May 28, 2014

The beasts of Florida

I am fond of referring to Florida as, "The Land of Many Creatures." I love to tell non-residents how there are bugs the size of rodents here, rodents the size of small dogs, alligators, snakes and bears. Oh. My.

No, really!

One of the things we definitely have in abundance here are bugs. There are ways to deal with them, and with the exception of the year we had to wage war against the sugar ants that wanted to move in to our kitchen, we really haven't had many issues.

Then there is the yellow fly.

Some years, we don't even notice them. Others, we are unable to venture outside without being swarmed. Apparently, this summer is going to fall into the latter category. And I am not happy about it.

I have developed a very strong hatred for these little blood suckers. They are, in my opinion, the Spawn of Satan. Don't just take my word for it. The University of Florida Entomology and Nematology department says this about them:

The female is one of the most serious biting fly pests... It attacks vigorously, and the bites usually are painful, causing large and persistently itching swellings... All exposed parts of the victim's body may be attacked, and since the flight is rather quiet, a person is not aware of the flies until the sharp pain of the bite is felt.

In a word, they are nasty.

Over the holiday weekend we attended a birthday party for a classmate of SB's. It was held at one of our favorite local parks. We were all looking forward to it. We hadn't really noticed any issues with the dreaded yellow flies before that day. Little did we know what we were walking into.

I was wearing capris, and ended up with more than 10 massive welts on my calves. I'm going to spare you photographs, because really, who wants to see that? (If the answer is you, feel free to Google it. You'll find lots of disgusting images.) They itch more than anything I can ever remember enduring before. It wakes me in the middle of the night. And nothing has helped.

I have been in agony.

And we basically haven't been able to safely step outside since. The other night, hubby went to walk the dog. A few minutes later he came running back, followed closely by a swarm of the little blood suckers, some of which managed to get into the house.

He killed them.

There are many things I love about living in Florida. And having a house that backs up to woods has some really cool advantages. Normally I have a live-and-let-live policy toward nature. But these nasty yellow flies are threatening my plans to revamp our deck into a fun summertime space we can enjoy for the next several months.

They must be stopped.

DEET has been proven to be somewhat effective, but I don't want to use it, especially around my child. So I will be making a number of these sticky ball traps and hanging them from the trees around our deck. I am at war. And I will take no prisoners.

Speaking of my plans, take note of our blank slate:

I have big plans for this space. Look for a reveal in the very near future!

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