As I look out of our window into the back garden, I see a small cloud of gnats.
The birds will be happy, but these flying pests get everywhere, and I hate it if they get indoors. At night, all you can hear is a demented buzz and then the smack of the swatter followed by a ‘yippo!’ thanks to Hubby’s successful backhand . We learned a long time ago that fly killer sprays don’t work. Bugs indoors really bug me.
We stopped going to one particular place to walk the dog because of these huge black long legged flying creatures that got in our hair and our clothes, forever dive bombing us along the open drainage ditch on a hot muggy day. It didn’t matter how much we flapped or waved our arms about, they never let up, if anything getting denser as we progressed.
Often referred to as midges or blackflies, gnats are actually a member of the mosquito family.
Bites from any of these ‘stingers’ often cause small lumps to form on the skin that swell and are usually very itchy. Tiger Balm or Vapour Rub are good anti-itching applications.
Nits, aka head lice, always make me shudder.
I cannot remember having them as a child, but I certainly remember children in my care having them!
We would all be lined up like a conveyor belt in the bathroom, one washing, one waiting and one rinsing, including us adults. It was just one of those things, after all, nits prefer clean hair, so it wasn’t as if we were dirty, but that didn’t really help once the stigma (like the nits) got attached.
As fast as I’d clear them, the kids would go stay with their mother and bring them back into the house. She wasn’t very happy when I told her she’d have to do something about it, especially as it turned out her nephews and nieces were all infested, shared beds and pillows, and well, you can guess the rest.
After the fourth ‘visitation’, in a fit of frustration, anger and despair, I burnt their bedding, dumped the pillows, and invested in new mattresses. Everyone now sported short haircuts, including myself, and finally we were nit free.
My ex boss used to be a hairdresser, and she had a very well to-do client come into the salon for a shampoo and set. Apparently this woman was dripping diamonds and oozing Chanel.
The young girl who washed her hair ran screaming into the staff room. My boss came out and had the unpleasant task of telling the woman that she had nits. In fact, her whole scalp was alive with them (shiver) .
What has triggered this post though is squirrels (yeah, a very loose connection, but that’s the way my mind is working today) .
On our walk in the woods today there were certainly a lot of squirrels scrabbling up the trees. Actually, we haven’t seen so many at one time in all the time we’ve been going there.
It could be because they are setting up new dreys since last year’s clearance, or that the first litter of the year (2 – 4 young, with litters Jan – Feb and in the summer) are now old enough at 2 ½ months to be on their own.
Squirrels collect nuts (hence I suppose the expression squirreling away) in the warmer months to tide them over winter as they don’t hibernate. They don’t generally miss wild nuts so it’s unusual to see any mature on the trees, and hazelnuts are the most important nut for foragers because of their quick growth and high yields.
Add the fact that they grow wild anywhere where they’ve been used for hedging or coppicing, then here in the UK, that’s practically everywhere!
Now my Mum was the one for wild nuts. She would pick, strip and eat them (when she had her teeth) by the handful. Excellent roughage she’d say.
Maybe she was a squirrel in a former life.