Tag archives for bugs

Summer – Week 3: Bees & Wasps

We took a break from our regular studies this week (all but math) and decided to study bees and wasps.

There are a lot of bees and wasps on our apartment complex’s property. We all despise them. We found something that looks like the start of a wasp nest in our backyard and thought it would be fun to study them (indoors). I found a bunch of resources and thought I’d share them. We’ve learned so much about them, and I think it has helped with the fear of bees. Now we only fear wasps. LOL

Online Research & Information
Everything About Bees – “Bee, common name for a winged, flower-feeding insect with branched body hairs.”

Everything About Wasps – ” Wasp, common name applied to most species of hymenopteran insects, except bees and ants. Insects known as wasps include the sawflies, the parasitic wasps, and the stinging wasps, which are the best known.”

Bees and Wasps – “The insects most beneficial to humans are found in the large insect order Hymenoptera. Not only are the bees and many of their relatives pollinators of flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables, but thousands of species of small wasps are parasites of other arthropods including pest insects. Without these parasites that limit the growth of insect populations, pests would overtake most crops.”

Africanized Honey Bees – “Africanized honey bees have moved into the Southwest and are here to stay. In addition to the safety issues that need to be addressed because of the defensiveness of these bees, honey bees are also fascinating subjects to study. These lesson plans were developed to familarize students with honey bees and bee safety issues through a variety of interesting activities.”

Various Bees – “There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. Bees live in colonies and there are three types of bees in each colony.”

Bee Identification

Stories
The Bees and Wasps, and the Hornets – Aesop’s Fable

Video
BBC Nature – Wonderful close up video of bumblebees. We learned a lot from the series of videos.

BBC Wasps – Video of wasps.

Vanishing of the Bees – You can stream the documentary online for $3.99. “Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.”

Silence of the Bees – “In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country.”

 

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Bed Bugs Out.

I have an update about my “biting” problem. Not bed bugs (TG!). I started to really wonder on Friday night (yes, this is how I spend my Friday nights) about some of the marks I had. Most of them are tiny and slightly red, but others were really bruised and looked like “hickies”. I decided that the bruised ones were that way because I was attacking my skin (scratching) when I first got them. Since then, I haven’t been scratching and all of the marks are small and don’t look as scary. So, that led me to think that maybe it was not bed bugs…but maybe fleas?

I rescued a kitten about 3 weeks ago. Brought her in, fed her, cleaned her up, flea treated her, then adopted her out after just a few days. BUT maybe she left behind some fleas (or eggs)? UGH!

Professor Google said that I should place a shallow pan of water in front of a bright lamp. Fleas will jump towards the light, fall in the water, and eventually drown. An hour or so passed with me and the kids constantly checking the water. After 2 hours, we saw carpet fibers in the water, but nothing else.

“How the heck did carpet get in the water?” I asked.

Taking a closer look, we noticed a tiny flea swimming away (yes swimming). That sucker was not drowning, so I flushed it.

We put the pan back, but that was all I needed to determine THIS was the cause of my itching. (There was another one in there Saturday morning.)

I debated how I was going to handle the problem, and only decided when I woke that next morning.

I treated the carpet with a powder that I needed to vacuum up and also purchased a spray for the furniture and other areas that couldn’t be reached. (Also had Off to protect me while I was doing it — *humph*)

So far nothing new, so hopefully I’ve cleared up THAT problem. Too bad I’ll probably be itching for another week or so. *sigh*

Friday was an equally busy day. I spent a lot of time in drugstores, license bureaus and the doctor’s office. SM had swollen lymph nodes in her neck the night before. I gave her some green tea and she felt better after a few minutes (the swelling really bothers her — doesn’t hurt, but is very uncomfortable).

The next morning she was fine upon waking, but while I was making breakfast she said her ear was burning and it was also sending some burning sensations down into her throat. This wasn’t the first time her ears bothered her. MOF, she had pressure and neck pain last week, but we thought it was a toothache or something similar.

I called the doctor and got a same day sick appt. I did NOT want to go to the doctor’s office with the flu around. But what could I do? The office had a half dozen kids sitting on the sick side looking MISERABLE. And no one on the well side. We sat on the sick side for about 3 minutes before saying, nu-uh…let’s go to the other side. We still were only about 25 feet away (around a lil’ bend). Not far enough for me. We didn’t have to wait too long.

The doctor was very cool. New doc for us. She looked in SM’s ears first, throat and then nose. She called me over to tell me to look. SM’s turbinates were swollen! That’s why she couldn’t breathe and it was causing her ears to block? Which caused the pressure and pain she felt. She also had some mild sinus pain. The doctor said all of this was caused by SM’s allergies. Possibly it was the cause of her headaches and dizziness/blurry vision she had throughout early summer. She was prescribed a steroid nasal spray for the swelling and the doctor advised us what medicines would help her best with her allergies.

Next step is to determine exactly what she’s allergic to so we can attempt to avoid it because I do NOT want her on a daily medicine (if possible).

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This Is Going To Make Me Sound Like A Nutjob, But I Don’t Care.

*Update*
3 of them have faded to a pinkish color and are smaller. Just 12 hours earlier they were dark purple. Healing fast. I’m still keeping my eye on the one with the halo.

♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥

So, all day I’ve been obsessing over these bites.

Because, like…what if they are bed bugs? Then I have to live with them into the complex decides to exterminate? No way. And I’ve read they are hard to get rid of. Very hard.

Last night (or this morning) I went to bed at 6AM and woke when my mother called me just a couple hours later. I couldn’t sleep thinking there may be bugs just waiting for me to doze off.

But then, what if I’m being silly? What if it’s not bed bugs? I mean, I haven’t seen ANY signs of them. But what else would explain the randomness of the bumps? By the way, a new one (actually 2 close together) popped up on my foot. I noticed the itching around 2AM. And I was wide awake and walking around. Did I get it the night before? During the day? I’m going nuts!!

On top of wondering HOW I got them, I’m wondering if they look bad. I have 4 (including the 2 new ones) that are only slightly red and are very small. But then there are 6 that were rather large. Yes, I measured them. They are all about 1/2 inch across. One of them has a flesh colored halo around it that measures 2 inches or so. The ones that I got the first night started to turn dark red/purple (like a bruise — I also bruise when giving blood). The very first one I got is already fading. There is one that is bright red (the one with the halo), but if it follows the same pattern as the others, it will turn dark and hopefully fade w/o scarring. Honestly, it looks like I have hickies on my legs. *sigh*

I have not allowed myself to scratch since yesterday. This has been very hard, but I’ve stayed armed with alcohol, cortisone and Benadryl. Also, the fear of infection has stopped me from scratching anymore. I will NOT be sleeping tonight (since apparently they come out late night/early morning .. 3-5AM). I will instead sleep early and stay up! Tomorrow morning I will call the office and see if they’ll send someone over to check out things.

So yes, I’ve been obsessing. I probably know everything there is to know about bed bugs. And watch, it will turn out to be something else.

Okay, let’s talk about something different.

I wasn’t able to focus too much on the book today. But SM sent me a draft of what she had been working on (yes my daughter and I often email or IM each other from across the apartment). She rushed it a bit. What she did in 15 pages, needs to be expanded on. So I’ll be taking care of that over the next couple days. But things are going very well. I’m excited!!

Kitchen
And just more fuel for the “she’s nuts” fire. See that picture above? That’s my kitchen. I know…small. Whatever. Anyway, do you see anything off in that picture. Something in that kitchen is OFF and it’s been driving me crazy!! (See that closet? My washer and dryer is in there. It’s small too. UGH!) <—-that’s not the off thing I’m talking about though. LOL

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I Know I Have That Sweet Meat, But THIS Is Ridiculous.

Monday afternoon I noticed my thigh itching. I rubbed it through my jeans, but it was pretty intense. When I looked, I noticed a small red bump surrounded by welts from my scratching. Immediately I thought, spider bite. However, research (on the Internets) shows that spiders rarely bite. Hmmmm.

A little later my knee and ankle began to itch. I looked. 2 more red bumps on my knee and 1 on my ankle. Now I was upset. I bruise easily, and when something bites me it leaves a mark for quite a while. I don’t need/want that.

I went to bed that night (after changing sheets and pillow cases), and guess what? Yep. I woke up with 2 new bites (other knee and right on my tattoo outline) and an itchy area on my leg (although I could see no bite, I thought it was coming). I searched all around my bed. Under the mattress, under the bed, on/in the nightstand. Nothing.

I grabbed my pillow and a new blanket from the linen and headed to the couch, quite pissed. When I awoke, I had a small red bump under my arm.

Now, this is ridiculous.

I spend a good portion of the day trying to find out if they are flea or spider bites. Could be either. I don’t see fleas, I don’t see spiders…so WHO KNOWS what the heck is feasting on my tastiness.

The itchy area on my leg, yea…turned into a bump. Larger than the rest. Probably because the day before I was scratching the area like crazy.I know, scratching is bad. Don’t need scolding Internets.

In my (Internet) research, I came across bed bugs. FIRST THOUGHT, ewwwwww…that’s for nasty/dirty people. But further (Internet) research says NO. Bed bugs can come very easily, in bags from visitors, etc. Now, I’ve never gotten a bite before. And no one has come to my house or stayed the night. So, how would they get there (if they are indeed the reason for my polka dot skin)? More research indicated that when living in a shared dwelling (read apartment) they can come through the walls! Do you hear me Internets??? That wall that I eagerly was pressing my ear against could be the pathway for my nightmare! Or not. Cause really, it could be a spider. Or a flea. Or something else. I don’t know.

Right now, the first ones that I got are smaller in size…and dark red. Look to be (maybe) healing. And they don’t itch as much as they did.

“Put some lotion on it.” Raphie says. “I’m a doctor. Lotion fixes everything. Just do it.”

Right.

The newer ones are a bit more itchy, but I put a Cortisone cream on it and I think I’ll manage.

If I start to go blind, I’ll call you. K?

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