CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Many of us have been scrambling to get the landscaping in our yards done in between rain showers this summer. And if you’ve been working with mulch around your shrubs, here are some things to keep in mind.
Burlington landscaper with Wright Contracting Services, Mark Selby, says that in his experience the rain drives bugs into your shrubs where they’re just hanging out, waiting to feast on you once you reach in to trim or mulch. His arms look like a constellation of bug bites, with some he’s had that are so serious he suffered with one for six weeks.
Selby’s been landscaping since he was a kid. Selby guesses he’s been bitten millions of times, and said your shrubs are loaded with critters.
“See all the things that come out of there?” he said, rattling a shrub as bugs came flying out. “Gnats and mosquitoes. The gnats are biting gnats.”
That’s not to mention spiders, fleas, ticks, and other vermin which get driven into hiding with the rain.
"You're trimming it, you're trimming it and then you go like this,” he said, scraping his hand over the shrub. “And before you know it, you've got these. It's not coming out of the mulch, because I've done thousands of yards in mulch."
He said he made the mistake of wearing shorts doing a landscaping job once and something flew up the leg.
Stefano Dipietrantonio’s sister, Terri Cline, was recently bitten by something while landscaping in her garden and thought it was just a regular bite. That’s until those bites grew into massive pink welts, a single one, covering most of her abdomen. Doctors still haven’t figured out what bit her, but are treating her with prednisone to help with the swelling and itching. After four days on the prescription, she’s barely seen any improvement.
Selby said whatever gets shaken from your shrubs lands right there in your mulch.
But Selby said a few simple steps, can keep you nearly bite free.
“Wear long sleeves, put a pair of gloves on and put them over your cuff,” said Selby. “And wear long pants. You can use duct take to make your pants snug around your ankles, so no bugs can slip up under there.”
Selby also recommends spraying your body down with bug spray, just like you would sunscreen, before you put your clothes on, then hit the outside of your work clothes with it, to give you an extra layer of protection. The CDC says most things, like mosquito bites, can be treated topically with products from the drugstore, but anything that looks worse, or if symptoms get worse after 48 hours, see your doctor.