Thursday, February 05, 2009

Got Worms?

I was browsing the net last night when I landed on a very interesting article (to me at least), written by Professor Ahmad Houry PhD, and Dany Doughan.

The article was meticulously detailing the ways by which you can deal with the infestation of Thaumetopoea pityocampa, better known as Pine Processionary moth caterpillars, or what we like to call: doud jommar.

This lucky find brought back many of my childhood memories as usual – and I immediately jumped into avid reading mode. As kids running in the forest, we knew everything we needed to know about those worms; there were rules. And we made sure to stick to the rules if we didn’t want to deal with the nasty rashes. We had heard horrible stories.

rule number one
Don’t touch them!

rule number two:
Don’t touch them!

We knew that they weren’t necessarily going to harm us, but it was just better to stay out of their way. We knew that if we saw a line formation, we should not try to kill them. We should just avoid them, jump over, and keep walking. If we saw a white foamy nest up on a tree, we should just pick another one to climb and another shade to play under.

They were just hairy that way.

When they came too close to the houses (or when we came close to their habitat), men would gather with torches made out of branches, and just burn them right there.

The authors here were very scientific and informative all through the eight pages of the article. The started out by identifying the problem and its gravity; they dismissed all common and popular beliefs, and later moved to presenting and explaining the lifecycle of these little monsters. When this was out of the way, they then proceeded by explaining the proper ways which one can use to get rid of the worms, and their nests.

(they were also wise enough to note that the aim of this campaign was not to kill annihilate the worms, but only to decrease and limit their numbers).

method one
… use a biological pesticide called Bacillus thuringiensis… (and that with the specific dosage, and at a certain time of the year…etc – and they explain in detail how this should be done, what will happen to the worms, and when to follow up and spray again – very scientific and extensive details )

method two
… if nests prevail during winter time, you have to cut the branches using big cutters tied to the end of a tall stick to avoid being close to the nest… and all that has to be done in February. Again they present very precise information on how to do that.

method three
… as for the nests that are perched high up on the tree and are unreachable, use a hunting rifle and “shred the nests to pieces”… again this has to be done in February.

I'm sorry... What?

Why didn’t you say so? I could have stopped reading 7 pages ago if you had just told me that I could shoot the shit out of them! .

Why the extensive scientific report if in the end, I am going to get barbaric and shoot at the nest with a rifle? Why imply constant care and caution, when at the end there will be mayhem?

Stay right here… I am getting my gun.

This is by no means meant as critique of the very important and much needed work published by the authors…
I really did enjoy the read… I just find that the ending is hilarious.
read full article in PDF format here
(the article is in arabic)

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At 1:57 AM, Blogger rouba said...

1. i am glad u still blog
2. how on earth did you land on this curious article?
3. can i borrow your rifle

At 2:43 AM, Blogger an OTHER human being.. said...

Ou3a Doud el Sandal ya mama!

At 2:50 AM, Blogger an OTHER human being.. said...

In the conclusion of this extremely scientific article, they mention bad hunting habits that exterminate birds that can help reduce the number of worms by having them on their daily menu.. Mayhem is not the solution.. Organised crime/hunting is :)
Keep posting/informing us..

At 11:15 AM, Blogger _z. said...

1. I am glad you still read
2. Was looking for a book on trees in Lebanon, so if you know of such book, please let me know. I am told it does not exist
3. I don't have one :P

an OTHER human being_
really? you called it sandal? we called it joummar.
I like your observation on organized crime, but can you guarantee any form of organized hunting? once you tell our compatriots that they can shoot, you can be sure that shoot they will..
do you remember the saga of migrating birds? M16s baby...
M16s and Kalashnikovs!

At 6:50 PM, Blogger poshlemon said...


mbala such a book exists. I think it is an aub publication and I have come across it numerous times in my uni library in london. It's some tiny little book in the lebanon section of the library. Come to think of it, it might not be specifically about trees but rather flora and fauna. Hmmm. Want me to check for you? I am always at aub.

But, why such interest? Anything specific?

At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Delirious said...

"Why imply constant care and caution, when at the end there will be mayhem?"

My dear _z., I think you just summarized the whole concept of life in this sentence.
Words of wisdom, if ever there were ones!

At 12:21 AM, Blogger _z. said...

Well the book shouldn't be so tiny in my opinion. I looked hard for the book. I have the wild flowers of Lebanon book written by Tohme... but I did not find any book that classifies trees in lebanon according to climate, altitude and sun exposure.. and this would be the book I am looking for.
But I mean yeah by all means, if you happen to be in a library and you have time, please do check it out for me.

I will email you the reason of my interest :)

do me a favor... and don't be too long before you start blogging again.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger _z. said...

you think? I ws just playing ;)
no but thank you!

At 5:02 AM, Blogger MMMMMMMMM said...

you're hilarious dude! and more interesting than the national geo wild!


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