Apr 17

Pus-colored entities

Well, it’s finally happened. And why wouldn’t it? Why wouldn’t my desk become infested with tiny pus-colored, speck-like entities that look like they’d be right at home inside a moth-eaten 100-year-old taxidermied jackalope? Frankly, I’m shocked that it took’em this long. Since I moved out here, nature’s indifference toward the personal sovereignty of H. sapiens has pretty much been the universal cry echoing through the hills. Life in the middle of nowhere is a losing battle against the tireless encroachment into one’s personal bunkhouse of violently aggressive life forms, most of which have teeth, stingers, venom, or all three. That my desk has heretofore been pus-colored-entity-free seems unbelievable.

Since discovering them this morning, I have been devising two working theories that could explain the tiny pus-colored entity population explosion: either my iMac has spawned nanobots, or, possibly, this:

For years the bunkhouse was rife with scorpions and brown recluse spiders and a crap-ton of every other bug you can think of. I shied away from chemical solutions because, cancer. But it was too ridiculous. I was smashing 2 or 3 brown recluses a day. So last summer, realizing that it was pretty miraculous that neither I nor the dogs had been envenomated yet, I finally cried uncle and called in an exterminator to douse the joint with carcinogenic toxins, whereupon the arthropods were done in.

But — and here’s the part where it gets kind of relevant to the pus-colored bugs — what if the dispatched spiders, or some other collaterally damaged insect population, had actually been instrumental in keeping the tiny bugs in check? What if, by killing the brown recluses, I have inadvertently set in motion a tiny pus-colored bug apocalypse? Obviously this is the butterfly effect moment that will ultimately bring human civilization crashing down in a pus-colored shitstorm.

Sadly, I cannot test my hypothesis without re-introducing the spiders, so this is another Science Mystery that will have to go unexplained because I am too lazy to ceaselessly toil in pursuit of Truth. Until further developments develop, I will continue to implement a squish first, ask questions later policy regarding the tiny pus-colored bugs.

Here’s a pretty dreadful thing, though. Once you have discovered a bazillion bugs on your desk, your entire body starts itching.

Photo of pus-colored bug taken with a ProScope Mobile at 50X magnification. It’s blurry because the dang bugs move fast and 50X photography with a handheld scope is hard.


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  1. ew_nc

    Seems like a living embodiment of the Volterra Principle. Or, to steal from Josh Kilmer-Purcell, The Bucolic Plague.

    There’s a name for that itchy, bug-crawling feeling, just can’t remember it.

  2. quixote

    The word is formication. (From “ant,” i.e. like having ants crawling all over you.) And that picture makes me feel like that even though the pus-colored apocalypse is nowhere near here. They look too much like some kind of louse. I’m kind of obsessively brushing things off my arms as I write.

    Thank you very much.

  3. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    “Formication”? Vocabulary word of the day. Patriarchy blamers are so smart!

    Initially I was leaning toward a diagnosis of lice. I neglected to mention it, but my young nieces were here last weekend, and the day after they left their mother called me up in a lather to inform me that they and every kid in their school had head lice and that I should probably burn all my furniture. But when I googled head lice, it turns out my bugs don’t entirely resemble the examples online; mine are pointy at both ends, whereas the head lice in the photos are only pointy at one end. And head lice typically don’t live on steel desks, apparently. And I haven’t found any on my own head. I can’t seem to find any pictures online that look precisely like my bugs.


  4. Val

    Think I found ’em – yellow thrips??? (the larvae are yellow)


  5. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Val, I love the thrips! I think you win. I looked’em up at the Texas A&M entomology website, and it turns out that our spring wildflowers are overrun with’em. Not coincidentally, I had a vase of recently-picked Texas bluebonnets on that very spot on my desk. My specimens do fall into the descriptive parameters for thrips larvae, so I’m going with it as a tentative ID. All that remains is to determine if the population will decline now that I have removed the bluebonnets. Thanks!

  6. Val

    I knew that “A” in entomology would come in handy someday 😉 !

  7. Comradde PhysioProffe

    I got bit by fleas at my buddy’s house last year, but I had a delayed sensitivity reaction that didn’t kick in until a few weeks later, coincidentally the morning after I had stayed in a hotel. So I was convinced it was bedbugs in the hotel. The shit fucken itched for almost a month, with new bites appearing every few days at the beginning. I had no idea about the delayed sensitivity shittio, and so I was convinced that bedbugs had moved into our home and were attacking me at night. According to PhysioWife, I was waking up screaming every night “THE BUGS ARE ATTACKING ME!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!”

    Only later on did I put two and two together and realize it was fleas from my buddy’s fucken dog that he lets run rampant in the woods behind his house. The shittes were so itchy it kept me from sleeping!

  8. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Delayed sensitivity? What fresh new horror is this? Now I’ll be second-guessing the source of every bug bite until the end of time. Thanks a bundle, CPP.

  9. Kate (That Girl)

    I love you.

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