Tuesday, August 19, 2008

chiggers and gypsy moths

One of my favorite sites in the uplands of the Pine Barrens are the young oaks. The young oaks have these really huge leaves. I mean really huge. Well last year I went to the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in the Pine Barrens armed with my digital camera. I was going to take some pictures of these young oaks. Well, we went and most were either stripped of leaves or the leaves were all chewed up. It was very depressing. And it wasn't just the young oaks, the scrub oaks and the oak trees had chewed up leaves, very small leaves, or were otherwise defoliated. I asked in the park office what had happened and they told me it was gypsy moths. It was quite depressing. So, I couldn't get any pictures for you. I hope to go back to the Pine Barrens in the next few weeks and perhaps I'll get some pictures of these young oaks for you if they haven't been eaten by gypsy moths.

But I did bring back some guests, unwanted guests. In the form of chiggers. Nasty things. For years, I wondered why I got what I thought was poison ivy while I was walking in the pine barrens, especially when I did not see anything that looked like poison ivy. Well, an internet search revealed that these itchy welts on my legs were chiggers. And noooo, I did not wear insect repellent. I think I was wearing long pants but the little nasties managed to get on my legs in spite of my long pants.

Now that I have figured out about chiggers, I will be sure to spray with insect repellent the next time I go to the Pine Barrens.

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