buggy, but pleasant

7.2.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
eastern tiger swallowtail

Yesterday was a great weather day! We took advantage of rare low humidity and temperature and scooted over to the botanical garden. There were many bugs out and about, doing their summer thing. I’m suffering from another batch of spider bites on my legs and I have no idea how they’re getting there. (I now know they’re spider bites because my reaction rash is so bad it drove me to a dermatologist. She was mystified and had a biopsy done on the rash to see what was causing it. I hope I won’t need another round of steroids!)

smooth purple coneflower
eastern cicada killer wasp on lamb’s ear leaves
bee on lamb’s ear flowers
ant on cutleaf coneflower
oakleaf hydrangea
pitcher plant in the summer sunlight
zipper spider
New York ironweed
fly on rattlesnake master
pond cypress (?)
bee on lanceleaf arrowhead
some kind of bug under the phlox
more phlox
still more phlox
bugs in the woolly rose mallow
New England aster

I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into the buggy summer botanical garden. Creepy crawlies go hand in hand with pretty flowers. I’m biding my time until autumn arrives!

42 thoughts on “buggy, but pleasant”

  1. These are gorgeous!

    Did the dermatologist say which type of spiders are biting you? I didn’t know spider bites cause a rash. I suspect the rash itches? I would like to know more about the spider bites. I have been having to kill about 10 spiders a day insider and it’s causing me distress. I’ve now swept and mopped all my floors slippery and squeaky clean. Tons are outside and I’ve sprayed for mosquitoes plus spider, but nothing seems to kill either. Ugh! Inside I’m using a window cleaner foam spray. The foam doesn’t kill them, but they can’t jump with their web so they curl up into a ball and I paper towel swish them to dispose. The are very small black spiders with tiny white eyes. Every where in my house and tons outside. How will you know which spiders are biting you and what venues you are going to to get bitten? Is Tim getting bitten too?

    1. Thank you, TD!
      The biopsy results said “arachnid bite.” The rash itched like crazy — worse than the poison ivy I’ve had in the past. I’ve had spider bites before, I think, but they never were like these. I thought maybe they were hives. When I went to the dermatologist in June she was baffled, which is why she did a biopsy. We counted 21 bites. The steroids relieved the itching and the rash slowly subsided but I still have marks where the original bites were. And now, about a month later, on Wednesday morning, I woke up with 7 new bites. They must be very tiny spiders because you would think I would have felt a bigger one crawling around in my pants legs. I’m trying to figure out where I’m getting them??? My latest theory is that they might be in my recliner in the living room, where I sit and watch TV in the evening. They could crawl up my pajama pant legs easily from there. It’s hard to imagine them climbing in and out of the sheets and blankets on my bed without me noticing. And if I got them in bed I would imagine I would have bites in other places besides my legs. And I suppose they could have been gotten on our walks in the botanical garden, too. It’s been about a month between attacks. I’m applying a prescription cream she gave me on the new batch but if it doesn’t work well enough I will go back and get another round of steroids. Tim is not getting bitten by anything, not even the mosquitoes!
      It sounds like a war zone down there with your spider infestation! I feel for you! It’s not much comfort but at least you can see your enemy — mine seems to be invisible! I do hope you find a way to get rid of those creepy spiders, they terrify me.

      1. I’m wondering if they aren’t tick nymphs (which are arachnids, btw)? First hatchlings are tiny, pale yellow and hard to see against our skin. They don’t feed long and drop off. But they itch and leave marks like adults do. They also tend to come in large numbers. I once had a dozen on the back of my knees. Magnifying glass and fine tweezers required for removal. They fortunately don’t carry lyme until their first meal on an infected host. Steroids are very hard on your liver… you might be better off with an OTC hydrocortisone or calamine applied a few times a day, IMO. Caring and sharing! 💕

        1. Eliza, I never heard of tick nymphs but what you’re describing sure fits the picture. I looked at my calendar and found that both these attacks happened after a walk in the botanical garden. Maybe I lingered too long taking a picture somewhere and they found me. Thanks for the steroid warning, but the OTC hydrocortisone cream wasn’t working after using it for a week, so I was then given the steroid pills for the last attack. They also prescribed for me a prescription cream (triamcinolone acetonide) which I didn’t use then but saved, so I’m using it now on this attack. It seems to be helping the itch better than the OTC cream did, so far. I’ll give it a week and try not to resort to the steroids! 💕

          1. Good! Maybe as a precaution, before you head into the wilds, spray your legs with DEET (I use OFF Family Care 7% deet, which lasts 2 hrs.) It works well for me against ticks.

          2. Ordered some! I’ve always been a little wary of deet but the natural repellents I’ve been using clearly aren’t up to the task. Thanks for the recommendation!

          3. The 7% is very minimal, and apparently, it feels like hot pepper to the ticks! It has been around for a while and is GRAS, so worth it as opposed to the price we will pay for tick borne disease, IMO. Glad to pass on my recommendations. 🙂

          4. So Eliza, I was visiting with a couple of my friends yesterday and I mentioned what you said about tick nymphs, showing them my bites. They were very puzzled for a minute but then exclaimed, “Oh, you must mean seed ticks!” And then I heard all their stories and recommendations about seed ticks. This morning I found this helpful article: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/seed-ticks

          5. Barbara this is an interesting article! I have not heard of seed ticks. Eliza and your friends were very helpful! I’m surprised that a dermatologist could not figure that out and remove them from your skin. How did you remove the seed ticks?

            I suspect that you came across them at the botanical gardens. Is that what you think? Are they gone from your home?

      2. Yes I have been at war against fleas since February 28th as our area had an outbreak, all my neighbors, and now that I finally conquered the fleas, it is war against those spiders! We have had them for years but never in this quantity. I suspect climate change has something to do with this outbreak.

        These invisible arachnids are more awful than awful! It sounds like something coming up from the ground to me. I hope not inside or in your recliner. I agree on your theory that these awful pests are not in your bed because bite are only on legs.

        I would also request another round of steroids before going completely bonkers. And I would bug bomb inside your house to double duty all possibility to eradicate those invisible arachnids. But that’s me.

        It took four rounds of bug bombs to rid the fleas inside my house over 3 months period. RAID bombs did not work, but Virbac Knockout from Amazon worked. Now that I think of it there are no spiders in that room, so I may try another round of that in my living area for the spiders inside. I’m going to try Adam’s for the outside which is coming from chewy dot com. It’s a war zone here.

        1. Did Yorkie get attacked by the fleas, too? Poor little guy! I agree with you, climate change is contributing to a lot of new extreme happenings besides the weather. All of nature is adjusting in ways we can’t begin to anticipate. I do hope you’re right about the arachnids coming from the outside, but I did order some spider repellent peppermint oil spray for my recliner and around the house, just in case. It’s easy enough to run down to the urgent care clinic for more steroids if the itching gets the better of me. I’ve got a prescription cream they gave me last time that seems to work better than the over the counter one I had been using. We’ve learned that pest control is a regular thing down south here. A guy comes once a month to knock down all the webs off the house, and treats inside and outside, so we hardly see anything but an occasional spider. Good luck with your battles!

          1. Yes Yorkie had the worst of it, even though she was on a tropical flea medication! All the stray cats and my street neighbors dogs all had fleas we were dealing with. Not just Yorkie and me. Vet put her on prednisone for a week to stop her itching, gave her a capstar to drop the adult fleas on her and put her on a monthly oral heart and flea combo prevention. That got the fleas off her.

            What is the name of the peppermint oil spray and did you order it from Amazon? I would like to buy it! I think spraying the interior baseboard might help with keep the spiders outside. Yes, monthly pest control is a must here. I do it myself with Home Defense.

            I would not peppermint on your furniture because peppermint oil will hurt you as it will get on your hands than into your eyes! Then you have another problem. Perhaps spray it underneath the recliner where bugs may be hiding. Adams has a furniture spray not harmful to humans and pets that I used on my love seat that was in the room infested by fleas. It worked! You might try that on furniture.

            Yesterday I stomp only two spiders walking across my living room area floor.

          2. The peppermint oil spray is called Mighty Mint Spider Repellent and Amazon has it. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t tell you if it works or not. I was planning to use it under the chair as you suggest. I’m glad Yorkie is doing better and has gotten rid of those fleas. Only two spiders??? Thank goodness I don’t see that many spiders. I might see one every couple of months here, way too often for me – lol – but I guess I should be grateful.

  2. It is strange to see ironweed and NE asters in bloom when I am used to seeing them in Sept!
    Hope your bites feel better… I wonder where you are getting them, at night perhaps?

    1. Sometimes I think we get jet lag when traveling west to east, but when going north to south we get season lag. It started with the daffodils in February. It’s been disorienting to say the least!
      Thank you for your well wishes — for my spider bite saga and current theories please see my response to TD above…

  3. What a beautiful getaway to celebrate a coolish day Barbara. I am glad you got out because it is a long time until Autumn unfortunately. There were lots of flowers to see here. I never realized phlox were so pretty, but you captured many nice photos of them. Spider bites – oh my. I hope the rash is getting better. As you know, I was bitten by something about three months ago – the marks are finally gone, but, the bandage was more damaging to my skin than the actual bite. We certainly have had a month with our respective bug visits haven’t we?

    1. These mysterious bites are driving me bonkers! (See my response to TD…) I’m glad I got to walk and get some fresh air and some pictures of new flowers, and some old favorites like the phloxes. But, if these bites are happening in the garden I’ll probably avoid it until this buggy season passes. If these bites are happening in the house I don’t know how I can avoid the invisible enemy. I haven’t seen any spiders in a while. The cinnamon sticks do seem to keep them at bay. It took a long time for your bite to heal. I still have marks from the 21 bites I got a month ago. Sigh.

      1. That is amazing with the little spider bites. I read your response to TD and I wonder if you had a hatch and they infiltrated the recliner. About nine or ten years ago I was bitten by a carpet beetle – maybe something I brought in on my hair (which is how I think I brought the tick in the house). So I woke up one day to find a water blister on the inside of one of my ankles. It grew over the course of a day and I covered it with gauze as I worried I would kick it while walking. Soon I had a blister on the other ankle. I went to a dermatologist who stood at the door of the examination room taking photos with a tablet but acting like I had some type of communicable disease. He broke the one blister, took a biopsy and said “bite from an arthropod” – that didn’t narrow it down like “arachnid” for spider. Every night I had to dress the wounds and it took a good six weeks before I could go without any bandages. I have never seen a water blister like that in my life. It wasn’t itchy, but scary with the blister.

        1. I ordered some spider repellent peppermint oil spray which I’m going to spray on the recliner, just in case. I have never heard of carpet beetles!!! My goodness, Linda, you have had far more than your share of bug bite nightmares!

          1. I just put that on my Amazon list for next time I order something – they have a lot of brands. At least it won’t smell badly. I was recommended years ago to use a spider spray used by boaters who don’t go out in their boat every day, so spiders go in and make nests. I sprayed it at the bottom of the cellar stairs. The basement is tiled with a brown runner on one side and a gold old area rug from the living room on the other side. Why did we buy a brown runner – the same color as spiders? So I used to spray the bottom of the steps because I’d be paralyzed with fear if I saw a black spider near the steps and that was the only way to get back upstairs. I know I didn’t post a photo of the blisters, but thought I might have saved it on Shutterfly, but I couldn’t find it. It was scary and they are very very tiny!

          2. I sympathize with your spiders-in-the-basement situation. I remember how many spiders there were in our basement in Connecticut. I’m glad we don’t have a basement to deal with here! But we do have lots of spiders outside the house. Pest control comes once a month to sweep off all the spider webs clinging to the house. And I finally learned from the Southern Piedmont Natural History Facebook page why birds keep flying up to our windows and hovering just outside of them. They’re collecting cobwebs from the windows for their nests! Yesterday I accidently walked into a cobweb dangling from the dogwood tree branch hovering over our sidewalk. But thankfully I don’t see spiders inside very often! (Even though I’m always checking when I walk into a room…)

          3. That is interesting about the cobwebs being used for nests. I am amazed at how quickly Robins build their nest and pack it with mud and dried grass after they transport those materials to a nest.

            Here, around mid-August, when I would go in the backyard, (when there were more bushes, before the fire), I’d see these long web strands going across the yard, or sticky strands would hit me walking down the street. I hate that – then I think they get into my hair. I check every room when I walk into it for spiders. And, every morning after I get up, I turn on all the lights as I walk up the hall to ensure no spiders are there. The only thing I *can* kill without freaking out is a centipede in the bathrub as I turn the faucets and drown it.

          4. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one so bothered by and frightened of spiders! The worst for me is when I’m trapped in a moving car when I spot one on the dashboard, or suddenly dropping down on a thread from the car roof in front of my face. I nearly crashed the car I was driving once, with my mother-in-law in the passenger seat. She had no idea what was happening!

          5. I would have to get out of the car … I can’t be in the close proximity of a spider and have no control over it. I have always been terrified of spiders and upstairs I am beside myself if I see one on the wall or ceiling. I cannot know it is in my room but unreachable and go to bed. I try to anticipate how I can kill it – if I whack it with a shoe and miss, will it run on the carpet and then I can’t kill it as the carpet is soft, then it is “at large” in my room. I had my bug vacuum with the trap door that you vacuumed them up and they went into a cylinder with a sticky coating and would die, then the company (Remington) quit making them. Downstairs I have a five-gallon paint can and if they’re on the floor in the laundry room or pantry room, I set the can onto them and don’t remove it for a long time.

          6. I didn’t know they made bug vacuums. We use a regular hand held vacuum for the dispatching of spiders. We probably should keep one in the car! 😉 Once, while home alone, I killed a big spider on the bathroom wall. It left a big stain I never got rid of, no matter what I tried to clean it with. Finally, when we were packing to move, I found a can of the original bathroom paint and Larisa painted over the spot before the first open house.

          7. Yes, it was great, a trap-door vacuum, so the bug could not walk out and escape again. Perfect, but they quit making it. I got a knockoff bug vacuum from The Sharper Image but it was problematic and you had to leave it charged up on a stand all the time … I left it charged up all the time downstairs but if there was a spider in the cellarway, how could I get to it. Nowhere else to leave the contraption the rest of the time without tripping over it. You were lucky about the matching paint to do a “fox” – I killed a centipede on the laundry room wall and could not scrub its guts off as the wall is poured cement in that room and the pantry room.

          8. Too bad we didn’t find the matching paint until we were moving out. I had to look at that spider stain every time I used the bathroom for many years! We tried matching the paint once, but wound up with a patch of slightly different colored paint and it still stuck out like a sore thumb. Oh well. Lesson learned. Now I vacuum them up so I don’t have to worry about stains.

          9. It is hard to match any paint … I wanted to paint in the laundry room over the laundry tub. We had tiles there, but splashing up had made some mold on the lower tiles, so I took them off. I thought I knew the pale green paint (almost pastel), but came home with something so far from that original color.

          10. Back in CT, living so close to the sea, dampness and mold was a constant problem in the house. Down here in NC, with the HVAC system working year-round, the humidity inside is always perfect and we don’t have that struggle with the mold. That’s at least one thing about CT I don’t miss!

          11. I never would have thought about the mold being a problem. Mold happens so quickly. When I had my bathroom overflow debacle due to the centipede, one day later, even with fans blowing, you could detect the mold smell. After a week of the big fan and using two bucket containers of DampRid, no more smell. Yes, the constant A/C on would rid the air of moisture. I notice on Accuweather’s online site, they give the humidity reading indoors now.

          12. I’m very sensitive to musty smells and keep the flo-through baking soda boxes in our closets, which seems to work pretty well. Maybe I’ll give the DampRid a try.

          13. The DampRid worked wonderfully as I had the moisture in the carpet after the overflow. They have buckets and also hanging bags. I used the buckets to get rid of the smell quickly. I don’t like perfumey smells – they have scented DampRid too, but I prefer the neutral one.

        2. I also thought you got had the tick in your hair for two days, Linda, but I didn’t want to freak you out! 😩

          Yesterday while reading on the National Hurricane site about Hurricane Carla 1961 that my mom often talked about all the horror she saw then she would say you don’t remember because you were a baby. It wasn’t until yesterday that it hi me that was my first survival of a hurricane at exactly 7 months old! So I read it went all the way to Canada through Michigan. I got distracted on maps looking at its tracks and saw all the parks and sites that you write about! A fun distraction!! But then I wondered, if you were in that Hurricane Carla September 12, 1961?

          1. Yes, I wondered if it was in my hair TD … that is the only place it could have been since I always change my clothes when I come home. This year I am using sun protection clothing for the first time ever. I bought some tops and pants and a couple of different hats. I never thought to check the hats before, but on this particular morning, the day I walked in that new venue, I left the hat in the car. I got there and was very muggy, no breeze and I had looked at the venue online and knew it was not very big. When I came back to the car about 90 minutes later (if that long), I had intended to go somewhere else, but it was so muggy by then and also very gray, that I just came home. Now, while it is hot, I won’t go without the hat as I could have checked it before getting into the car.

            No, I don’t remember hearing about that hurricane, but we don’t really have hurricanes here, although I do think we have gotten some rain after a hurricane passes through somewhere else. Something my mom did talk about however was the Summer of 1936. It was the Summer before she was hit by the car in the street and subsequently spent the next four years in a children’s hospital recuperating. In the Summer of 1936, there was a brutal heat wave throughout North America for about 10 days in July 1936. My mom and her parents lived in Toronto. They didn’t have A/C and most families, like my mom’s, only had one table fan which they carried from room to room. My mom and her mom slept on the porch every night and her dad, as well as all the men in the neighborhood, went to Sunnyside Park which was on Lake Ontario and they went after dinner with a pillow and slept right at the waterfront to get a breeze off Lake Ontario. Her father, like the rest of those men, all worked in manufacturing job in factories in the City and they had no fans, often very few windows, so they were already exhausted from dealing with the heat all day..

  4. Hello Barbara, sorry you’re suffering those spider bites. Hope the dermatologist finds the right elixir.
    I always enjoy your expert photography and your words. Am always amazed at your knowledge of nature.
    Miss you guys, Susan and Phil

    1. We miss you guys, too, Susan! And we’re so lucky that the neighbors down here are just as nice as you and Phil are. Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes. The prescription cream is doing a better job helping with the itching than the hydrocortisone cream did. I’m resolved not to take any more walks without the protection of Deet!

    1. Thank you, Ally! I do enjoy close up photography over full shots, long shots and wide shots. There are so many kinds of pitcher plants around here.

  5. Ouch on the spider bites! That must have been a surprise to discover, I imagine! These summer shots are lovely -glad you got to get out when the heat wasn’t too ridiculous!

    1. Thank you, Karma! After a lot of research it seems that those ‘arachnid bites’ were from seed ticks, which are almost invisible. Thankfully I’ve now got a stronger prescription anti-itch cream which worked much better when it happened again.

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