By Rick Houser –
I know I have mentioned more than once in previous columns my great dislike for the cold and freezing weather that the winter months bring to us. I know it is part of life and a part of the four seasons, but no matter it is still something I dislike.
Give me those hot lazy hazy days of summer. To wear short sleeved shirts and shorts and still be too warm is a gift from our Lord that I have and always will be grateful for. To walk out of your house and worry if you are going to break into a sweat before you get to the car that has air conditioning is a gift to the fullest.
No matter just how great the days of summer can be there is always one part of summer that kind of makes you want some colder weather. That would be all the bugs that summer brings and just how uncomfortable they can make a beautiful cloud-free day with low humidity. I have sat down to work on something in the field or near a barn and discovered that I sat on a hill of red ants. I am here to tell you they have bad tempers to say the least and will bite on you with no intentions of stopping.
Walking through pastures or tall grasses while berry picking you will find that a chigger, even though tiny in size, is mighty in causing misery. When it is time to get into a barn and work your way into areas that have been seldom used, you probably find wasp nests and as they sting they never lose their stinger so they will continue to attack you like a machine gun. In a wet year, I have stumbled onto nests of bumble bees and even though they can sting you only once it is safe to say that is one time too many. If you are allergic to the sting you find yourself headed to the emergency room for a shot. (Not a trip a person ever wants to make but especially not on a nice summer day.)
Still I vote that summer is the best time in a year. There are picnics or family grill outs and when you were younger there was the drive-in where you could sit on the hood of your car and watch two movies in comfort and if lucky you would have a young lady sitting on the hood beside you. However, there could be a problem with these events in the form of mosquitos. They are pesky and of course they are relentless at bothering a person.
When midsummer hits, so do the horse flies. A horse fly is one insect that I really dislike because they are pretty good size, yet they can be around you and not be heard or seen. (Kind of like a stealth plane.) Before you know they are near you, they bite you and they bite really hard. I dislike them so much I guess because they don’t give a chance to fight back. To me it seems only fair we fight on equal terms. But not a horse fly, he thrives on the sneak attack. That is playing dirty.
When you get in a hay field or a tobacco barn, the odds are a nasty little bug known as the sweat bee will find you as yes, you have been sweating and it seems to tell them where their target is and of course, they always find their target. There are many more bugs that the hot weather brings out to pester you with. Still they can only be out when the temperatures and summer conditions are here. So I guess if we are going to enjoy summer we are going to have to share it with some of Mother Nature’s less-liked critters.
As a kid and a young man there was little if anything we the human could do to fight back against the critters. However over the years there have been many different sprays or torches that one could light that kept the bugs away and they worked to some degree but bugs are very persistent in not being kept away. After a while it seems the bugs build immunity to a new spray or dust. I know in the late 80’s and early 90’s the invention that was going to rid the earth of the bugs was a bug zapper, so my wife and I got a good-sized one. I mounted it to a pole on the end of our deck thinking this would make sitting out in the evenings again possible. When that bug zapper was plugged in the sound of bugs getting zapped was deafening to say the least.
We saw to it that unless it was raining the zapper was on and it was the same volume of bugs meeting their maker every night. However. no matter how much we ran that thing we still couldn’t sit outside comfortably. We ran it all summer and I’m not certain that the zapper was sending out a message to all the other bugs to come to our house. Whether it did or didn’t, they all still came. We have tried spraying the yard to repel them and we have spayed products onto ourselves to repel them from us. I might be wrong, but I don’t think either way worked much.
There is even a deer fly and if you have deer near your home they will also get you and they draw blood when they bite. I am going to go out on a limb here and say with the deer population the size it is these days it would be a safe guess that there are deer flies near everyone’s house.
Even with the wildlife against us having a good time I am voting that we are going to still have our best of times in the good ole summertime. So rub on some sun block and go out there and enjoy things even if the bugs are around. Remember that the lightning bug is a summer bug but he brings us nothing but an enjoyable sight. Now it is up to us to also be an enjoyable sight.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you are interested in reading more of his articles he has two published books for sale. “There are Places I remember” and Memories ARE From the Heart.” You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.