How to Prevent Those Pesky Pirate Bugs From Biting You
Ok, who had "pirate bugs" as the 2020 disaster for the month of October?
This weekend, a couple of friends and I went out to dinner to celebrate a birthday. It was absolutely gorgeous out on Saturday, so we decided to find a restaurant with a patio that we could sit on. Prior to being seated, we were warned that some customers had complained about an abundance of "flies." Thinking it was no big deal, we still opted to be seated outside. That turned out to be a huge mistake. We had NO IDEA what we were in for.
Throughout the meal, more and more of these teeny-tiny black gnats began to swarm and bite us. At one point, I had to stop drinking my water because there were so many inside and outside the glass. I even withdrew my arms into my shirt at the end of the meal to stop myself from being eaten alive. Our one-hour dinner resulted in nearly 30 bug bites on my arms, shoulders, and thighs. I've been frantically scratching ever since.
Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot we can do to stop pirate bugs from ruining our lives, aside from just not going outside. A professor and extension entomologist with the Iowa State University Department of Entomology by the name of Donald Lewis spoke with the Cedar Rapids Gazette this week, and his only advice was this: cover your skin and wear darker colors. Apparently, there aren't any bug repellents that have been found to be effective against pirate bugs.
Donald Lewis says that fall is the perfect time for pirate bugs to flourish. The article reads:
"They spend the summer in the garden, in the trees and in the fields where they stab the eggs of other insects with that blunt little beak, and then they suck them dry, so their food is the eggs of other insects."
In the fall, when insects aren't laying eggs anymore, that's when we start to see them come into yards and parks and start biting humans. They aren't feeding on you, though, they're just sampling you to see if you're food. Despite the fact that the bite can be painful, the good news is that they aren't giving you any diseases or injecting you with anything. You can read more about pirate bugs from the Cedar Rapids Gazette HERE.
If anybody has found any type of cream or medication that works on these bites, PLEASE let me know! I'm getting sick of waking up in the middle of the night clawing at my skin!