PEST PEEVES — July 2020

By Diane Lockspeiser

There are many contributors to whatever discomfort there is in my life, but fortunately most of them are small. The smallest in size and yet the most annoying to me are the biting gnats.

I don’t know if there is a locally used name for them, [ED: No-see-ems] but I’m sure most of you know which bugs I am referring to. They are distinguished by their love of flying into facial features, especially one’s eyes, nose, and ears. Al-though I am not thrilled about being bitten by them, it is that annoying habit of attacking my face that really bothers me.

A large-brimmed garden hat has helped the most. I had gotten it many years ago for protection from the sun, but rarely used it for that. First of all, I avoid going out in the midday sun (I am neither a mad dog nor an Englishman). Secondly, I hate wearing hats. Winters in these mountains have been getting me more accustomed to covering my head, however, and so I tried the hat. With it on, the bugs have more limited angles from which to attack my face, so I can see them coming and wave them off. If I’m lucky, they might land on the underside of the brim right in front so I can squish them. Since my hair is long, I leave it down to cover my neck and ears. A few still manage to get through for a bite on occasion.

One day I saw a good idea online. Well, I thought it was a good idea. It was to make a band around the crown of a hat using fly paper. It looked nice and might even catch some pesky gnats.

I happened to have some flypaper strips in the house, so I decided to try it one morning. Sticky business, but I got a strip attached it to the hat and went out to work in the garden. After a while, I started noticing an odd sensation on my back whenever I turned my head. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the flypaper was hanging off towards the back. When I removed the hat to see what had happened, the whole sticky strip came off of the hat, attaching itself even more to my back and tangling into my hair!

It took a few minutes, but I did somehow manage to get it off of my back and out of my hair without pulling out too many strands. A whole section of my hair had become a matted sticky mess. I thought about using peanut butter as I had learned to do many years ago when my children got chewing gum in their hair, but then I remembered that I had bought a hot oil treatment. It was a good time to try it, and thank goodness it worked.

That fly strip hadn’t managed to catch even one pest, except for me!~