Saturday, June 20, 2009

More on Cape Cod Ticks and Other Bugs, 2009

One out of three Internet searches, leading to my blog this spring, has been about bugs on Cape Cod: mosquitoes, bed bugs, deer ticks. For info on bed bug prevention, see my earlier blog on the subject. I can predict that there will be lots of mosquitoes in Wellfleet this summer, due to all the rain, so bring bug spray. Apparently,the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail already sports a cloud of mosquitoes, awaiting lunch. Everyone has been saying the ticks are also really bad. I had proof the other night. Energetic guests from New York included the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in their power schedule. After their departure, I remade the bed in Liberty Coin Suite, but did not vacuum the floor prior to sleep. In the morning, I found a nymph in the crook of my left arm. It must have come in on their clothing or purse and, by the time, it had made the trek up the bedpost, I was sleeping in the bed. Eek! Get the dreadful thing out! I careened into the hall and down the stairs, towards tweezers. Over to the window I sped for more light. Impossible to tell where the head was, so I grasped as best I could and pulled. Nymphs are so teensy-tiny that the result was less than perfect. From my sewing box came a needle to dig into my flesh. Tiny legs emerged. I applied alcohol but was not satisfied. When Sven got up, I had him dig around some more to be sure we had removed the head. Then, my friend Tracy Plaut took out a final leg with her dandy new TickedOff spoon, which you can order here. I now have a hole in my arm and much trepidation as to whether the tick had time to transmit Lyme. There is obviously less chance that a nymph would be carrying disease than a mature male or female deer tick, but the risk does exist. I always, always school guests on the danger ticks present, since I had Lyme three years ago. I had told the New York guests to be especially careful at the Wildlife Sanctuary, since deer ticks also travel on birds, but it is mighty hard to stop a speck the size of a poppy seed, in search of a first blood meal. Beware, beware! Would someone please invent a satisfactory way of combating ticks and a cure for Lyme disease?