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Ticks, Fleas, and Wasps

Discussion in 'Research' started by Muqtada, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    Does anyone have any good resources involving either ticks, fleas or wasps? I'm working on an idea involving giant versions of the aforementioned but I know little to nothing about their behavior or the actual mechanics behind what they do and why they do it. Google searches provide me with an overwhelming pile of information, and I don't know where to start
     
  2. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Amazon.com: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (National Audubon Society Field Guides) (9780394507637): NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY: Books
    This book might be a huge help. Check with your local library to see if they have it.
    It's straightforward and easy to read with standard information about each critter so you can compare abilities and such.

    I must now go shower a million times to get the creepy crawly feeling off of me.

    Hope it helps
     
  3. As much as it pains me to say this wikipedia is a good place to start.
     
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I can tell you a little about them..... Wasps I had most of my contact with in Wisconsin. They hurt like a &itch when they sting, and don't lose their stinger, so they can sting you again! Also, I think there's solitary kinds and nesting kinds. You will probably want to do some research about what kinds of wasps you want to use.

    Fleas like warmer climates. Even here in Albuquerque, they come in the summer on ground squirrels or whatever, and die in the winter. I did a research paper about the Black Death of 1348-1350, and it was supposed to have been spread from marmots in the steppes of Mongolia..... just an interesting fact about fleas... they like their host animals, and without them they cannot live long. But they are usually well content to stay on their host without wanting to travel. You have to move the host animal or it has to die. So when massive flooding caused the marmots to move... suddenly they came into contact with more people and what was once a disease that killed marmots, turned into the Black Death that killed more than a quarter of Europe's population in 2 years. you can wikipedia Black Death and it gives an overview.

    As for ticks..... again, I'm from Wisconsin.. and where there are deer, there are ticks. I have heard stories of people hiking through the woods and having to shake them off their clothes by the dozens. When I lived in Missouri, I really got a close look at fleas and ticks, because we lived on a wooded lot, and there were deer in the woods. My poor dog (who sleeps in my bed and is a pampered spoiled animal) couldn't go out for even a minute to see to his personal needs without dragging some pest back in. Nothing gets old faster than having to flea comb an 80 pound dog every other day because you saw a flea on him. AAK!! it was awful, and what's worse was when one of the dog's ticks crawled up my leg, or a flea got on the baby!
    Ticks are the worst of the three pests, I think, because they're hard to find, and you have to pull them out very carefully. I knew a guy who had a few tick heads buried in his arms because he ripped the bodies off too quick.

    So there you go..... I'm no scientist, but there's some of my personal experiences with these critters, and I could probably come up with more if I dig back into my memories a bit more.
     
  5. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Imagine an allergic reaction to a giant wasp sting. Last wasp sting sent me to the hospital.

    Wasps don't normally lose their stinger, but they can get ripped off during the sting. So if a sting acts weird, it might have the stinger still in.

    Giant flea and ticks... I think giant fleas would be easier to get rid of, they are only a pain because you have to get every single flea off, or they will breed more. A bee sized flea bite would hurt, but would also be easier to find and kill. I would think a giant flea would need a course haired giant to hide in.
    Ticks: they don't rely on hiding as much, they latch on and you don't usually feel the bite as they attach themselves. A fist sized tick would draw alot of blood from its host, and would look really nasty when bloated from over eating. but would the tick latching on be felt if giant sized? Don't they have a natural analgesic to numb the sight before finding the meal? ticks on horses usually show themselves quickly.

    Giant parasites would require large hosts to keep them fed, and their family to be, to feed also.

    You didn't mention them, but Jumanji had giant mosquitos, with like 20ga needles on their face. I don't think they would be able to pentrate a car windshield though. But just another option in giant blood suckers/parasites.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    You could do some general looking at the order Hymenoptera. That includes wasps, bees, ants, and the like. I think those are the most interesting insects to deal with because of the behaviors they exhibit. Not that there is anything wrong with ticks or fleas...
     
  7. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I agree. Fleas and Ticks require a host animal and would not be as easy to use in plot, since they tend to be content just living on their host. Wasps however, have very interesting behavior. Remember the caterpillar that the wasp stings and paralyzes? Then lays eggs on, and the young eat the caterpillar? That behavior alone could make a good story... say they were hunting humans...

    Or if the wasps weren't that big, how about great underground colonies of golf ball sized wasps.... imagine accidentally stepping on that!
     
    The Blue Lotus and Steerpike like this.
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yeah. There are some wasps that do similar things with tarantulas. Very interesting group of insects.

    I once stepped in a nest of yellow jackets concealed under leaves in the ground. That wasn't much fun.
     
  9. Phin Scardaw

    Phin Scardaw Troubadour

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    I really like the idea of using insects and pests in fantasy stories as obstacles to overcome. They can be oversized, but don't have to be. As Steerpike could attest to, a swarm of angry yellow jackets is a force to be reckoned with.

    Not every creature that your adventurers need to encounter need to be goblins and ghouls. New species are fun to play with. Like anihow was saying, the wasp's cruel habits of laying eggs on paralyzed prey is fascinating, and a human-hunting species would be truly monstrous. There's a lot of potential.

    I created a type of insect for one story called kokliaks that made a syrup in their hives, much like bees - but the syrup allowed any human who ingested it to have superhuman powers for a short time.

    I'd suggest wikipedia for most of the basics. It's usually where I start looking for information, unless I need really specific information that's harder to find. Ah, research!
     
  10. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I bet dogs, cats, and livestock(even a few people) across the world would disagree with you on that.
     
  11. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Lyme's disease, the Bubonic plague...

    :)
     

  12. My Grandpa was scratching his back and felt soemthing "hard" and it "Tickled" him a little every nw and again...

    So he tried to pull it off, it was a "hard tick" and he said it had dug in so hard he had a hard time getting it out... when it finally came out he said it had a huge chunk of his skin in its mouth!

    Grandpa would beg to differ with you on that one. He can't stand them and whent he dogs come in for the night now he locks them in the bathroom and goes over them one at a time until he has removed all the ticks.

    When he goes out to feed the critters he says he goes to the bathroom and inspects his body for them as well.
     
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Ticks are disgusting. I found a really bloated one once; I didn't even know what it was until I picked it up and saw all the little legs flailing. It was about the size of a kidney bean. *shudders* Gross.
     
  14. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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  15. Argentum

    Argentum Troubadour

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    Okay, I'm from Minnesota, so I can help with the tick bit.

    Usually, if you're not in any knee high brush really, you can expect to get a couple on your legs after a while outdoors. So it's not usually that bad. However, one time, my family went out into the woods/grassland far from paved roads and just a couple strides had about eight wood ticks on my pant legs. I was very nearly freaking out, I tell you, because they literally peppered my jeans, all climbing upwards. Took forever to pick them all off and then a couple more strides and ICK. One thing that might help is that the first half of the day, you'll usually see them on your clothes. I've never had any make it to my head, because I've never let them get that far, it's usually the legs they end up first. In the evening, after a day outdoors, I usually do the official 'tick check' and give myself and my clothes a very thurough check. They're usually not too hard to miss (wood ticks). But if you sleep overnight with one, I think by morning it should be clinging to a bit of skin. Still can get it off I think, but after that, it would be harder to get as it would have already chosen it's spot and started to cling.

    You can crush them with your nail, but it's harder when they're totally flat (empty). If they're a wee bit fatter, they're easier to crush. AND if they have any roundness to them at all, toss them in the fire. Sometimes they pop. And I can't tell you how satisfying that sound is. If they end up on your dog, if you let them sit for a couple days, they'll start turning purple and bloat and you'll need plyers to get them off..... not fun and they get pretty darn disgusting...

    Also, you might want to know that there's two kinds of ticks. Wood ticks and deer ticks. I don't think I've ever had a deer tick on me (those are super tiny). Wood ticks are most common, but I think it's the deer ticks that usually bring the lyme disease. Also, I think I heard that after they have enough blood, they drop off, but I've (thankfully) not learned that first-hand.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  16. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    I pushed a lawn mower over a nest once. That wasn't much fun either. To say the least. :bee:
     
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