Ticks & Leeches

Both are bloodsucking parasites that nature could probably do without. The latter have never bothered me that much, but the former are quickly getting on my shit list. This past weekend marked my first exposure to a tick. I was petting Greg’s dog Ace and I noticed something dark in his ear. It looked like a blood blister, but after a second, I noticed that the blood blister had legs. And it was moving. Once I realized it was a tick I reverted back to a bug killing fury that hasn’t been seen since my parents house was overrun with earwigs back during the drought years of the early 90s. Those fuckers would come out at night, so I would actually make special trips around the house with implements of earwig destruction – scissors, shoes, lighters. If it killed an earwig, I tried it out. There’s just something about finding disgusting bugs in the house that sends me over the edge.

Back to the present. I yanked the POS out with a wadded up piece of toilet paper and proceeded to squeeze it. Well, it squished. Like a grape. Only then did I discover that there were two ticks. I thought it might be a good idea to identify the second one before I killed it, so I looked for a way to subdue while still keeping it visible. Greg’s hair gel worked nicely. Eight-legged creepy crawlies don’t really maneuver that well in a sticky viscous liquid. (I’ve killed earwigs in this fashion as well.) I was able to take a few pictures of the thing while it was in that state, and only then did I take the time to read up on my foe.

The first rule of war is “Know thine enemy,” so I decided to learn all I could. Judging by what I read, the fat tick I sqiushed was a female who was gorging herself to acquire materials to lay a crapload of eggs. The other one was a male waiting around to do the deed and fertilize the eggs. After a call to a veterinary help line informed me that there was no real reason to keep the tick alive as a POW, I intruduced him to the butt-end of my hair brush. They had a smashing good time together. I found another tick on Ace’s back a few hours later, but that one didn’t seem to be very well established. I removed him, and it was also introduced to the butt-end of the hairbrush.

Greg and I gave Ace a flea/tick bath when he got home, and we gave him a pretty good examination and didn’t see any other evidence of the vermin, so we figured we were in the clear. Greg had taken Ace on a camping trip the previous weekend, so we figured they hitched a ride from there.

Well, it would seem like that was a wrong assumption. I found another tick in Ace’s ear today, and I know for a fact that it wasn’t there earlier. He’s apparently picking them up outside from the bushes that he likes peeing on. Great. I quickly dispatched of that one by smashing it under a dime. I had planned on fixing the cord on the vacuum that Ace had chewed through today, so I went to survey the damage. I found that he chewed all the way up to the vacuum, and I also found that there was a freaking tick hanging out on the cord when he crawled onto my hand. He met the same fate that the other one did earlier. Crushed by the dime.

So I’ve had it. I bought a new vacuum cleaner, and Greg and I are in the process of cleaning everything we can see. That means vacuuming everything, washing bedding and clothes, everything. These things will NOT establish a foothold in my house. Not if I have a say in it. This is fucking war.

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