Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arachnids Awaiting Us In Arkansas

Apprpos of nothing, Owatonna, MN
T-38 Airforce Jet Statue.
I didn't want ticks hogging up all the pictures.

It seems every time the Tumbleweeds got out of the truck in Arkansas this summer, we picked up a few extra passengers; ticks to be precise.  In the spring, they were normal sized ones that were easy to spot or feel as they walked across our skin.  Yesterday, we went walking in a wooded area in northwest Arkansas and must have stomped right through the mother of all breeding grounds.  
We didn’t notice until about an hour later when we were back in the truck.  Himself and I were both itching like mad, especially around the ankles.  We stopped and pulled off our shoes and socks and lo and behold we were covered with tiny ticks, no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.  Hundreds of them.  Some of them could just be brushed off, but many were already attached and those little buggers were strong!  How could something with a mouth the size of a speck of dust hold on against the strength of something thousands of times bigger than it?? 

Before dinner.
After dinner.

If we were invaded by aliens that were so big they made humans look like insects, would we have that kind of strength?  I don’t think we’d have a chance if a giant pair of hands were to come down on us and pinch and pull at us.  Have you ever swatted a fly, knocked him to floor and he got back up and flew off?  Again, imagine something the size of King Kong swatting you off the third floor.  Think you’d get up, brush yourself off and go about your business?  We need to be studying insects so we can be prepared for the King Kong sized alien invasion.  But no.  This is what we are studying instead: The effect of shrimp listening to Benny Hill while running on a treadmill.

The Arkansas ticks have even put up a Facebook page which just goes to show you how prevalent they are in that state.  I'm definitely not "liking" them!

Here are some facts to make you feel smart(ish):

* The thing we think of as a tick's head, is really just its mouth.

* The Lone Star tick is the only tick that can bite people during all three stages of its life (larva, nymph, and adult).  Yay for us to have stumbled on vicious biting babies!

* Tick larvae have six legs, the nymph and adults have eight.

* Ticks can transmit lots of diseases. I'm not looking those up, I'll just start feeling every symptom they list and then get the disease by the power of suggestion.

* Murfreesboro, Arkansas is home to Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only diamond mine in the world open to the public.  They let you keep any diamonds you find there.

* Glen Campbell is from Arkansas, but all he ever found were rhinestones.


  1. My head itches just reading this.....


  2. I agree with annonymous, mine too! Get some insect repellent such as Off or Cutters and spray your ankles wasist arms before you go walking in bushy or weedy areas especially during warm wx. I'm experienced. Hope you don't run into an alien tick.

  3. ...and they have bodies of steel...if you're lucky enough to pluck one off before it gets it's mouth embedded in your skin...try crushing the little's damn near impossible...

  4. Ahh! I'd be traumatized if that happened to me!

  5. Heywood- I knew it would!

    Doug- I hope we don't either, it's just another reason we shouldn't have quit the space program.

    Laura- I know! These were so tiny you couldn't even get a grip on to smush them!

    Steph- The worst part is the itching! The more we scratch the worse it gets and we are covered with angry spots. Good times! Nice to have you here, hope you aren't itching too!

  6. Wait, are we being invaded by King Kong sized aliens or ticks? I need to know so I can prepare accordingly. I'm confused. And scared.

  7. Christian- Both! The only remedy is to drink massive quantities of Scotch.

  8. WOW - I sure don't envy you! Ticks are certainly well-adapted for their particular life-style, aren't they? Seems they can't decide whether they are insects (6 legs) or arachnids (8 legs), although I'm pretty sure it's the latter. One more thing - what did that poor shrimp ever do to deserve that kind of treatment? Then again, maybe it actually sort of liked it - they certainly possess enough legs... (crustaceans, tho!)

  9. Ladybug, I wonder if the shrimp was allowed to watch Benny HIll while running on the treadmill, at least that wouldn't be so boring!


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