Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stop Bugging Me!

So my new backyard isn't huge, but it's not tiny either. There is a picnic table that was left by a previous tenant, and this is apparently a great thing to mark the center of a circular track around which Blue will chase Casey endlessly. (Poor thing, he seems to think that he will one day catch her.) When the dogs aren't eating grass, their favorite game is tearing around like crazed animals and narrowly missing mom as they run by. It's all very chaotic, but I'm glad they have this outlet for energy in addition to their daily walks. (In an interesting side note, I can't use the backyard as a substitute for walks. Casey will absolutely not go to the bathroom in the backyard. Apparently the backyard is for playing only and bathroom duties (or doodies) are done elsewhere. I wonder if she learned this at daycare?)

The fence is chain link, and not what you would call "sturdy" or "new." But it does serve its purpose which is to keep the dogs contained. The dogs know better than to chew or paw at the fence, though Casey has learned that she can jump it and does so at every opportunity...as though to taunt me with her independence. She doesn't run off, mind you - she just jumps the fence and then stands on the other side laughing at me. But I digress...

Oh! And I'm also fairly certain that I'm never going to get robbed, even though I live in a statistically safe neighborhood. When people see me in the backyard and approach to ask to mow my lawn/wash my car/pet my dogs, Casey charges the fence barking her fool head off. She'll never jump at strangers (she's a wuss at heart) but she sure talks a mean game. Blue runs along after her for fun. I've had people run away without talking to me because of this, despite my repeated assurances that the dogs are friendly. What, I don't look trustworthy?

I haven't yet spent a whole lot of time in the backyard, but I will say that every time I do, I get eaten alive by bugs. And I mean eaten ALIVE. I know that bugs just seem prefer some people and completely ignore others, and believe me, I appreciate the honor of being declared "delicious" by random insects, but in the spirit of actually using the backyard every now and then, I would like the Emily buffet to permanently close. (It seems there is also a "Casey buffet" as she is also covered in bug bites. Blue seems immune.)

(I've narrowed the source of the bug bites down to the backyard. Either that or the apartment, and I refuse to think I have bugs in my house. When I take walks elsewhere I've been with other people who currently aren't suffering the malady that I am. These people haven't been in the backyard with me.)

When I mentioned this to zlionsfan, he said that I couldn't just get rid of the bugs, I had to get rid of the source. Um, okay. What's the source again? I mean, I always thought the source of bugs was "outside." Hmmm...

There isn't much grass in the backyard. There are too many trees and too much shade for grass. Instead there's a lot of clover. (I think it's clover? It's not grass, I do know that. And it only needs to be cut maybe every four weeks or so. And yes, I know what poison ivy looks like - it's not poison ivy.) Trees surround my backyard...but they're not actually in the yard. The neighborhood is older, so the trees are HUGE and shady. The trees next door have overgrown my fence and there are big leafy branches that reach over the fence by about 2-3 feet, and vines that wind around the fence. There is also a tree in the backyard of the other half of the double. It's not technically in my half, but it overhangs and I plan to leave that one alone for shade. Now that I'm settled (and my father introduced me to hedge clippers - both the type for "leafy" and the type for "branches") I am turning my attention to cutting back my neighbor's overhanging branches and errant vines to make maneuvering around the backyard a bit easier. Last Sunday was my second foray into the world of trimming back trees. I got about halfway down the fence before I decided to call it a day.

Today, since I have little to no self control, my legs are now once again covered in scabs from the constant scratching
brought on by hundreds of bug bites. (Okay, not hundreds, but lots. Like, I could have chicken pox.) I never notice getting bitten. And I wear my Off. What on earth could I be doing to help the situation? Suggestions? Is trimming back the trees going to help? What if I mow more often? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Until then, I'll crack open my second tube of Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel. I'm pretty sure I'm using more than the recommended amount, but you know what? I care not. It's better than the constant torment of itching. Now if you'll excuse me...

10 comments:

alisa said...

I sympathize with your bug dilema and unfortunately can not offer any remedy to rid your yard of the pesks. I've learned that when they like you they like you and I cover up as much as possible.

I too am quite tasty to bugs and am highly allergic to their "venom." I was eaten alive about three weeks ago and it still looks like I have the chicken pox (it's disgusting - it looks like they bit me just yesterday - it takes forever for me to heal from bug bites - maybe I should see a doctor.) I haven't worn shorts in three weeks - it's AWFUL! And to make matters worse, cortisone cream/anti-itch relievers only make it worse for me. I've found the Neosporin with pain reliever works best ...

Candace said...

I have fleas that live in my yard. Every time that I have a window open and my cat sits there he miraculously gets fleas. I have tried buying bug sprays at Lowe's and it does help some...at least when I walk through my yard I don't quite have a flock of insects flying from the grass.

zlionsfan said...

I still recommend a bird feeder ... well, I guess you'd have to keep it half-filled or something like that. And the birds could always end up eating spiders rather than the mysterious Emily-eating bugs.

I also recommend (again) that you go to a doctor, at least to a Prompt Care place, so you can get some of the serious anti-itch stuff. It works for me, and as a bonus, you always get way more than you need for the current problem, so it'll last you a long time.

Jac said...

You can spray or treat your yard for bugs with pesticides (this is what most apartment complexes do) but I personally would avoid the chemicals. If OFF isn't working maybe you should try one of the other thousands of repellents on the market and see if a different one works better with your particular chemistry. Sometimes Avon Skin-so-Soft works really well and it isn't actually poisoning you.

Farmerspice said...

Sevin is the best stuff ever for getting rid of bugs in your yard. You can get it granular or whatever it's safe for animals and I use it in my yard. Watch the weather it doesn't like rain. Anyway - it's great. Good luck!! Holler if you need anything else.

parkingmaid said...

And trimming the trees back should help some. I notice when I walk that the biting flies are always along the parts of the road that are under the trees. I don't think mowing has any effect on bugs, but birds would surely help. Good luck!

Samantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AnnD said...

I think the bugs are particularly bad this year. Normally, I never get bit by mosquitos. I must have one of those blood types they don't like but I have been getting bitten a lot lately! I hate those damn biting flies! Unfortunately, I have no advice other than to rent some movies and stay inside!

Brandon said...

You should install a bat box and get a family of bats to live in your backyard. They'll eat all the mosquitos around. Don't forget to smear bat guana in the box to attract them.

ems said...

Dear Brandon - are you sure it's not "guano?"