Ticks, Mosquitos and other Bugs
Mosquitos are found almost anywhere there is water. They tend to be most abundant in wooded areas during the summer months, particularly near marshes, bogs, and lakes that can provide breeding grounds for mosquito larvae. Although most people consider mosquitos to be pests, they are an important part of the ecology and provide food for birds and fish. Mosquitos are attracted to bright colors, particulary red, as well as dark colors resembling the fur of animals. They also like sweet or floral scents, as in deodorants and perfumes, and are repelled by body odors. The most effective insect repellents are those containing diethyltoluamide (DEET). Otherwise, wearing heavy, light-colored clothing, foregoing baths, and leaving perfumes and deodorants home are your best options. Other tricks include standing in a windy area as this prevents mosquitos from landing on you, standing in the middle of a large flat rock as mosquitos are more likely to hover over grassy areas, or burning smokey or smelly things in the campfire. Some people swear by burning candles that contain Citronella oil.
Deer Flies, Elk Flies and No-See-Ums
Deer Flies, Elk Flies, No-See-Ums and other winged, biting insects make up a rogue's gallery of flying varmints with attitudes no better than those of mosquitos and the feeding habits to match. Treat them as you would mosquitos with heavy clothing, plenty of insect repellent, and a healthy swat whenever the spirit moves you.
Ticks are wingless, crawling parasites that suck the blood of animals. They lurk in grassy or brushy areas at elevations of 4,000 to 6,500 feet during the Spring and Summer months, waiting to brush off onto the unwary. The Common Dog Tick (xxx) is shown on the left. Dog Ticks are small, less than 1/4-inch long, oblong-shaped, brown-colored ticks with a white area near the head. Deer Ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also called Black-legged Ticks, are smaller with no white spots. Both enlarge to double or triple their original size, and become purple when gorged with blood. Although most people bitten by ticks suffer no ill effects, some ticks carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease and Colorado Tick Fever. Fortunately, these ailments are rare and more likely in the Rocky Mountains than in California. Tick Fever is the more common of the three. If flu-like symptoms develop a few days after extracting a tick, particularly if the symptoms disappear after a couple of days and then return a few days later, Tick Fever is a possibility and a doctor should be called immediately.
HOW TO AVOID TICKS
WHAT TO DO IF BITTEN BY A TICK
Although all scorpions have very painful stings, the only poisonous ones in the United States are those of the genus Centravoides, which are found throughout the Southwest, including the Mojave Desert. Centravoides are 2 to 4" long scorpions that are yellow or straw colored with irregular black stripes on their back. Like all scorpions they sting by thrusting their tail over their head.
Scorpions roam at night, and hide during the day in humid places, such as under stones, bark, outhouse floors, or in the sand. Because scorpions glow in ultralight light, shinning a black light around camp at night may reveal a few crawling around.
The treatment for a poisonous scorpion bite is the same treatment as for rattlesnake bites. The best first aid is to immediately apply a reverse syringe (Sawyer Extractor) to slow the spread of poison and get medical attention as soon as possible.
|Copyright 1999- - Southern Sierra High Adventure Team|