Friday, May 28, 2010

Cape Cod Bug Primer

Due to the early warmth and a rainy March, Cape Cod has a large number of creepy crawly creatures around to keep you itching during your spring getaway. Don’t forget to pack the calamine lotion and Deet. Or, be kind to the environment and your skin with a better product that works just as well: Organic Bite Blocker Xtreme Insect Repellent, all Natural, Deet-free. My son gave me a case. No, just kidding. He got some for his daughter, and I inherited the bottle when they left. Okay, here’s a rundown of what’s crawling in the grass and flying through the air this May and June in Wellfleet:

ANTS: Not fire ants, so no sweat. Wellfleet ants guard my peonies. Their smaller cousins come into the cottage if crumbs are left on the counter.

SPIDERS: Not as many spiders as usual, but then perhaps I have at last taken the lead in our ongoing battle?

BEES: Unfortunately, there are fewer honeybees around.

WASPS & HORNETS: We have none here, so I cannot give an update. I asked Therese at the fire station and she said there have been no reports of hornets’ nests since six years ago when one was removed from a path near Long Pond.

MOSQUITOES: Bad year for mosquitoes. They’re everywhere. I have even been bitten while standing in the sun.

FLEAS: No pets here, so no fleas.

TICKS: Yes, there are deer ticks. I would love to provide statistics about the number of new cases of Lyme Disease on Cape Cod in 2009, but the health department does not release such information. We advise guests to be on the lookout after walking in the woods and to always do a tick-check before bed.

BEDBUGS: The Wellfleet health agent sent around a warning again this spring. Bedbugs have made a comeback. They bite three times, the so-called breakfast, lunch and dinner bites. They stow away in suitcases. New York luxury hotels are in the midst of an epidemic. To avoid transporting bedbugs, keep luggage closed and on luggage racks. If you are bitten, tell your host, not Trip Advisor. Bedbugs are the bane of the modern innkeeper. Please do not bring any with you!

Which bugs bother you the most?