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Poison Ivy and Ugly Beetles

July 16, 2009

Things have been plugging along on the Farm: beans, tomatoes and peppers are forming, and everything is filling out nicely.

But in more general yard maintenance news, I’ve been dealing with two gruesome pests: broad-necked root borers and poison ivy.

The former comes around this time every year for one to two weeks, and I find them simply gross. The females waddle around the grass with their huge ovipositors and about-to-explode abdomens. They have large mandibles, and my unsuspecting mother was bitten by one the first year we owned the house. Naturally I’ve been reluctant to let Jacson tear through the yard during this period in the borers’ life-cycle. Last year the foxes happily came through and ate them at dusk, but I haven’t seen (or heard!) many foxes this year.

The poison ivy is a different story, a far more itchy and irritating one. I’ve concluded that I contracted it last Friday when I was trimming saplings from the front privet hedge. And now when I return to the scene, I see that evil three-leaf monster poking out of the top and base of the hedge.

Part of the problem is that I hate wearing gloves when I work. I like to feel what I’m doing, and I like to get in there and finely manipulate. Gloves are only good for preventing blisters and grabbing thorns.

So shame on me, now I have weeping patches of poison ivy on my arms, fingers, neck, and face. Nothing debilitating, but certainly ugly, annoying, and sometimes painful. Today I’m wearing Band-Aids in the hopes that I’ll be more presentable, and less things will tickle the lesions into a fit of itching.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    July 16, 2009 10:58 am


  2. July 16, 2009 2:19 pm

    The poison ivy killer that foams and coats the plant works well. I also take a preventative Benadryl before I work where p.i. might be. And use rubbing alcohol to wipe down your hands and arms and legs after being near it – soap can just spread it.

    Can those borers be affected by milky spore or the Merit lawn borer stuff they make?

  3. Caroline permalink
    July 16, 2009 3:03 pm

    @Ann: I’ve only done a little research on controlling the borers, and at first glance it says that the best prevention is to maintain a healthy lawn and trees; chemicals don’t seem to do much. I think our best bet is to keep eggs from being laid, which may mean simply picking the borers off the lawn and destroying them.

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