Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sand Gnats And A Rant

Yes, Captain Denny and I went fishing yesterday.
Yes, the weather and seas were almost perfect by Floridian standards, PERFECT by all others.
Yes, we caught fish until we were silly and sore.
Yes, we were predators on this day and did keep some to eat, but most went flipping back into the Gulf of Florida.
Yes, the sand gnats came out in hordes back on shore and ate us alive as we cleaned fish.

Above: Captain Denny (Voylesguideservice.com) is in to a good fish.
I can't share the details or video of this trip for a few weeks, for good reasons.
Soon come.

Let's talk about sandgnats or sand gnats, whichever you prefer.
I would tell you what the silent "G" stands for in the word "gnat", but my policy is not to swear here on Pure Florida.

Use your imagination.

Once Mrs. FC saw my speckled arms with a "ooh, perfect coverage pattern", she requested a photo to use with her staff doctors.

I wore a regular T-shirt while cleaning fish and being gnat lunch, so the pattern of bites ends at the point of the sleeve coverage.
This information is used to diagnose mystery specks and spots on patients. She told me that a doctor new to the area had diagnosed a kid with Chicken Pox only to find the spots had miraculously disappeared the next day.
Her point was the pattern of spots only on exposed areas was a giveaway that it was something contact or insect related.

We actually have a local school who celebrates the sand gnat as their mascot.

I suppose my polka dot arm will be famous now among health clinics in the state of Florida ... (until Gov. Scott closes them all of course).

So here is my bitten arm. Notice the stoppage at T-shirt Sleeve beginage.

Here is a close-up.

The pain is only at the moment of sand gnat munchage. These red spots are flat and there is no after itch (on me) later.
Whew! Good thing, huh?

Rest assured that the red speckles go all the way around the arm and the hairy top side was even more densely spotted.

How do you deal with sand gnats?
You can douse yourself with chemicals from Avon Skin So Soft to OFF, but you will either smell like someone's grandma or have weird chemicals soaking into your skin.

My basic plan is to not be where the gnats are.
Yesterday that did not work, because we had a nice mess of fish to clean and Denny's house sits in prime sand gnat habitat, near the marsh.

So we just kept busy, he filleted, I skinned, and the gnats had lunch.
It was a great motivator to not dilly dally around and to get the job done.

For now, sand gnats are a spring and fall nuisance with little or no after affects.
Will that always be the case?

Consider that sand gnats and their cousins are known disease vectors in tropical areas of the world.
Consider that most of our illegal immigrants ,(I refuse to call them "undocumented workers" ...I'm FC, not PC), come from tropical climes and you have a scenario where something very bad could become established here.

The CDC has numerous reports on malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases arriving in the United States via illegal immigration.

I can't sugar coat the harsh facts by feeling sorry for people (and I do) in countries with unresponsive governments and poor economies ... worse than our own of course.

I look at the biology involved and worry about disease transmission due to illegal immigration.

What adds to my concern is the fact that Florida's current Governor seems hell bent to slash any service for the poor from education to public health. Actually, he plans to cut corporate income taxes for the rich WHILE slashing services for the poor.

What a guy!

Consider ...
The picket line for early detection and prevention of any disease outbreak is not the golf playing cosmetic surgeon in South Beach.
Not hardly.

It's the Public Health Department doctor or nurse who is out there on the front lines and it is these very same people who are facing large budget cuts.

Is it 2014 yet?


Anonymous said...

I hear ya Fc I hear ya...you know that I am feeling it too in my current profession! Tell Captain Denny we said hello!

Stacy said...

I see the typical education of the modern teacher has you firmly in its grip. How unfortunate.

Dani said...

We hear yah!!!! GRRRRRR

That's a whole lotta bites you got there. Glad they're not itching you like crazy.

kathy a. said...

i think what you're saying is that public health has to be concerned with what the public needs to prevent disease transmission. neither the germies nor the vectors care about immigration status.

and if you want to cut costs and improve health, tax breaks for the golf-club dematologists is not the way to go. nor is cutting public health funding.

but i may be missing something.

Doug Taron said...

I question singling out illegal immigrants as the source of entry of these diseases into this country. Any traveler- an immigrant (legal or illegal), tourist, business traveler, journalist or diplomat- could serve as the vector. Many on the political left might blame the problem on globalization rather than illegal immigration. I find both views to be flawed.

R.Powers said...

Will do.

You could not be more mistaken. I am the teacher at my school that the union reps hate to debate.
I don't really like unions especially the education unions.
I came to teaching after a law enforcement career and never went through at "typical" teacher program.
I do deal in facts from reliable sources though, and basic biological concepts.
And I do recognize a bad governor when I see one.

Whew! If these were redbug bites, I would be toast right now!
Double GRRRRR.

Kathy A,
Yes, I am saying that, but I am not shrinking from saying that the desperate illegal from a poor tropical country is the most likely person to bring in a disease that we either do not have yet, or like malaria or dengue, one that we have beaten.
If we lose public health services to funding cuts, we lose helping these illegals get medical treatment and we lose our early warning system.
I refuse to sugar coat any of this.

R.Powers said...

See my response to Kathy A.

LaDivaCucina said...

I didn't know that sand flies carry tropical diseases, thought that was just relegated to the mosquito. In 'stralia, we call 'em sand flies and I hate them with a passion cuz they LOVE me so much. I can't wait to see those spots on your arm turn into the puffy puss sores that will drive you round the bend with itchy madness! I hate wearing the chemicals too, but what to do? I hate writhing in my bed at night scratching more.

By the way, loved your post about your new dingdang cool video camera! Can't wait to see the kayak shots!

PS: Can't STAND our new governator and did not vote for him. L'Idiot.

ImagineMel said...

I LOVE you with a million thousand passions. I am so glad you're FC and not PC!!! Scott is a scary, scary man.

Dani said...

Ditto Mel.

Island Rider said...

I hate sand gnats so much. Especially when they get in my hair. You only have them twice a year? We have them all year long. Here's an interesting story. My grandfather moved to Anna Maria Island in the 40s. He watched them drain the swamps and dredge new fill and build condos and houses covering the island. When they were done, there were no more sand gnats, but wall to wall people. In the 1980s, he left Anna Maria and moved to Terra Ceia, the sand gnat capital of the world. He said that he'd rather have the sand gnats than the traffic and the people! PS Governor Scott reminds me of sand gnats. I hope we can outlast him.

Judy said...

The next time you are in sand gnat (or mosquito) territory, try spraying some listerine on your exposed parts--can't hurt, and might help. Works for me. J.

R.Powers said...

La Diva,
Gal, those spots are already gone. I am just not a reactive skin kind of guy. No pus, no itch.
And I am thankful of that!
Glad you liked the video post. I used it yesterday out in the Gulf and it performed well.
Got some neat fishing videos.

I saw you in Wallyworld today, across the vast void. Thanks for the love.

Dani Ditto.

Cathy S,
Your grandfather was right.
I don't know about that comparison of sand gnats to Scott.
Gnats are pests, but have never been involved in medicare fraud as far as I know.

Good ol fashioned brown listerine?
Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link for Capt. Denny. I have bookmarked it for my husband....we hope to give him a call one day.

R.Powers said...

You will not be sorry! He's one fishy guy.

Florida Native Mom said...

How about those blind mosquitos. They don't bite but they cover your car and smell the remnants of your fish cleaning.

By the way, my son fishes every day. Anyone want some frozen filleted fish? I can no longer store them in my very full freezer.

I think Gov. Scott looks like "He Who Shall Not Be Named" from the Harry Potter Series

ElaineW said...

As a person spending a fair amount of time in buggy places, I do worry about bug-borne illnesses. Gov Voldemort certainly is a piece of work - the only work we have seen so far from Mr. "Let's get to work". Yeah, I want to know how cutting corporate taxes, spending money fighting federal health care, and generally tightening the screws on the old, sick, poor and unfortunate is going to improve Florida? Let's not even talk about his environmental policy...

Anonymous said...

Interesting info about sand gnats. None of that here in the foothills, but plenty of mosquitoes, which do sometimes carry infectious diseases.

I don't know your governor or his policies, but he sounds a lot like a bunch of other governors I've been reading about. It's a crazy trend of insanity.

The Florida Blogger said...

I know you're not supposed to do it, but when I'm up at the Suwannee, I clean the fish on the river right outside of Munden Creek where we stay. Praise Jesus we've never been caught with out hands in the fish.

Miz S said...

Dang. Look at all the ranting I missed.

Dani said...

hehehehe. I luv Mary.

Anonymous said...

Hey, can you tell me what did you end up doing to get rid of the red dots? Did you have to use a cream or did they just go away. My husband and I were outside doing a project and about fifteen minutes after we finished this little rash came up on his arms and legs. I saw some gnats on me and ended up with bites that itch badly but no red dots.

Thanks for any additional information you can give me!

Anonymous said...

My family and I went to Fort Fisher North Carolina over the weekend.It is on the coast near Carolina Beach.We went down to the water at night and set up our chairs and all of a sudden we were getting eat alive by some thing.It was like something was all over us jumping or flying or something.They had to be small because we never saw what was bitting us.Do you think it could be the same thing?

hogbottom1 said...

the sand gnats are just too much for cleaning fish...put them on ice and clean them at night when the gnats are gone. those SOBs drive me nuts and i itch all over.

Anonymous said...

Great Gov. Scott!! Low-Low unemployment and more good jobs to come. Good job Gov. Scott now I have money to get my own doctor. Way to go..

Anonymous said...

That would be something interesting to research; if gnats can carry those diseases.
Like, we know that there are only 5 species of mosquito that can carry malaria, one of which is common in the US. (If you take enough time to look at them, they have white stripes on their legs) So, its clear that certain species can and can't carry it. However, from how big those marks are on your skin, they may spit more into you than mosquitos, putting you more at risk.

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