Quit Bugging Me

Don’t lick your wounds unless you care to taste the sting a second time. – Rechille E. Goodrich


Ahhh yes! Summer and it’s time to be outdoors to enjoy the great weather. Unfortunately we are not the only ones taking advantage of the warm temperatures. This is also the season for ticks, mosquitos (although they have been quite tolerable this year), horse flies, ants and tent caterpillars. As annoying as these pests can be, they seem like child’s play compared to some of the nasties that exist in other parts of the world.

In my case it was an encounter I had about a year ago in Arizona. It happened on a rare, rainy day when I decided to paint a piece of furniture in our garage. Ken laid down a nice, big piece of cardboard to protect the floor (later I would learn that this was our first mistake) and I donned my old clothes and a pair of flip-flops (which turned out to be the second mistake).

As I knelt down painting away, I suddenly felt a sharp, hot pinch on my big toe. Not realizing what had just transpired, I looked down only to see a 3” scorpion beside my foot with its tail still curled high ready to strike again.

“Oh, my God!” I thought as I quickly jumped up. “I’ve been bitten by a scorpion!” (Technically it’s a sting, but who’s worrying about semantics when you think you have been mortally wounded?)

I ran to the back door, opened it and screamed several times to Ken, “I’ve been bitten by a scorpion! I’ve been bitten by a scorpion!” I’m sure the entire neighbourhood heard my distress calls. He came rushing out, asked where it was and proceeded to put an end to its existence with one whack from my shoe. Then he turned to me and asked if he should take me to a hospital. By this time I had calmed down, realized that I wasn’t dying and replied, ”Let me google it first.”

Well, after doing some research I discovered, to my great relief, that scorpions in Arizona are not lethal to adults, but the site advised that the scorpion should be captured in a jar so that the type could be verified. (There are over 40 varieties in Arizona.) Well, that wasn’t going to happen since Ken has smacked it so hard that all that remained was a grease spot on the floor. However, from the description it appeared that I had met up with a bark scorpion, the worst one. The other advice was to apply cold compresses and take pain meds.

I won’t sugar coat it – it hurt like the dickens and my foot had frequent sharp stabbing pains for the first while and then just went numb for most of the day. But I used the opportunity to allow Ken to attend to my every need and managed just fine. As I relaxed with my foot propped up, I researched scorpions and discovered that they like to crawl under things like cardboard.

Suddenly our Saskatchewan bugs didn’t seem so onerous, but these pesky nuisances still have a way of ruining a perfectly wonderful summer day. Considering the long, cold winter days that we endure, I would have thought we might have been spared such annoyances. Now, where did I put that can of mosquito spray?



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