All I Ever Learned About Pests I Learned in Girl ScoutsMissy Henriksen
- National Pest Management Association
Monday, June 2, 2014
I just retired as a Girl Scout leader after 11 years of helping
girls learn a lot about themselves and the world around them. The
girls weren't the only ones who learned things; that's for sure! I
certainly know when to use a glue gun vs. a glue stick and I know
how many cases of cookies must be sold to fund an excursion. But I
learned most about the great outdoors through Scouting. In fact,
after countless camping and hiking trips, I have taken away many
teachings that are particularly relevant to my life now as the Bug
Lady. In celebration of my retirement, I'd like to share a few
lessons I learned from Scouts that are especially timely as we all
prepare to spend more time outdoors.
Cover Yourself to Protect Against Ticks. Scouts
are taught the importance of covering their heads with bandanas or
hats when in the woods to protect against ticks. They are
encouraged to wear long socks and/or pants when hiking to keep the
ticks at bay, and many leaders teach the importance of using an
insect repellent with at least 20% DEET for protection. As the Bug
Lady, I have urged these same words of caution HUNDREDS of times.
We are seeing an increasing number of tick-borne illnesses each
year, so it's more important than ever to take precautions to
prevent against them. After spending time outdoors, inspect
yourself (and your children) for ticks. If you find any, remove
them promptly as the longer they remain on the body, the more
opportunity there is for disease transmission.
Admire Wildlife from Afar. Through Scouting, I
have seen bats, skunks, raccoons, mice, snakes, foxes, and have
heard rumblings of nearby bears. All are amazing creatures to be
appreciated in their own surroundings. We are
not meant to share close living quarters with any of these animals!
Mice can spread salmonella and Hantavirus, and their feces can
trigger asthma and allergy attacks. Raccoons, bats and many other
mammals can carry rabies. You do NOT want to take selfies with any
of these animals. Remember this and make sure your children
understand it as well.
Beware of Things that Buzz. If you want to see
a bunch of tired girls move fast, watch what happens when they see
or hear a stinging insect nearby. And, rightfully so, as stinging
insects send 500,000 people to the hospital each year! While most
of us want to run quickly from and swat at these buzzers, both
movements are the wrong course of action. Savvy girls have learned
that many types of stinging insects are easily angered by swatting
movements - and just how important it is to walk quickly away from
wasps and hornets, not run!
Seal Your Food. At a campsite, all food must be
stored in airtight containers so that it doesn't become a buffet
for hungry creatures. How often as the Bug Lady have I said these
very same words about storing food in the pantry?
I am thankful for Girl Scouts and all that I have learned
professionally and personally. I will cherish memories of too many
s'mores around a campfire, fabulous trips, and folding sleeping
bags into bags that are impossibly small. And, I will respect the
lessons that now serve me well - ones that I now proudly share as
the Bug Lady.View Comments
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