Friday, August 15, 2008

Calling all scholars...

Answer to Deva's Woes?
(Photo at TBDEC, Courtesy of Kirby C. Stafford III, CAES)

Readers will recall from a recent post on "Mental waves upon awaking from long stupor" that my old Ozark friend Deva Hupaylo is currently struggling with a Lyme disease infection, the awful ticks that are responsible, and the old question that these things raise as to the meaning of life.

Knowing from experience that I'm useless on the first and third questions, Deva has turned to me for advice only on the second question, one that I'm eminently qualified to answer due to my 4H project in entomology -- in which I placed second at the 4H state contest two years in a row! Technically, of course, I'm qualified only to help in fighting insects, a category to which ticks don't belong, but I try to have some knowledge of adjoining fields.

Anyway, here's Deva's specific inquiry:
My German friend pointed me to this wasp that parasitizes ticks. Do you . . . know any good sources of info about these . . . or how to buy some? I can't find much, even though wiki says it has been researched extensively. I think they would be quieter than the Guinea fowl.
Wasps! Why, those are insects, so maybe I can use my expertise to help after all! Of course, professional help like mine doesn't come cheap, so the filthy lucre annoyance may exceed the fowl Guinea noise.

The wasp that Deva refers to is the "Chalcid wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri," which "lays its eggs into ticks" by utilizing "a symbiotic virus to weaken the tick's immune system," or so says the Wikipedia entry that Deva has linked to.

The entry adds that "[b]ecause of the importance of I. hookeri as a natural enemy of ticks, it has been extensively researched," but as Deva points out, Wikipedia has little more to say on the topic.

I'll try to help, of course -- else what are friends for? Currently, I'm searching through Aristotle's works on 'animals':
History of Animals (Historia Animalium)
Parts of Animals (De Partibus Animalium)
Movement of Animals (De Motu Animalium)
Progression of Animals (De Incessu Animalium)
Generation of Animals (De Generatione Animalium)
Thus far, I've found nothing on the Ixodiphagus hookeri, but I'll keep looking. Meanwhile, any other scholars who might be interested in this query are welcome to search through other Ancient and Medieval texts and report back here.

Fear not, dear Deva, scholarly assistance is on its long and wearisome way.

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At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My subscription having expired in the late '90s, I'm uncertain whether the resource remains.

The particular subscription to which I refer was to a magazine called "Organic Gardening" but the publisher apparently is extant.

Rodale Press.

I distinctly recall an advertisement for a packet which purportedly contained beau coup numbers of a bacteria that specifically attacked rather small eight-legged bloodsuckers.

At the time I was ingesting significant amounts of B-1 which I had previously heard/read offered some degree of shielding (incidentally I can't recall the last time I was attacked, and I continue to ingest B-1) however the only bloodsuckers I've personally had trouble with since, were large enough to have nametags (or badges) that clearly stated "IRS."

And none that I saw had eight legs. Well individually anyway.


At 8:41 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I shall direct Deva to your remarks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and a couple of other forms of tick fever can be deadly, but usually respond to doxycycline fairly quickly; but lyme disease seeems to be a long term problem. A friend of mine battled it for about a year. Tetracycline or doxycycline is the usual treatment.
My friend had to keep out of the sun while taking tetracycline.
Recent newspaper accounts note the increase of the various tick borne diseases. Bambi is beautiful, but there are drawbacks when deer multiply, with destroyed gardens and shrubbery, damaged vehicles and a disease affecting cattle among the number.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Uncle Cran. Deva will appreciate the concern. She seems to be getting good treatment but nevertheless to be having difficulty clearing up the infection.

It is, as you note, a hard-to-treat condition, but it sounds as though a year on tetracycline or doxycycline did the trick for your friend.

I hope that Deva's case proves easier.

Jeffery Hodges

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