Oak Mites

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Topeka has a plague of Oak mites.  I’d really never heard of Oak mites before, but I now know a fair amount about them and don’t like them much.  It seems that this season might be the worst outbreak of Oak mites in recent history.  They are so bad this year because the 17 years locusts came out and the mites feed on the larva and the carcasses of those, so there are lots more.  They also must feed on humans.  They bite, much like chiggers.

These mites are pretty immune to anything that keeps them from biting.  So, if you’re outside, you’re getting bit constantly.  This is really slowing my project’s list from having checkmarks beside the tasks.  It is nearly impossible doing anything outside.  Today I’m going to try something new by wearing full long sleeves top and bottom.  Maybe even gloves and a hat.  I figure if the mites can’t get to the skin, then they can’t bite.  I think they are really, really small though, so my plan might be for not.

These little guys are so bad that I can’t even work in my garage.  I have a ton of bike work to do, so this is a problem.  I might have to move inside.

They are going to be around until it freezes a couple times.  That might not be for a while.  The leaves here are still solid green and the only sign of fall is the birds gathering, but the lower morning temperatures.  It is near perfect weather.

Today I’m riding over to Lawrence to meet up with Joseph Schmalz.  I have a couple tires he needs, so it is really a tire transfer ride.  It is supposed to rain later in the afternoon, so it probably should be earlier than later.  I need to seal up the tires on my gravel bike before this all takes place.

My ex-team mate, Benn Stover is getting married tomorrow night in Kansas City.  I am glad I’m in town for this.  I think I’ll ride to his wedding.  It is probably 3 1/2 hours or so.  Might ride gravel.  Bet I could round up a group.

Just finished watching the end of the Dubai Tour.  They cut the stage short because it was hot. Is that a surprise?  Could be a very hot World Championships next year in Qatar.

Okay, better get moving.  I think I need to carry some Hydrocortisone Cream or Calamine Lotion with me at all times today.

Seems like fall with the long shadows and gathering birds.

Seems like fall with the long shadows and gathering birds.

Pretty perfect weather.

Pretty perfect weather.

I went to the Tuesday night "beer ride" from PT's.  They have Tank 7 on tap.  That is dangerous.  Super high alcohol content.

I went to the Tuesday night “beer ride” from PT’s. They have Tank 7 on tap. That is dangerous. Super high alcohol content.

I've been doing a some car work, as long as my ankles can stand it.  Fran was helping me yesterday.

I’ve been doing a some car work, as long as my ankles can stand it. Fran was helping me yesterday.

This is Fritz.  He is mainly an outside cat.  But, I think he has found a new inside home.  His coat is super soft, which isn't the normal case.  I don't really care as long as he's happy and healthy.

This is Fritz. He is mainly an outside cat. But, I think he has found a new inside home. His coat is super soft, which isn’t the normal case. I don’t really care as long as he’s happy and healthy.

This is the 4th healthy tree in my neighboorhodd that they have cut down just because.  I stopped and asked the home owner and he said that some branches had fallen and he was just tired of the "maintenance".   What a lame reason.

This is the 4th healthy tree in my neighboorhodd that they have cut down just because. I stopped and asked the home owner and he said that some branches had fallen and he was just tired of the “maintenance”.
What a lame reason.

I found this little snapper yesterday on the ride.  I'm not too big on Snapping turtles, but this guy was cute.  I took him to a creek.

I found this little snapper yesterday on the ride. I’m not too big on Snapping turtles, but this guy was cute. I took him to a creek.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Oak Mites

  1. Rod Lake

    He didn’t want the maintenance of a tree? You should leave a copy of “Apartment Finder” on his porch.

     
  2. Clifford

    Man, I’d love to have a tree like that in my yard, or even across the street. No such luck here in Brooklyn, where that homeowner is welcome to try and find an apartment!

     
  3. Robert E

    Steve we are being chewed alive down here in Springfield Mo as well. At first I thought they were mosquitoes or possibly chiggers. But the bite is different. They leave these horrible little bumps with a surrounding raised margin of red skin like a whelp. There have been some times where I was outside for just a few minutes not even close to a tree and then the next day woke up with all kind of these bites. I’ve never seen one but they are wicked. We also have a ton of these bag worms on the trees. Some people call them tent worms. They make these webs and chews all the leaves off the trees. Perhaps there is a relationship.

    Our friends in St Louis are having the same problem with he Oak mites. Maybe some kind of genetically engineered bioterrorism just for the Midwest. Will be glad to have a good frost!

     
  4. Krakatoa East of Java

    Of course if that tree were located in a place like… Cable Wisconsin… You’d be all-too-happy to spend an afternoon splitting it with a maul.

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Krakatoa – There is a difference between splitting wood that was cut specifically for firewood and cutting down a perfectly healthy tree that preceded the neighborhood. That oak tree was at least 80 years old and was not a “firewood tree”. A lot of the oak they cut around Cable is to thin the forest to allow the other trees to grow healthier. Plus, much of the area’s economy is based on logging. It isn’t a fair comparison between a healthy old tree in an established neighborhood and a tree that was planted specifically to be logged.

       
      1. Krakatoa (East of Java)

        Ah, so you’ve got a caste system going for trees? Those born to die for your benefit, and those born to adorn?

        I parted with an established 25′ mesquite tree a few years ago. The pollen it produced was literally drowning my family each spring because of our allergies to it. The tree was beloved by the neighbors and was planted long before I bought the house. Am I a “tree killer”?

        I liked the shade it provided, but I don’t give two shits that my neighbor is pissed at me.

         
      2. Wildcat

        Hey Krakatoa (East of Java) – good thing you’re only at your home so little. Is that why you squat at Steve’s place so often?

         
  5. A person

    I like how 17-year locusts come out every year. At least we only get 1/17th of them every year.

     
  6. Mark

    I can maybe relate to the home owner. A couple of years ago I had an oak “about that size” taken down in my front yard. Each year there seemed to be a new and often “very large” limb that I would have to have taken off of the tree for fear of it falling on my house. Like your neighbor, I became tired of fooling with it and just had it cut down.

     
    1. Krakatoa (East of Java)

      I had an oak in my backyard that predated the house (in NJ). When the house was built, the tree was much smaller. As the decades came and went, the tree was now way WAY too close to the house. Dangerous limbs, and infested with a gazillion ants that swarmed our deck, etc. And a tree-hugging neighbor that didnt know what i know. Perhaps Steve’s neighbors know something he doesn’t.

       
  7. JR

    Just because you think it is a “lame” reason certainly doesn’t make it that way for the property owner. You could plant a new tree in your own yard to “make up” for the one cut down.

     

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