When I was a boy, an inevitable consequence of tramping around in the East Texas pasture and woods was that one would end up with ticks. Ticks are small blood sucking insects that tend to pick out the most sensitive parts of ones body, stick a barbed thingy in and glue themselves on for a few days. If you have difficult imagining this, perhaps photos and movies will help explain. When one finds a tick on oneself, there is a presecribed series of events that are required to remove them. If one simply grabs them, then the head is left in your skin and it will fester badly.

First, one applies a small dab of grease to the back of the tick. The theory is that the grease will cause the tick to need air, and it will therefore back out and allow you to remove it safely. This may or may not work. It turns out that when you discover that you have a blood sucking insect stuck in your scrotum, you also discover that you do not have sufficient patience to find out if it is going to back out after you smear it with bacon grease.

If the grease method doesn’t work (it never does), one proceeds to the second method. The second technique is to make the tick pull out by heating its back end with the hot end of a match. That is, one lights a match, blows it out (do not neglect this step), and applies the still hot end to the back of the tick.

A third plan is also available. If you wait long enough, the tick will finish its meal, and drop off naturally. This suggests another technique, one which avoids all the problems listed above. One simply makes sure that one doesn’t look too closely at ones private parts after traipsing through the woods. It will all work out, assuming that you don’t pick up one of the many diseases that ticks carry.

The above are the old fashioned ways of removing ticks. Modern theory is that these methods don’t work. Instead, one eases them out slowly, sort of like a splinter. I can’t tell you if it works or not.

When I was a boy, fire ants were new to the piney woods of East Texas. Since then they’ve quite taken over. These ants have now appeared in Australia and China, and doubtless will march through to Europe soon enough. Fire ants have a terrible sting, but they are honest and hard working critters. They are particularly difficult to eradicate as any small colony that is left will quickly expand to fill a wide territory. Personally, I would prefer to live with the fire ants. Since the fire ants came to East Texas, I’ve not been tick bit, despite many days spent planting longleaf and loblolly pine seedlings.


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3 responses to “Ticks

  1. Kea

    Nice new blog! My family in Sydney live in tick country, which means the poor dog isn’t allowed in the bush all summer.

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