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Latest Member: FloraCarma Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Going to Tennessee! Worried about bugs! « previous next »
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Author Topic: Going to Tennessee! Worried about bugs!  (Read 2910 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: April 22, 2013, 10:03:43 PM »

So weíre going to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for vacation the last week of May and although Iím very excited and looking forward to it, Iíve been really worrying about the various bugs that are foreign to our native Chicago.  My mother and uncle will be coming along and the last two times we took them to northern Wisconsin, they got ticks even though they barely left the car or the hotel and we did all the hiking without them.  This, of course, made them freak about Lyme disease and complain about going out in the ďwildernessĒ.  I donít want to panic and discourage my daughter from frolicking through the fields, but Iím afraid sheís going to come frolicking back with fire ants swarming one leg, a chigger infestation in the other and a giant pulsating spider clinging to her back.  Iím not too worried about snakes because they tend to have the consideration to stay away from people and civilization.. bugs on the other hand donít give a hoot where they call home so long as no oneís been there for the last 20 minutes.

We will be staying in a rental house, which is a bit old so thereís the potential that some ancient race of spiders have been reigning from its depths.  I know there are not supposed to be many deadly venomous spiders besides the black widow and brown recluse, but I am particularly nervous because I had a bad reaction to (presumably) a spider bite when I was 2 years old.  The culprit was never found so we donít know if I was highly allergic, or if it was one of the baddies.  I have been searching, but I canít find a really good guide with like a 5-skull rating system of poisonousness/aggressiveness, but I did find a list of Smoky Mountain spiders with pictures which could be helpful.

I know a lot of you live in, or have traveled to, places with crazy bugs, so I thought maybe some of you would be kind enough to share some tips about how to avoid, identify, and prepare for the dangerous ones.  I know wearing close fitting clothes, long pants and sleeves is highly recommended when going out in the wild (even though I hate it).  Iím not too fond of bug spray, especially since it doesnít seem to be that effective, but if anyone knows of a particular type that works really well, Iíll be willing to try it.  Iíve also tried the fan thing and the whistley devices and they donít seem to work either, but again, I trust most of you more than commercials.  I kind of wish I could take along an old hillbilly to eat all the bugs and suck out the py-zun, so if anyone knows one, please send my way.  Also, any tricks for tick removal would be appreciated.

i got better
Bad Movie Lover

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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 10:20:10 PM »

I live there so I kind of have a decent knowledge of the local bug life.

It's not really that bad. Ticks can be a problem, but just check your hair and where ever else they could go. Bugs really aren't a big problem. Lyme disease isn't even a problem that I know of here.

Spiders now... That depends on the house. I live in a house that's almost 100 years old, but spiders are only seen from time to time, but on the other hand people in way newer houses get them all the time. Spiders won't really mess with you anyways.

Overall just wear bug spray and check each other for tics and you should be fine. Seriously it's not the Amazon here.

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B-Movie Kraken

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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 10:52:37 PM »

I live in a rural area of Texas with zillions of spiders of all varieties all around us every day.  I have never been bitten by a spider.  I have occasionally picked up a tick, but not that often.  I have found that knee high rubber boots worn when out in the field or walking the creeks are very effective at keeping chiggers and ticks from getting on your legs (wear jeans tucked INTO the boots!).  A healthy dose of OFF will keep the mosquitoes at bay for the most part.  Other than that, enjoy the outdoors!

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Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 11:17:22 PM »

I've vacationed in Gatlinburg many a time and rarely had any issues with bugs, the lone exception being fleas in one of the chalets I stayed at.  Fortunately the one next door was available and I was able to move over to it.  Like Criswell said, just check yourself and your family for ticks if you're venturing through woods and whatnot.  Enjoy the Smokies, it's a great place!

B-Movie Kraken

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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 06:44:53 AM »

I haven't spent much time in Tennessee, other than driving through it a few times, but I grew up next to my grandparents farm in Minnesota and spent my whole childhood playing in the woods and fields.  I think I got one or two ticks on me that entire time, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Might be a good idea to keep your daughter on any hiking trails and discourage her from running through the bushes and stuff, but let her have fun of course  TeddyR

As far as spiders I suppose you could do a sweep of the house, with shoe in hand, when you get there.  If you do see a spider I think chances are about 99.9% that it will be the ordinary non-dangerous variety.

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Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 07:47:04 AM »

cover yourself in Kerosene and stay inside at all times

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Hi there!

« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 07:49:35 AM »

^No Lester, you don't want Paquita to burn.  BounceGiggle

I live in a town where the roaches just loves to say 'Hi, don't mind us in your house now!' The only Spiders that I've seen in the house is mostly those little jumpy spiders.

yeah no.
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2013, 08:41:15 AM »

You city slickers... just go and don't worry about it! Worst thing you're likely to encounter are mosquitoes. Don't freak out and scare your daughter. Getting bitten by a bug every now and then is part of being a kid.

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Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 06:31:50 PM »

For the record, I've been to this area a few times without senior citizens and little ones and for the most part, there were very few frightening encounters with bugs.  However, every single time I have been descended upon by eensy weensy baby spiders that no one else could see. And twice I have seen a giant hand-sized red spindly legged spider looking thing.. it was probably a harvestman, but it was RED!  Red is the color of danger, blood and stopping! I hate that thing!

I've never had a tick either, only the people I bring with me get ticks.  I don't really think they want me to "check" them.  Is there an electronic tick scanning wand?

Thanks for the responses!
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 09:12:30 PM »

While you're here, drop me a line.  I'll probably not be far away.   Cheers

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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 09:23:00 PM »

I grew up in TN.  I used to go to the Smokies every summer.

Here's two big rules for you that should help. 

1st, use bug spray.  It does help. 
2nd, don't be a wuss.  There's a very good chance you're going to get bitten by some bugs.  It happens.  Don't freak out.  The chances of anything seriously dangerous biting you are extremely slim. 

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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 10:09:35 PM »

Smokies in May may not be that bad anyway.  I doubt the ticks will be in full swing that early, especially if the late winter/early spring has been as cold has I've heard up there.  Probably won't be a whole lot of problem with skeeters, either...certainly nothing a little DEET laced repellent won't fix.

I grew up on NC side of the Smokies....a bit south of the park.  I've hiked and camped in that area a lot, and I don't recall having a problem with ticks in the tall grass, yes, but that was generally later in summer.

Do watch the bears and heed the warnings/precautions that are out.  They are not a big problem either (with some common sense), but were I going up there, I'd be more focused on my bear safety than bugs.

Have Fun!!!


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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 06:54:07 AM »

cover yourself in Kerosene and stay inside at all times

 BounceGiggle TeddyR
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 12:08:21 PM »

Although some may differ and probably will, I can tell you from personal experience taking 100 mg of vitamin B1 goes a long way toward repelling mosquitoes. (I even did a science fair project about it when I was a kid....) In any case the bugs should leave you alone, but watch out for the ever-lurking Smoky Mountain tourist traps. Down there even the gift shops have gift shops. Heck, the Cherokee try to charge you to take their pictures, and I suspect some of the black bears have their own racket going on.

Das was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich noch merkwŁrdiger. (What does not kill me makes me stranger.)
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