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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

EARWIGS AND MONKEY BALLS'; WHAT'S IN A NAME ANYWAY?

I’ve already admitted once that I didn’t want to admit that we have a spider issue in our home this year. Now I don’t want to admit we have an earwig issue as well. But there they are...there goes one now, crawling across your screen.

For those of you who don’t know what an earwig is, it is an ugly looking insect that likes to be in damp areas. I personally don’t believe everything I read because I have found that these bugs like to be in just about ANY environment and it doesn’t have to be damp!

There are stories from “way back when” that these bugs would creep in your ear at night and bore into your brain and cause you to go crazy, or make your eyes bulge out and produce an excessive amount of tears , or cause you to roll naked in the dewy grass in the moonlight. Rolling in soggy grass in the moonlight allegedly occurred once you were crazy and your eyes were all bulged out. I’m sure this was considered a high quality distraction “way back when”…although no one I’ve talked to has ever witnessed this activity, at least not being directly associated to earwigs. I personally HAVE witnessed some of this commotion but it was usually as a result of someone taking a dare to eat 11 hot chili peppers in rapid succession. But I digress…

I’ve decided with the spiders just to leave the webs up and spray paint them green and red around Christmas time, but I’m about at wits end with these earwigs. As I said, you find them in all kinds of spots. For example, I took the roast out of the oven last night and used the baster bulb to “inhale” the meat juices so I could make gravy. As I was “squirting” the juices from the bulb into the saucepan I noticed something floating in the pan but thought it was just a minuscule piece of roast. I squirted another baster bulb full into the pan and noticed another chunk. I finally realized that this was NOT teeny pieces of roast but damn earwigs. They had crawled up inside the baster and apparently taken up residence in the bulb end of it! AND IT IS NOT PUT AWAY WET, LET ALONE DAMP!! I made a cake the other day and found one in my flour. A couple of mornings ago, I put my coffee mug under my Brew Station spout and coffee was spraying in different directions instead of coming out like it should. YOU GUESSED IT! I had a scalded earwig in the dispenser part! Yes, that IS a damp area, but my flour and baster bulb are not!

So what to do about these bugs??? Have you ever heard of osage oranges, AKA hedge apples, AKA monkey balls??? They are a “fruit” about the size of a baseball. They look like a green, HARD brain. I have no idea why they are called by any of the names that they are known by. I can truthfully say I’ve never seen monkey balls, but I doubt that they look like these things. And osage?? The only thing I can come up with here is years ago, there were Indian tribes called the Osage….maybe we have them to thank for these “apples”.

Downstate, hedge apple trees used to be abundant and the trees WERE used as “fencing”. They had sharp thorns on the branches and grew thick and intertwined. Where you had a good stand of these trees, nothing or no one was gonna get through. The “apples” could be a detriment to the cattle industry though. It has been reported that cows would try to eat these “apples” (which are as hard as a rock when they are “fresh”) and get the apple lodged in their throat and choke to death. Way back when, before the invention of the softball people used hedge apples to play catch …this was also before the invention of what to do for a concussion. Consequently, the softball was invented.

What the “old timers” have taught us about hedge apples is that they are good insect prevention. You are supposed to put them on a plate (or tin foil) and set them about your house in strategic locations. Hedge apples are believed to give off a distinct odor that insects are supposed to find offensive (now, come one, what insect worth his weight is gonna be put off by a little smell? If anything, I thought the opposite was true). The odor is not something that OUR noses are able to detect…at least not at this stage of the game.

I have tried this remedy before and I truly wasn’t sure if it worked or if it was just the time of year that the spiders and earwigs finally died off. But I bought 3 hedge apples this morning for .69 cents a piece. You can buy them online for $2.00 a piece, plus shipping and handling. So, I’m gonna try them again and I’m gonna put a reminder on my calendar to check the status of these strategically placed monkey balls; I think 36 days should be about right. Last time I tried them, I forgot about them till SEVERAL weeks later. WHO KNEW THAT YOU COULD ATTRACT GNATS AND FRUIT FLIES IN THE WINTER??? And that “non-odor” I told you about??? When these balls get to be “old balls”, they begin to smell….because they begin to putrefy…and they get sticky. Did I mention they begin to smell??? Maybe that is to help you remember the strategic locations that you placed them in in the first place! Just follow your nose!! Actually, you might want to HOLD your nose.

I will let you know how it goes! It’ll be my luck that the wolf spiders will bore holes into the hedge apples and make condos.

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