Camping With Insects

Grapevine Beetle

Grapevine Beetle

Americans go camping to “get close to nature”. We discard the creature comforts of home to sleep on the hard ground or in tents. After several days communing with nature, we are ready to return to the regular rat race. Occasionally, camping can be less relaxing than originally planned. I once camped in Tennessee only to learn that my tent was pitched in the middle of tick city. I spent a good part of the night picking ticks off my legs and tossing them out of the tent.

Writing in Slate, Annie Stoltie (Good Story!) describes waking up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in her ear. It took a week and three doctor visits to find a doctor who could remove the scarab beetle from her ear. The successful doctor used the method of filling the outer ear canal with mineral oil. This plugs the spiracles of an insect, and typically causes the insect to retreat to the surface of the oil where it is more easily removed from the ear lobe.

The money quote:

Wherever I camp next, I’m wearing earplugs.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Health. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Camping With Insects

  1. anastaciast says:

    So with you on the tick problem! Had the same thing happen one year up around Basset. All night long I would wake up to a tick crawling on me. But we used a film canister with gas in it instead of pitching them out of the tent.

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