their eggs in and a place where the newly hatched ones can grow into adults.

Most people around here haven’t seen any of them, but they are still in our area, although maybe the spraying our city crews have been doing has discouraged them. People in the Carolinas and New Jersey say they are the most aggressive insects they have seen and one lady in North Carolina said she and her son were bitten 50 times in just a few minutes. They were so bad in her area that she sold her house and moved to another state. She also noted that they didn’t bother her husband very much because they didn’t like hairy arms or legs. Also, some states with fires and floods are not bothered with them. In addition to humans, they bite dogs and cats and other animals they can find.

May the Good Lord continue to help us live peacefully and safely. God bless and help you all enjoy life.