Gardening Can Be Dangerous To Your Health


Later that morning I notice that my wrists are itching and that there are tiny little welts and a sort of rash. By that afternoon I had a huge rash, all bumpy red and itchy, on the back of my neck, all around the shirt line on the front of my neck, up and down my arms, and on my stomach. I had a miserable itchy night and went to the doctor the next day. She said it is a pretty common thing to see here. It turns out that the nest is protected by some sort of toxic chemical, the sneaky things. It sure did a number on me. I am now on cortisone and something else waiting for it to kick in. The rash seems to have died down but I am still itching. The doctor said you can burn the webby bag in the tree but I would think that would damage the tree some so I’m thinking you need to cut off the branch that is affected.. I’m not sure what I will do next year, because I know they will show up again. I won’t be pulling at them, that’s for sure. By the way, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and gloves and the toxic chemical when right through them.

27 thoughts to “Gardening Can Be Dangerous To Your Health”

  1. Oh no! Poor you! Glad somebody knew exactly what was wrong though. The medical people here in France are the best. If it were my tree, next year I’d cut the branch though or call a tree surgeon with a few minutes to spare.

  2. Gorgeous photo! Is that your house? I love those colors all together.

    So sorry about your rash. Maybe next time you can just take a shop vac to it and vaccuum them up? What do the locals do?

  3. How beautiful if that photo with the lilac and the lavender door. I s that your house?
    Amazing to have that washing line in such full view.I wonder if they know their underwear is being showed arouond the world!

  4. How beautiful if that photo with the lilac and the lavender door. I s that your house?
    Amazing to have that washing line in such full view.I wonder if they know their underwear is being showed arouond the world!
    Hope the rash clears quickly. Not nice.

  5. Good grief! Hope you’re much improved by now. Rod actually got a rash while we were there that sounds very much like yours; the doc said it is a “specialty” of microscopic “bugs” found ONLY around that particular village, and that he came into contact with them while working in the yard. Could there have been some remains of the web-bag left over from the previous spring? Only “The Shadow” knows!

    Love the photo

  6. Great photos.
    Sorry to hear about the rash. Hope that clears up fast. I got poison ivy once from gardening — I agree, it can be hazardous!

  7. Pictures from yesterday and today are so beautiful-vibrant colors. Postcard perfect! Maybe Cafe Press?

    But oh Linda, the itching and rash from the trees sounds awful. Take care and hire it done next year!

  8. Ouch!! Hazardous is right! Caterpillars are gross but I do love butterflies, so what to do, eh?

    We had a tree in our garden infested(!) with those little buggers. Its poor leaves nearly disappeared in one night! Dad used a LONG pair of metal pincers to extract the fat caterpillars then squished them. I was his ‘spotter’. Those things only climb up to the leaves at night to feed; during the day, they disappear. No where in sight.

    I think cutting off a bit of branch and carrying it gingerly to a corner to burn, is a good idea. Then immediately wash your hands after.

  9. We use a blow torch to burn them off our choke cherry tree and it doesnt seem to harm it. Last year we burned one off a young crab apple tree with no harm to the tree at all.
    Care is needed with the torch but it does work

  10. That’s what I was trying to remember. What my Father used to get rid of those pests. It was a torch. I think just a rag torch in those days soaked in petrol. But otherwise just as Annie is saying. And he used it on his beloved fruit trees, so must not have been especially devastating to the tree.

  11. OMG! BIG YUCK!!!! I think I’d take the hose (in case of emergency) and then burn them. I hope I don’t have any of those waiting for me when I retire and move to my place!!

    On another note – are those your purple shutters? They are magnificent.

  12. Several people have asked if the shutters are on our house-they aren’t. They are on a little house in our village. Ours, however, are about the same color, just not surrounded by flowers of all sorts. I took this photo when we first moved here, over 4 years ago now. I think the person that lived there then has moved because the bonjour sign is gone. Linda

  13. Poor thing! I’m glad the doctor knew what he was talking about, it must be very common thing to happen! I second the idea of the vaccum if that would work, otherwise go for the blowtorch! Hope your rash clears soon and the itching subsides.

  14. So sorry to hear about the itch, Linda. Miserable, I’m sure. Hope the meds kick in quickly…

    At our daughter’s school in France they had some kind of caterpillar that if touched or ingested (as some dogs did) had dreadful reactions. They would crawl across the ground in long lines and all had to beware…ne touchez pas! When dogs happened to eat one, the reaction was horrible, often resulting in surgery of bits of the tongue or cheeks. When did cute little caterpillars turn into such monsters??

    Feel better soon.

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  15. My girls are more afraid of the “chenilles processionaires” than they are of sharks, tigers or bears. The long lines of them are crawling across sidewalks in our neighborhood, causing us to make great detours.

  16. Yuck! Are they the same as the tent catepillers here?

    Poor you; that is a strong poison they exude if you have to be on meds to combat it.

  17. Maybe use some long shears and a bucket. Snip it of with the shears and have it drop into the bucket? Sorry to hear about your rash, sounds like no fun 🙁

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