About two weeks ago, I was picking asparagus beans at my community garden plot. The beans practically hum with tiny, fast-moving black ants.
As I pick a couple beans, two or three landed on my arm. It takes me a few moments to brush them off because they are tangled up in my arm hairs.
The black buggers, which are too small to be fire ants, bite or sting me a few times. Normally, ant bites don’t bother me that much. In fact, the stings seem like mere pinpricks.
A few hours later. There are some small bumps on my arm. I use anti-histamine cream on my skin to minimize scratching.
Fast forward a week. Angry red bumps are now visible all over my arm. In fact, there are far more bumps than actual remembered bites. My skin alternates between itching and burning.
Fast forward about 5 days. It’s clear that the bumps are becoming infected and really, really hurt. Perhaps some bacteria survive in the pool? I start using hospital-strength Bacitracin on my arm.
Monday. My arm is getting better. Sure, it hurts and itches, but not as bad. Seems like it’s getting better. On the other hand, what is that orange spot on the (ridiculously-high) ceiling?
I get out my binoculars. Great, it’s nation’s most venomous Centruroide, the Arizona Bark SCORPION! Can’t have THAT falling on me, my wife or the kids.
How to get at it? It’s 20 feet up! I jury-rig a fruit picker to hold a raisin can. I simply hold the can on the ceiling and scrape the space alien off.
My kids get a good peek at the thing before I dispose of it. Seth asks, “can I bring it to school.”
Knowing that his teacher is something of a bug-o-phobe, I decide against it.
Next purchase? A black-light flashlight to make sure our back yard isn’t infested with scorpions!
(Seth lays on the couch to see the scorpion on the ceiling.)