Pest Control

By: Joel Allen

Hello, folks! Just last month I had a situation that caused me to miss writing for October. I was bitten on my leg by a black widow in my sleep. Well, I ran a fever, had the aches and pains throughout my body, and was sick to my stomach. Immediately, I was thinking, “Great! I either have COVID or the flu.” I went in to my doctor’s and they tested me the next day. I was negative on both COVID and flu tests, so my doctor looks at me and says, “You hardly ever get sick, so we are going to have to run a battery of tests unless we can pinpoint what this is.” That’s when I pointed to my leg with the angry red area that seemed to be spreading wider and asked my doctor, “Could it be this?”  “Oh, yeah,” she said. After she examined the area she concluded what it was, a spider bite.

In Alabama we have 3 major spiders to be concerned with — the brown recluse, the black widow, and the “granddaddy long leg” (although its mouth is too small to bite anyone). Now, keep in mind this had taken 3 days to find out, so the spider venom was already coursing through me. The brown recluse and black widow bites are different in their reactions. The brown recluse’s bite will actually destroy the skin in the bite area, and if not found quick enough, can leave a gaping hole of dead tissue. The black widow’s bite will become red and angry. It will be sensitive to the touch, and the redness will spread from the venomous bite. This spider’s bite can cause health problems, and in few cases death if left untreated. My doctor immediately placed me on antibiotics and, thankfully, that worked or I would have been hospitalized. I spent two weeks recovering. My recommendation for all my readers to prevent this from happening is get yourself a sprayer and mix a cocktail of peppermint, coconut, and eucalyptus oils together and spray every possible area that a spider could be around your home and use some glue traps too. They work!

Then this last week, I had a friend over helping me clean my house. She found a snakeskin in my laundry room. I know, my house is a wilderness! Anyway, she and I conspired against my Army buddy who is staying with me and hates snakes to take the snake skin and put it in his room. Hehehe! She told me to call her the second he found the skin. I gleefully set the trap for our prank and waited. My buddy came home to his room that day and never noticed it. The next morning I hear him screaming, “Joel! Get in here right now!” I knew he had finally found it, LOL. As I entered his room, he pointed at the snakeskin and I played it off by acting surprised. All the while, he is looking high and low and muttering that he hates snakes. I am trying not to laugh too hard. Eventually, he calms down and goes to work. During the week, he had glue traps out to catch any mice coming into our home from the fields due to winter, and I mentioned to him that if the snake was there, the glue trap would most likely get it. When he returned home from work, he went snake hunting again in his room! I was laughing and texting my friend about what was going on. We were both laughing. Finally, I informed him of the prank and he started to relax.

The next day I get a text from him and a picture, apparently the laundry room snake did find its way to his room because, lo and behold, there it was in the picture caught on a glue board with a mouse! Folks, I thought my buddy was going to have a fit! He identified the snake as a good one, a king snake, and I told him to pour a little olive oil or cooking oil on the trap around the snake and it would deactivate the glue and free the snake. He released it back into the wild with my Zoey (Border Collie/Heeler mix dog) begging him not to because she wanted to play with it. I still got a good laugh and so did my friend. I even told my parents, and they snickered about it too.

So, why am I sharing this with you? Because many people, when they try and use pest control methods, can easily expose their dogs to situations that could cause injury, discomfort, and death. If mouse traps are used like snap traps, your dogs can get popped on the paws or in the face, so be careful where they are placed. If poison is used, ensure that the poisoned mice or rats are not accessible to your dogs or other animals because if they eat the contaminated animal, they can be poisoned too. If glue traps are used, be aware that your dog or cat can get stuck to them, so placement of the traps is very important. Nothing worse than Zoey with a mouse on a glue trap and the trap is stuck to Zoey’s head with the mouse whining and Zoey dancing around in circles trying to get the mouse! LOL! There are electric mice traps that work, and there is the low-decibel technology that can be plugged in to your wall and the pulsing sound is supposed to cause the mice to leave. So, there! Everyone note — as winter starts getting colder, the animals will try and come into your home. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Until next month… be safe!

By: Joel Allen