If there is one place one hopes to be safe at night, it is surely in one's own bed. Ha! Wrong, wrong, diddley WRONG!
Last night, well 3 of the o'clock in the morning to be precise, I was woken from a lovely slumber by a sharp stabbing pain in the side of my neck. Well, I put my hand to my neck to the point where the stabbing appeared to be occuring and...
...something fairly large and crawly met with my fingers!
So, still a bit half asleep, I caught hold of whatever it was and flicked it across the room. No screaming or shrieking, just 'pick 'n' flick. And then I switched on my bedside light, and went to the bathroom to inspect the itching, burning and stabbing sensation.
(Andy said at this point he had come to consciousness and womdered if I was doing some kind of sleepwalking getting up too early for work malarkey.)
'You okay?' said he on my return to the boudoir.
'Something has bitten me,' said I. 'Look...'
Well! I pottered downstairs for anti-histamine and then back into the bathroom for a good dowsing of eau de TCP. Then it was 'Let's Go Bug Hunting,' because there was no way I was going back to sleep with Count Dracula on the loose. And what did we find a-crawling across the carpet? This...
This is a shield beetle. Or 'bastard shield beetle' as I now prefer to call it. I had done my usual weekend wash of the bedding and dried the laundry on the line, what with it being such a marvellous weekend, weatherwise, and aforeforesaid BSB must have travelled inside on the fresh bedding, survived my strong armed ministrations with the steam iron and lain in wait to wreak its insect revenge when I was at my most weak and vulnerable aka fast a-zizzzz.
Despite the Laws of Karma demanding that BSB should be stamped upon, we were very kind and transported it outside via tumbler 'n' cardboard to be released into the wild. Then we beat and shook the bedding in case BSB had brought the family along for the laugh, and then I lay awake for ages imagining I was going to have some horrid and violent reaction to the bite, never having been got at by a BSB before (mosquitoes are my usual insect stalker) and then I fell asleep because of the anti-histamine, and woke up late for work. Well, not too late but late enough that I was in a grump this morning.
There has been no itching or further swelling today, just a certain amount of tingly/ burning/ numbing sensation. And feeling like I have some kind of tropical sleeping sickness. And students staring at the side of my neck but being too polite to say anything.
Frantic research on the interwebbly about shield beetle bites has ranged from a) they don't bite to b) they can't bite and c) their bites are harmless. So no flippin' use there then - thanks interwebbly. My theories are a) that BSB was a trained assassin sent after me to atone for the deaths of the large willow aphids I fed to the chickens earlier in the day and b) that I had not partaken of my regular dose of internal insect repellant - Marmite - for two days because I've been having eggs for breakfast instead of crumpets.
Either way, who gets bitten by a shield beetle, for goodness' sake?