Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

Those Pesky Insects

Country at HeartThe countryside is full of all kinds of insects ... some I saw and some I heard, but they all cohabited with all of us country folks.

I think the most common insect is the house fly. There are also horse flies, but they live on and around horses – not in houses.

Though I love to hear crickets croaking or whatever sound they make, I don't like them in the house. When we lived on a large lake, we heard crickets every night, and I so loved their sound that I listened for them to make my evening and night complete.

fly | Fotolia/radub85

Photo: Fotolia/radub85

"Grand Daddy" is probably not the correct name for this scary-looking insect, but I was scared of those things and really hated them. When we made our brother mad, he certainly knew how to terrorize us. He'd chase us with those little, 12-legged monsters, and we'd run like the devil. They had their nests in the corners of our house. I couldn't figure out their reason for existing except for my brother to scare us with.

If you live in the country, you have to get used to the ubiquitous tick. These menaces are everywhere. Why, I don't know. What purpose they serve, I don't know that either. But I do know this. If one bites you, you itch and scratch for at least a whole month before the itch wears off and the wound heals.

Mosquitoes no doubt will always be around – perhaps all over the globe, and Arkansas certainly has its share of them. In the summer if we sat outside, we had to have some protection against these pest. Mosquitoes can't stand smoke, so to kill them by smothering them, my mother built a fire with old clothes. When the rags started burning, she'd smother the flames out. The smoke then rose up around us and drove those small pests away.

Spiders were everywhere too, but apparently we didn't have the deadly, dangerous ones. I never recall anyone being bitten by a spider, but they are a part of the landscape but harmless nevertheless.

We hated wasps, especially if one stung us. They left us alone if we left them alone, but if we ventured into their territory, though, we were in big trouble. One wasp on you is enough, but don't disturb an entire nest of them. You could possible get stung to death ... and boy, does their sting hurt.

We called those wasp-looking insect “dirt dabblers.” I guess that's their name. Though they look like wasps, they are harmless. Why they exist, I have no idea either.

I think those small insects that we called gnats are actually fruit flies. I can't be too sure of that though, but the things I see flying around my fruit is what I saw flying around our fruit in the country.

Our bees are bumblebees. They would sting if they were disturbed, and their sting is worse than the sting of a wasp. I don't recall that we had honeybees even though I saw bees sucking nectar from honeysuckle blossoms. These bees are the old, garden variety, generic bees. Those are harmless.

bumblebee | Fotolia/Den

Photo: Fotolia/Den

Butterflies are my favorites though Arkansas doesn't have the white nor the pretty blue ones. Here again, I think ours are just generic – nothing exotic. They are colorful, but usually the common black or brown ones. I like them regardless to what kind they are. I especially like to see them stand in mid-air and flap their wings as they kiss flowers stems.

Dragonflies – I call them ”helicopter” insects. They are harmless, as far as I know. I guess they’re around simply to entertain us with their strange looking appearance.

Though grasshoppers are also harmless, they can surprise you when you least expect it. They can scare you when you're walking along a path of weeds and flowers. Suddenly, one or several will jump out – not necessarily at you but I suppose it's a natural reaction when you disturb a bush that they're in.

Moths are attracted to artificial lights, especially bulbs, lanterns, or anything extra bright and that glows in the dark. We put moth balls in clothes that are packed away so they won’t rot. Moths are utterly harmless. They don’t sting or bite, but they can be a nuisance. I hate to kill them, simply because they are so innocuous and innocent, but they are really a pest when you don’t want them around, and the safest way to get rid of them is to just fan them off rather than squishing them.

Like every state, Arkansas has it share of small, winged though harmless creatures. Supposedly they all fit somewhere in the insect ecological chain though I can't tell you how.