Fear of bugs and insects

telephonoscopeMarch 19, 2011

Hello, I'm new to the forum, and I'm trying very hard to figure out how to solve my problem. Please, if this is in the wrong forum, let me know.

I'm hoping to garden for frugal and therapy reasons. I've got the physical issues with gardening under control in regards to my disability, but the mental issues are another story. I have severe entomophobia, to the point where lady bugs and flies scare me, let alone bees and wasps. I understand that the bugs are beneficial, and that more likely than not they won't hurt me, but phobias are illogical. I've basically been told to give up on having a garden, but I can't do that yet.

My mother suggested gardening in the very early morning, as there may be less bugs? A friend suggested wetting the garden down with the hose before playing in it.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions? I'm very serious about this, so please be supportive. Thanks!

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Telephonoscope, I wish I had a magical suggestion that would solve your problem, but I don't and can only encourage you to try to do what you can.

You already realize your phobia/fear isn't logical and I don't have any background to help you deal with it. If it helps at all, in 40 years of gardening, I think I've been stung by a wasp all of three times....and while I didn't enjoy it, I'm still gardening :)

Most of the insects you encounter are beneficial, if you could only look at them as something positive to see in your garden. I'm happy to see ladybugs, and even happier to see the little immature ladybugs that look like tiny alligators (sort of). Bumblebees in particular just bumble about their own business and can even be brushed away with your hand, as I find I need to do when cutting stems of lavender.

Maybe start small with a brief project, then increase the time you are out as you are more comfortable?
Your mother is right, cool morning hours would be the quietest time for you to be outdoors and the least active time for bugs. I don't think I'd spray the area down with water first, bugs get thirsty too and it could be a calling card.

I know it isn't the same for everyone, but I need to be outside and growing things to stay grounded, centered. I wish you luck and hope you can find a way to make things work out for you!

(and OT, I've tried to get some of this spam and advertising removed by GW, it's hardly welcoming and not what we'd like to find when browsing this forum. No actions taken yet though. Please ignore it for now)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 8:11PM
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a couple hints for you are you can wear like long sleeves,jeans and not shorts, some type of hat and most important so not to attract the bugs etc,don't wear bright clothing and No perfume. I just go on doing my business and they do theirs. No problems

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:57PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

The more exposure you have to insects, the less they may affect you over time.

Some people also think they have a phobia, when it's really just a lack of exposure. Look at how many people are afraid of the dark. Really! When they think about it, it's mainly because they're never really in the dark. There always seems to be light from somewhere in a town, and you don't realize how dark it is in the country. It takes some getting used to, and some people get used to it faster, and some never really do.

Just remember that when you're in the garden, you can always just walk away and come back later. No one is forcing you to be there (they should, anyway!).

You control your exposure. Maybe the more exposure you get, the more you'll get used to them.

I never thought I would be able to pick up a snake. But we have garter snakes around here, and the cats always seem to find one, and then they sit in a circle and tease it by patting it with their paw. I got tired of looking for a handy container to scoop it into, so I just started picking them up. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and now I don't think about it... very much.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:41AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Unless you have a sensitive skin you could also consider using a bug repellent.

We get a lot of mosquitoes over summer - and wasps, to which I'm allergic, so I usually apply repellent before I go out into the yard.

When you're planting up keep plants you know are attractive to bugs back from your paths. And avoid flowering herbs such as Monarda, Thyme, borage, Melissa, some of the sages, oregano, because bees love the flowers. Excellent nectar and pollen.

Same for willow trees in spring. You'll find bees there for pollen.

Fruit trees - get someone else to harvest for you and stand back in spring when the bees are busy.

Thank you for being gentle in fear. Lots of people would spray wildly to kill all the bugs. You haven't and your garden (and health) will probably be the better for it.

Remember to encourage birds to your garden as they will help keep pest bugs under control - as well as slugs and snails.

Hope your garden has been great fun and productive over this summer.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 5:13AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

I have a phobia of anything with more than 4 legs. Wear gloves and long sleeves. I once disturbed a wasps nest while transplanting some flowers. I used my shovel to defend myself-I must have looked like an idiot swinging at the swarming insects. But I did manage to kill most of them without getting stung. Fears are irrational. If you want to garden, do it in the early morning.Just avoid the heat and sun. Late afternoon/dusk is okay until the mosquitoes come out! Good luck! If you want a garden badly enough,it can be done.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Back when I lived in an apartment, I started experimenting with growing plants under fluorescent lights indoors. Instead of dirt, i used coconut coir, perlite, turface, fir bark, anything that doesn't decompose quickly as I believe decomposing stuff attracts bugs. Then I just water with a fertilizer that included micronutrients. Almost zero bugs and it was also really convenient because the set-up was on my desk.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Good advice already and i echo the early morning, long sleeves and glove mentions. The more you're out there, the better it will get. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:07AM
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You can also get a little net at the outdoors store, it goes over your head. It's for mosquitoes, and it works well and feels like there's a barrier.

I have an intense phobia of worms. Worms, of all things! So I wear gloves when I garden. Luckily i have two little boys who are more than happy to move a worm into different soil (a few feet away) while I work. I have been blessed with very fertile soil and tons of worms, but even after all these years they still freak me out.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:41AM
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