Insect Bite on Skyline

General Palm Springs area.

Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby Perry » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:04 am

It happened really fast while I was coming down the shady slope today. Something came out of nowhere and bit me. I heard a buzzing and what seemed like less than a second later it landed behind my ear. I immediately brushed it off, but it bit me pretty much the instant it landed on me. It actually bit me on the scalp, even with thick hair in the way. The stinging feeling reminded me of an ant bite. Maybe it was a horse fly, but I didn't know they could bite so fast, and there's no water up there that I know of. I put hand sanitizer and antibiotic cream on it. Didn't even feel the hand sanitizer, so maybe that means it was a quite a sting. Anybody know what that was?
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby zippetydude » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:13 am

Ouch! Sorry to hear that Perry! If it had been big and slow I think you would have seen it, so it seems unlikely that it was a wasp or a bumble bee. They have fast moving rather evil deer flies up at Mammoth that will land and bite at the same moment, so I think you're probably right about it being some nasty form of fly. Maybe a whole bunch of them will attack and punish our trail tagger. :wink:

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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby arocknoid » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:59 am

Zip is correct, most likely a deerfly (vs. horsefly)

Quick hit-and-run to the head/scalp typical for deerflies; horseflies are less discriminate with the target area and will nail legs, arms, torso more often. Both will frequently bite *moving* prey, espec. deerflies; horseflies may "settle" on pastured ponies...

You "brushed it off" but made no mention of size/how it felt, as would be likely with a horsefly. "It was a big sucker!!" deerflies smaller than horseflies, like a housefly.
Also by size, horsefly bites hurt immediately with the bite moreso than deerflies, due to their larger mouthparts. But that can vary.

You heard it buzzing, so it probably had some size like a fly, but it bit near your ear. Was the buzz heard on approach, or only when near your ear, like buffalo gnats? (their bit can be surprisingly painful at times. I used to watch them after alighting, briefly, until a couple of painful bites. Now, WHAP!

Your symptom description fits more with mechanical bite pain rather than envenomation e.g. stinging insect/wasp etc.

Deerflies (and horseflies) can fly long distances, up to ten miles, to feed. You probably were within range of a water source favored for larvae/eggs.
(don't worry about any fly larvae under your scalp, btw)

Watch out for any signs of local infection, or systemic illness (esp. after delay)

Once on Baldy filming bighorns I came under relentless assault by horseflies, only three or four, but they kept dive-bombing and screaming in at all angles, with a few successful bites, til they forced my temporary withdrawal. grr.

Movie reference for for Ellen: Check out the dialogue between Walter Brennan and Lauren Bacall in her movie debut in Hemingway-inspired "To Have and Have Not"
"Was you ever bit by a dead bee?" hilarious
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby Perry » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:45 am

That's quite a lot of bug knowledge. I figured somebody on here would know a thing or two or be an enthusiast or expert.

I don't remember hearing any faint buzzing first, just brief loud buzzing and then it landed on me. It seemed like it hurt more after 5 or 10 seconds or so.

I only saw one lime green arrow (I only went barely above the shady slope). It was a little before the warning rocks with white letters, so there's a bit of irony there. That suggests that the tagger doesn't take the shortcuts, but the people removing or covering the tags are.

Since we're on the subject of nature, what are those cactuses (cacti) that look like prickly pears but don't have spines?
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby Ed » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:29 am

The last time I was up, which was Friday before last, there was quite a bit of buzzing in places. I assumed it was bees, but moved on quickly without investigating. I am not blasé about insect bites. I was stung by a wasp once, coming back from Silliman Peak in the Sierras. It felt like I had been hit in the arm with a hammer blow. Then grew into what looked like a small volcano, complete with liquid red stuff on the top. Took weeks to heal.
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby Ellen » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:55 pm

Howdy Grandmaster Perry :)

Ouch :o I've been bitten on Skyline (assuming a deerfly thanks to our board entomologists) and stung (wasp) on Deer Springs.

Howdy Z-dude :)

Training biting and/or stinging insects to attack trail taggers...there's an idea :twisted:

Howdy "Noid :)

I look forward to checking out the "To Have and Have Not" dialogue :wink:

All this talk of flies (fly larvae under the scalp, eeew!) brings to mind Vincent Price, David Hedison and Herbert Marshall.

Miles of smiles,
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby arocknoid » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:29 pm

Ed wrote:The last time I was up, which was Friday before last, there was quite a bit of buzzing in places. I assumed it was bees, but moved on quickly without investigating. I am not blasé about insect bites. I was stung by a wasp once, coming back from Silliman Peak in the Sierras. It felt like I had been hit in the arm with a hammer blow. Then grew into what looked like a small volcano, complete with liquid red stuff on the top. Took weeks to heal.


Bad enough, but thank heavens the Japanese Giant Hornets haven't pioneered here yet.
They *have* made it to England:

Runners attacked by hornets in race

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -race.html

In Japan they are the no. 1 cause of animal-assoc. deaths, ca. 40/yr, and most due to multi-organ failure caused by venom, NOT anaphylaxis. Twenty stings can be fatal. No anti-venin exists.

Image

Why Perry's ant bites hurt : another movie reference. Even if you are unfamiliar with ant bite mechanisms of injury, one Thing you may recall from an old film, "Them!" which I saw in the 60s. A young girl nearly catatonic with fear is jolted back to awareness and speech as Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle from "Miracle on 34th Street) wafts a chemical in front of her nose. "THEM!! she screams. (giant ants had killed her parents)
The chemical? Formic acid. as in the Latin etymology of the name for ants, Formica.

which BTW is what Crazy Ants use to protect themselves against Fire Ant venom, and why Crazies are displacing the invasive Fire ants. But that's another story...

bonus for Ellen: connection between Them and Thing and pitown pi
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Re: Insect Bite on Skyline

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:55 pm

Wow, that Japanese hornet is absolutely horrifying--here I always thought Japan was free of predators.

I got bitten on the thigh by a large horsefly while I just a few hundred feet above the end of Ramon Road--it didn't hurt super bad but to my shock it left a large, visible streak of blood--it was like that thing had teeth, and sharp ones!
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