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I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

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I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/24/2011, 12:39 pm

I am a new gardener (okay so only in my head so far since I'm still getting my box and pots and soil put together Wink I was reading in this thread last night and getting freaked out....I am a germ and bug aphobic--after I got off these threads last night I seriously considered whether I should garden or not. then I walk over to my 7 herbs growing on my window seal and see little spiders on one plant and then one of those young flying things on my sage (the leave edges are turning white--is this normal or from this bug I haven't noticed?!)-- I got all grossed out and sprinkled DE on them on (the soil) this morning my parsley is drooping and yea--did I kill them all? --okay that's besides the point.

What bugs are good and which ones are bad? which ones will bite me? (I'm terrified to even look closely at my herbs now thinking that something will jump in my face and attack me) haha you can tell I've never been around gardening or dirt much for that matter. I want to hopefully ease my fears and be able to garden this year--so help inform me.

in my head if I see a bug on a plant I think that plant is ruined--that doesn't mean anything right? I mean if there's a little brown spot or something on a plant do I have to then throw that part out becasue it is diseased or something from the bug or can I eat what's left and try and get rid of the bug--or if there is a bug is it too late?!

how much do you do preventative and what do you wait to do?

did I mention--help?!!

oh and these are some of my game plan--do these allwork for sure or do you guys end up using pesticides and crap? (I dont' want to use those!)- I am in UT if that makes any diference.

PLAN: (this is stuff I've read about--what do ya think?)
1.plant marigolds, onions, garlic insterspered in box- pests tend to avoid this.
2. garlic, hot peppers, onions: liquify in blender and pray on plants and soil-
-boil garlic and water for ant mounds.
3- use Apple cidar vinegar, ground cloves. 1-2 TB/gallon of water as a mild fungicise or acidic liquid fertilizer that also contains trace elements. cloves kill flying insects.
4-use corn meal and DE. sprinkle on ground or work into top inch soil. (don't spray because of bees!)
5- traps- put rotten fruit in a can- pour liquid around can (water+2TBdish soap+veg oil) to kill. opt 2TB molasses to atract more.
6-snails and slugs- sprinkle calcium carbonate (lime, dolamite, or crushed egg shells on soil where live)-
7-use acidic water (spray leaves w/acid water)--if have water ionizer.
8. plant vines later (cumber, squash) June 1st- if do sooner you'll usually end up with pests.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/24/2011, 12:54 pm





Hi,
I do not really worry a lot about bugs and dirt. First off all I have children, they touch and lick everything. As a result I have a fairly healthy immune system. Secondly, in your life time you will eat a peck of dirt. If you do not get a little bit every now and then, the last bit of you life is going to be very unpleasant. All kidding aside. Are you sure you will need all of those concoctions. Healthy, compost fed plants need very little extra help. Your companion planting is a great start. Next learn to identify bugs, you may not want to remove the bugs you have. I have included a very good book on bugs, be warned it has nice glossy pictures.

Good
Bug Bad Bug: Who's Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them
Organically (All You Need to Know about the Insects in Your Garden)
by Jessica Walliser
(Spiral-bound - Jun 1, 2008)

Now to your question about brown spots on your produce. Organically grown veggies are going to have little spots or blemishes. If it really bothers you, just remove the spots before serving. Your garden grown veggies will produce hours of enjoyment and taste far better than anything from the grocery. I hope this helps.

Patty from Yorktown

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  herbarium on 3/24/2011, 1:20 pm

Lollypop9,
Most insects, spiders, etc are either beneficial or neutral. There are very few that will be harmful to you or to your plants.
Spiders only eat insects - not plants - and will not bother you unless they feel threatened. When digging around in shrubs, storage areas (even indoors), it is a good idea to wear gloves. If you kill off all the spiders you will have more of a problem with the insects that are a problem.
In Utah the poisonous spiders are black widow (very distinctive shiny black body - not hairy), brown recluse (which don't survive the winter here so it is unlikely you will find them outside), and hobo. From what I understand the non poisonous spiders can help control the poisonous ones which is another reason not to kill off all your spiders.

I have found that gardening organically the only real problems I have had are aphids and slugs.
Aphids - very small black, green, pink, white, or brown insects which suck fluid from plants. I usually just spray off my plants with a blast of the hose to get rid of them. You may need to spray insecticidal soap on the plants if you see aphids.
Slugs - more of a problem in the spring or because of overwatering. Crushed eggshells, bits of hair, or sharp sand around plants help repel them. SlugOut and other iron phosphate based slug and snail killers work well without endangering pets, people, or wildlife.

Planting garlic throughout your garden, around the base of fruit trees, and around roses can help repel a variety of pests.

Some of the ideas you listed such as rotten fruit could actually attract more pests.
The vinegar/clove mix works as a weed killer so I would not try it on any plants you want to save.

If you see something that you can't identify feel free to post info to this forum and hopefully someone can help you out.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  duhh on 3/25/2011, 2:17 am

Great advice beuna

Lollypop9- I'm with you I hate bugs and a lot of them scare me. Even if I know they are harmless! My hubby laughs at me when I see a bug on one of my plants and scream or yelp in fear. Then I pretty much attack it (if it's bad) because it dares to get into my garden and eat my plants. It's almost like a mothers instinct! I also find that it helps to wear gloves. If gardening gloves are to thick, plastic gloves work great too.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  dizzygardener on 3/25/2011, 8:49 am

I am petrified... and I do mean petrified of moths, butterflies, and bees/wasps/hornets.

I literally scream and shake at the sight of them (sometimes I even go into full panic attack esp. with moths). affraid Then I'm allergic to mosquitoes!

It really is counter-intuitive that I would even go near a garden let alone maintain one myself. But, I'm really using the garden experience as therapy for my bug issues. I've gotten to the point now where I just seize up as opposed to screaming and shaking at the sight of them.

I'm hoping that after a while I will get to the place where bugs don't bother me much.

Mind over matter and determination to get past it seem to be the best solutions.

Best of luck to you.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  jayjaym on 3/25/2011, 10:50 am

Most bugs you find in the garden aren't going to bother you. If you find something damaging your plants, take a picture into your a local nursery (so you don't have to touch it), and they should be able to help you treat for it.

I've been stung by scorpions, bee's, and wasps to many times to count, and a black widow once. None of them got me in the garden.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Old Hippie on 3/25/2011, 8:08 pm

For those of you who are terrified of bugs.....all I can say is way to go for trying this anyway and for facing your fears. You will gradually get better at facing these critters, even though you will never get to be friendly with them.

A phobia is an irrational fear of something and if you think about it, most of our fear of bugs is really quite irrational, except for the ones that can kill you if they bite or sting you. But bugs tend to be kind of creepy to a lot of us. I was terrified of wood ticks and I do not like most worms although earthworms are okay. Slugs just gave me the creeps and still do but I can at least pick them up and put them in a can. Most others, I can handle now without almost throwing up. We used to go camping a lot with our kids, right from the time they were babies. I was determined that I would get over these fears, because I didn't want the kids to learn this irrational behaviour from me. (It is a learned behaviour, not inherited, so it CAN be unlearned.) I kept telling myself that I would not allow FEAR to control me.

Moths and butterflies won't hurt you at all but their fluttering around on you can be rather unnerving to some people. The majority of spiders aren't poisonous either and they won't usually harm you. They are good bugs to have around because they eat other bugs. Even wasps, hornets and bees, while they may sting and that hurts are only really dangerous to people who are allergic to them. Your best defense against most insects is to just STAND STILL. Running around, flapping your arms and screaming is more likely to injure or frighten an insect and that will cause them to bite or stung because that is their defence mechanism. Psychologists helping a person get over a phobia, start with talking about the thing that scares them, then looking at pictures of them. Gradually, they move to where the person can be in the same room with the object of their phobia without freaking out and eventually to actually touching it.

Start off by asking yourself what it is about these bugs that bothers you. If they are just creepy, well really, that is nothing to actually be afraid of. They are just that....kind of creepy...but not dangerous. Look at pictures of them like Patty suggested. The more I learned about the things that creeped me out, snakes for instance, the less they bothered me. I have discovered that a lot of them are actually very fascinating and play a wonderful role in nature. As you look at them more, try not to think about how they disgust you but about how they assist in your garden. Gradually, you will get to the place where you can see them without going into panic mode and then later, you will be able to either remove them from your garden or leave them be without even batting an eye. It is a learning process, but it can be done. It is about not letting your fear control you. HONEST!

You can do it.

Gwynn

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/25/2011, 8:38 pm

My Mom got bitten by a brown recluse spider last month while on vacation in Florida. She called me to look up what to do online. (I had to tell her to go to the hospital) Anyway, when I was researching, I read somewhere that there are 20,000 types of spider in the US, of them, only 60 of them can even bite you. Of those, only 4 are poisonous (brown recluse being one of those 4, unfortunately for Mom's ankle)

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  camprn on 3/25/2011, 8:43 pm

+1 to everything that Old Hippie said.

I'm picking up my hive boxes tomorrow!

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Megan on 3/25/2011, 9:23 pm

I ditto camprn... +1 to what Old Hippie said, and in fact to just about everything else mentioned here.

I grew up on a working farm and did all the typical kid stuff. I touched an electric fence by accident, once. I got bit by a water strider (at least I think that's what it was) when I was about 8 years old and whatever it was packed enough toxin to knock me flat on my back and make my vision go gray for a while. (And, being a typical farm kid, I didn't tell my mom. After all, it worked out okay in the end.)

I have a highly reactive immune system, it seems. I have been stung by bees maybe 2-3 times, and each time the reaction has been worse. My dad got stung once late in life and his whole arm swelled up, so it appears to be at least partially genetic. A few years ago when I was in my back yard, something bit me on the toe (spider?) and I had a bad reaction to it, then even *worse* reaction to the antibiotic.

So, long story short, I am terrified of bees, and do carry an epipen which I've never used. But I have been growing sage and other bee-drawing plants for years now. I wanted to help out the bees, given all the challenges they are facing these days. The plants are in the perimeter landscaping beds, well away from our front walk. I was really worried last year about my SFG and my own personal safety. Squash blossoms are notorious for catching bees inside, for example, and I was having to hand-pollinate them and the cukes for a while there.

Fortunately for me, some of the more experienced gardeners here on the forum came to my rescue. They told me--and I can't remember who it was anymore, sorry!--that when bees are in your garden, they are carrying shopping bags for pollen and are not interested in stinging you. They want food. If you startle or hurt them, they will defend themselves of course, but if you are slow and careful, you should be okay unless you are dealing with the africanized type.

I treated this advice with a hairy eyebrow, to be honest.... but I gave it a chance. On my big plants, I would take my trowel and tap the trellis a few times...gentle at first, then harder...before getting my hands in there. And I was very careful around twisted-shut squash blossoms.

And you know what? I wasn't stung once. All season. I was, honestly, amazed. And grateful. I am still very leery of bees and so forth, but I can share space with them now. And I do encourage them to be in my garden. Really, they belong there far more than I do. (But I think I will pass on the butterfly bush in my backyard.)

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Lollypop9 on 3/25/2011, 10:20 pm

you guys are all wonderful! thank you for this thread.

I'll be honest--I had not entertained the idea in my mind that there were ANY good bugs for my garden (thinking that ALL would destroy and eat, etc) I am very glad everyone set me straight.

I just realized my one son who has a TON of allergies to foods and anti-biotics has already gotten stung by a bee and was fine so I shouldn't live in fear of that.

so I guess I probably shouldn't have killed the little tiny spiders in my herbs?! dang it!

in my mind I was thinking that if i see a bug on one of my plants that I should kill it or get rid of it immediately--but you are all acting like I can just take a picture and it can wait out a day until I figure out what it is- is this true? so it's not like a bug comes and eats all my crop of lettuce in one night?! or is it more that they find it and stay there all season?!!

thanks again- keep it coming--for some reason the stories, etc are really helping me to calm down. I hope that one day i can not jump as someone said when I see a spider or bug in my garden Smile

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  herbarium on 3/25/2011, 10:41 pm

Glendale gardener,
This link could be of great help to your mother:
http://healthwyze.org/index.php/treating-brown-recluse-spider-bites.html

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/25/2011, 11:03 pm

That's a great site! I wish I had found that one last month! Luckily, she got to the hospital in a decent amount of time. It would have been better if she had gone right away but it happened at night and she barely felt the bite, it just felt really itchy after so she waited til morning to call me. Good god, that thing got gross fast! By the next morning it had swelled to bigger than a chicken egg. She has had it drained 3 times and took a round of antibiotics and some sort of cream for itching. It was pretty scary but it's been 4 weeks now so the worst has passed. They told her 7 weeks til all the venom will be gone from her body!

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer on this thread. I guess this wasn't helpful to alleviate insect phobias, huh? Embarassed

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Old Hippie on 3/26/2011, 12:18 am

No worries, GG about being a downer. First of all, I am glad your mom is going to be okay. That must have been pretty stressful for you and her. There ARE some bugs out there that people need to watch out for at least in some areas. But where I live, we don't have poisonous snakes or bugs. Oh yes, for that I do love my zone. BUT, knowledge is power so even if you do live in an area where there are poisonous things, there is still no reason to let them or your fear of them control you. A certain amount of fear is a GOOD thing. It keeps us alert and helps us move quickly when real danger threatens. Rather than be scared of ALL bugs, learn which ones are dangerous and find out if they live in your area. ( i.e. There is hardly any point in me worrying about black widow spiders being in my garden since they don't live in this part of my province. so that leaves me free to worry about things that really matter.) Learn what areas they like to hang out in and what time of day they are active. Learn what to do if you DO get bitten. Megan knew to be careful around the squash flowers for bees. She learned what to watch out for and what to do if she was stung.

Lollypop, already you are learning to look at things in a new way and that is giving you power over your fear. There are occasions where you will get an infestation of some kind of critter, that may do a major number on some of your crops in a few days but you usually do have some time to look around and find out what is eating them. It is really not like the evil hordes that you see in the movies. Once you get started learning about different kinds of insects and spiders, you will change your mind about a lot of them. When that happens, you will see that for most of them, there is no reason at all to fear them.

Here's to worry free dreams and gardening.

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Overcoming fears

Post  ander217 on 3/26/2011, 7:25 am

Lollypop (and Megan, too), I think it's great that you are able to overcome your fears enough to garden. A fear is only irrational to those who do not fear that thing.

With me, my fear was tornadoes. After going through one I went crazy every time there was even a thunderstorm watch or warning issued. I would get the family up in the middle of the night and send them to the basement any time I heard thunder. If the weatherman said there was a possiblity of storms I wouldn't leave the house. After a few years of driving my husband crazy with this (bless his never-ending patience) I watched a program on TV which told how tornadoes are formed, and exactly what to look for when spotting for them, etc.

From that moment I was over my irrational fear about them. Education was what it took for me to realize that they weren't a monster looking to hurt me and my family personally, but they were just a weather phenomenon which do kill people each year, but there are ways to protect ourselves and make our families safer. (That's the main reason we built an earth-bermed home.)

I think once you get more experience gardening and learn more about bugs, they will cease to be as frightening for you. Always be aware of possible dangers and how to minimize the risk, but don't let it keep you from enjoying gardening. At least for me, educating myself about my phobia is what it took to get me to a rational place where I could function without the deep-seated fear taking over. I hope you get to that place, too.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 8:26 am

@Lollypop9 wrote:so I guess I probably shouldn't have killed the little tiny spiders in my herbs?! dang it!

in my mind I was thinking that if i see a bug on one of my plants that I should kill it or get rid of it immediately--but you are all acting like I can just take a picture and it can wait out a day until I figure out what it is- is this true? so it's not like a bug comes and eats all my crop of lettuce in one night?! or is it more that they find it and stay there all season?!!

thanks again- keep it coming--for some reason the stories, etc are really helping me to calm down. I hope that one day i can not jump as someone said when I see a spider or bug in my garden Smile

No idea about the spiders in your herbs, but they probably weren't doing anything.

You absolutely CAN take a picture and figure out what it is. A lot of us were posting photos last spring, me included. (Some of us seem to be better at Goggling images than others.) As previously mentioned, it's probably not a case of a one-night ravaging, though something like a cutworm can take out a plant quickly.

Insects come in waves, it seems. What I saw first last spring were the flea beetles. These are very tiny black bugs (thus the name 'flea') that fly around and chow down on your brassicas. After my brassicas were done, they pretty much vanished.

Then came the cucumber beetles. These are a little bigger, more like ladybug size. They look sort of like ladybugs, too, except the ones I saw were black and yellow striped. (Apparently there are some that are yellow and black spotted.) These hung out all year, although in lesser numbers later in the summer. They congregate to breed. They carry a disease that will make your cucumbers wilt and die, and they also nibbled on my cucumber and squash, not enough to really hurt them but scarred the surface of the fruit. (I can now recognize that damage on produce in the supermarket--go me!) You can pinch these if you're fast enough... I found it easiest to trap them inside a flower.

Squash bugs look just like stink bugs (are they the same? I still can't tell), adults are about the size of a fingernail with a sort of kite-shaped, armored-looking grey body. The young ones have lights (white spots) on their knees. These are EVIL. Smash them!

SVB (Squash vine borer) is uber-evil. They are a very distinctive black-and-red stripe (Google for images). I did not have any last year that I saw, but they can really wreak some damage.

I also had these pretty little white butterflies with a single black dot on the back of each wing. They never seemed to do much and I didn't see them all that often, so I left them alone. I found out later that these were quite probably cabbage moths.

I never did see any cutworms, but I stuck toothpicks in the soil around the bases of my young tomato plants just in case.

I had a minor problem once with sow bugs (rolly polly, pill bug); they got in between a plant tie and my squash and were eating the squash. The tie was wet and the squash was very close to the ground, and I think that contributed to the problem. I had tons of sow bugs under the bark mulch (sigh) and they only caused trouble that one time that I noticed.

Earwigs....blah!!! I hate those things. Always have. I had a few but again, didn't seem to be a huge problem. Same with slugs. I did trap for the slugs.

There are plenty of good guys in your garden, though. Spiders, ladybugs of course. There are small wasps (tiny little metallic guys maybe 1/4" long) that prey on pests. The many-legged centipede-type critters are predators, too. The ants I had (and boy, did I have them) did not seem to be destructive and I didn't have an aphid problem. In general, if I didn't know what it was, I generally left it alone.

So, get yourself a good pair of gardening gloves, and take out your fears and anger by smashing or drowning the bad guys! Twisted Evil I can't bring myself to do it barehanded, but with gloves on I sure can! Very Happy

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I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Goosegirl on 3/26/2011, 8:58 am

@Megan wrote:So, get yourself a good pair of gardening gloves, and take out your fears and anger by smashing or drowning the bad guys! Twisted Evil I can't bring myself to do it barehanded, but with gloves on I sure can! Very Happy

+1

3 CHEERS FOR BODY ARMOR!!! cheers I have never been afraid of bugs, but I definitely don't do the bare-handed bug bonk!

TC

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  walshevak on 3/26/2011, 9:03 am

Or the bare foot!!!!

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Old Hippie on 3/26/2011, 10:08 am

@Megan wrote:[
So, get yourself a good pair of gardening gloves, and take out your fears and anger by smashing or drowning the bad guys! Twisted Evil I can't bring myself to do it barehanded, but with gloves on I sure can! Very Happy

Yup! Got ta have gloves and something on my feet for sure, if I am squishing bugs. Die vermin!

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  CindiLou on 3/26/2011, 10:38 am

I have a friend that is so afraid of snakes! She would not even come in my house when I had a python! How she gardened I have no idea! Now she thinks I don't have the snake but it is upstairs rofl. It didn't matter to her that there was even a padlock on the cage (little kids around).

I am allergic to some bees and have to carry an EpiPen. No I have not had to use it, thought I came close last year when I mowed over some type of bee hive in the ground. I had a bad site reaction but didn't have to use the shot. YES, I sat right down with my epipen in hand and waited for any signs! I think hubby was freaking as bad as me. Now if it had been a mud dauber I would have used the shot right away! I have had terrible reactions to them in the past.

But no way am I staying away from my flowers and gardens! As a Master Gardener it is kinda important to be outside

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Goosegirl on 3/26/2011, 11:19 am

@walshevak wrote: Or the bare foot!!!!

As I said before: HOSEABLE SHOES!

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  dizzygardener on 3/27/2011, 8:41 pm

For those of you who are allergic to bees, how did you find out? Or, what was the reaction like?

I can pin point exactly when my fear of bees started. It started with the movie My Girl. I was a little girl when it came out (8 or 9, can't recall). Yep, y'all remember the scene were the little boy is in the woods and dies from being stung by a swarm of bees. Shocked

Seeing that movie was bad enough, but around the same time PBS aired a documentary (scare-u-mentary?) about Africanized Honey Bees and how they attack/kill folks and about how they were invading the US. Shocked

Thus, My Girl + PBS = affraid affraid affraid pale *faints*

From that point on, I've lived in total and utter fear of bees and the like. I've never been stung, so I don't know if I'm allergic. What if the first time I'm stung it turns out that I'm allergic? And, what if that first sting is like on my neck or something? I could end up like that little boy on My Girl! pale


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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Old Hippie on 3/27/2011, 9:24 pm

Do you have allergies to anything else? Chances are, if you are allergic to bee stings, you will also have had bad reactions to other kinds of insect bites or stings as well.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 9:33 pm

In my case, each reaction to a bee sting has been worse than the last, and my father had an even stronger reaction that I ever did. I got the epi-pen "just in case".

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

Post  CindiLou on 3/27/2011, 10:21 pm

Stepped on a mud dauber about 30 yrs ago. Went to the doc cause foot swelled up and was hard to walk. The very next week I was hanging clothes on the line minding my own buz wacks when one stung me on the elbow. It only took 10 minutes to head for the ER! Throat was swelling. The bees I mowed over last summer was in the ground around an old stump. I have no idea what kind. No throat swelling but had an site reaction that couldn't be covered by a 5 x7 piece of paper! I didn't use my epipen because I had never had a reaction to a bee before. I went and sat in my shade swing and waited. The next day I went to the doctor for the sting. Itched like crazy but I made some plantain tea to smear on it off and on and was comfortable.

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Re: I'm afraid of bugs...teach me.

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