06.02.2014 A Lady and a Fleabane

I found out this morning that there are consequences to footwear choice.  OK, I knew that already and wear orthotics to correct a few things.  But lately I have been wearing my Muck Boots similar to what some folks know better as “Wellies”.  Aside from protecting my feet while in water and very wet meadows, they also are easy to tuck pant legs in for tick protection.  Unfortunately, they offer no support and while hiking this morning I experienced a bit of a muscle pull due to said lack of support.  It was a steady limp for the 1 1/2 miles back to the car.  I’ll have to try another strategy to fight off the ticks.

During today’s hike in the Quabbin, someone I ran into suggested that to repel ticks I spray my clothes with permethrin which sounded a little scary. But upon looking around, it turns out that, if used properly, it is safe when applied to clothing and allowed to dry. LLBean and others sell bug repellant shirts treated with it, Mary Beth wears one, and they cause no ill effects. We still have to apply DEET to our skin as permethrin cannot be used that way. It does not wash out in the laundry for several washings.
Permethrin kills ticks and other biters by attacking their nervous systems. I’ve linked to an article from the University of Rhode Island stating the relative safety of Permethrin. The spray is available from most outdoor outfitters. I guess it is used quite a bit by fly fishermen/women.  I am going to give it a try.  If there is no problem then my pant leg tucking days will be over.

Here are two images from this morning.  The first is a Common aka Philadelphia, Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus).Fleabane,-Common-060214-600WebObviously, they are very tightly knit buddies.

It’s possible that you may recognize the subject in image number two.Pink-Lady's-Slipper-060214-600WebThe calf is starting to feel better and I think, with a good night’s rest, it will feel much better in the morning.



About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Flora, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 06.02.2014 A Lady and a Fleabane

  1. Hi
    These are gorgeous images. The colors in particular are stunning. The lady slipper seems perfectly formed. The battle against tics, ah yes. My wife had Lime Disease last year. (She goes with me into the Quabbin.) One of the few critters I hate. We’re used to just soaking ourselves in DEET before going out. I’m sure it’s not been helpful to my remaining IQ, but had not sure what else to do. Thanks for the link. We will check this out. The battle goes on.


    • Thanks, James.
      I’ve been fortunate to have avoided Lyme for these years. I hope that using this spray will keep them away from me for good…at least in the woods. Our yard has a mix of hardwoods and Pines so there is a lot of leaf litter and pine needles and, therefore, ticks. I don’t expect I will be able to spray all my clothes so there is still a chance but I don’t crawl around in our woods anywhere near as much as I do at the Quabbin etc. Funny, DEET has never bothered me unless I get it in my mouth or eyes.


  2. Lyle Krahn says:

    There are always costs to getting a photo and fighting ticks is one of the less agreeable ones. When does your tick season end?


    • Supposedly it ends with a killing frost. But they hunker down in the leaves and are a little insulated from the cold so usually after several.


      • Lyle Krahn says:

        My goodness. We never had ticks when I was growing up and have just come on in the last number of years. I thot they were only around in June. You have a full time battle on your hands.


      • Yeah, I don’t remember them from childhood either, Lyle. The first I heard anything about them was in college, granted that was a long time ago, when a friend returned from summer vacation with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.


      • Sorry to hear about the uptick in the number of those critters in your part of the country. As annoying as chiggers are in Texas, they aren’t known to cause medical problems (except if someone scratches an itchy bite to the point that it gets infected).


      • I am sure they’ve been around for centuries, but I think possibly the diseases were either not diagnosed or are a more recent development. Either way I just bought my can of Permethrin to treat my “outfit” as the can describes clothing.


  3. Lottie Nevin says:

    These are glorious. The detail, the colour, the whole kit and caboodle – Perfick!
    I know what you mean about not wearing footwear that supports – I’ve been walking in the most shoddy footwear and it really causes a lot of pain. I’m going to bite the bullet and invest in a pair of walking boots. How about wearing socks that you tuck your trews in to? or bicycle clips?! Probably not the fashion statement that you want to project but if it helps? 😀


    • Thanks, Lottie. I do wear socks that can be pulled over but not always. Good suggestion that I should follow. I don’t care much for fashion and rarely am in any company in the woods, today being an exception. Definitely get a good pair of boots for those long hikes with Lord Snout. 🙂


  4. Andrew says:

    Number Two is definitely worth a tick. I’m sure there are ticks in HK but I don’t see any as a rule. I am wary of DEET and prefer the cover up approach. It’s a trade off – heat exhaustion versus mozzies etc. Somehow I am not surprised that you join me in not being a fashion follower, Steve. I think practical clothing is the in thing.


    • Never have been, Andrew. In High School I tried it during prom time and felt like a total fool. Just not my style. I still dress the same as I did 45 years ago and in a few cases I am still wearing the exact same shirt from way back them. They just don’t make them to last these days like they did back then. 🙂


      • In around 1970 my uncle, who worked in a company that made shirts, give me six of them as a present. I wore them for decades until the last one finally wore out a few years ago. No clothes horse am I, that’s for sure, nor you.


      • I don’t know about that, Steve. According to that definition I may be as quite often I get soaked in some stream and the clothes dry on me before I get home to change them.
        Those must have been some well made shirts and I would think special as they were a gift…although not too many of us get excited about clothing as a gift when we are young.


      • I was going by the second definition in that linked dictionary entry. You’re right that you’ve sometimes exemplified the first definition.


      • They are quite widespread as is that scourge upon it, the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica).


  5. The pale violet color in your Philadelphia fleabane surprises me because the specimens of that species I’m used to seeing in Austin are fully white:


    We have a local species, Erigeron modestus, that does typically retain a tinge of pale violet, and which in the early stages of opening might even be called violently violet:



  6. I’m late commenting but I saved the ones that I missed. Both flowers are quite pretty. Lovely photos as usual, Steve. We have fleabane here but it is white.

    You are a brave soul to apply all of those insect repellants to your clothes and skin. I’d have to say goodbye to outdoor photography for I’m allergic to all of that stuff. In fact I stopped going on birding field trips years ago because I was so afraid of the ticks. Some years they are real bad but this year I’ve only seen a few on the dogs. If the ticks are bad then I have to use some high powered and expensive stuff by Frontlne called Tri-Tac. Ticks are not bad this year- yet so I’ve been really glad about that.


    • Better late than not at all, Yvonne. I appreciate all your comments, whenever they come, but if you miss a few I take no offense…I know you have a lot on your plate.

      I’ve never had a bad reaction to the DEET products except for a clammy feeling initially after application. As far as the clothes, everything I have read confirms that, once dry, there should be no effect on our skin so it might be worth a try. But you might want someone else to do the spraying for you and outside for sure. I hung a hanger in a tree for the spraying and then let them dry in the garage for a few days.

      The Frontline we use seems to do a decent job for Murphy. WE have only found one tick on him and it was dead.


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