Two new signs of the apocalypse


Since we’ve all pretty much decided to forget about COVID these days, we’re all feeling pretty safe when we step out the door.

Well, except for the zombies and killer bugs. It’s always something.

It looks like there are two new signs of the apocalypse that have shown up in our area. The first is zombie deer.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds, unless you’re the deer. “Zombie deer” is the trendy name for chronic wasting disease. This disease affects deer, elk and moose, but since we are a little short on moose around here, we see it in deer.

The symptoms are staggering around, looking disoriented and being emaciated. If you see a human like that, he’s probably just had too much to drink. If you see a deer like that, he could be a zombie.

If you’re a person, you don’t have to worry about the deer attacking you and turning you into some kind of humanoid zombie. A zombie deer might not be as afraid of humans as a normal deer (after all, what does he have to lose?), but it looks like the disease can’t be passed from deer to people. That’s good news for us, but still bad news for the deer.

The second problem is something called a spotted lanternfly. This is the latest in a long line of nasty bugs that have invaded Ohio. It’s a strange-looking red bug that eats all kinds of things, including grapevines, maple trees and black walnut trees. The emerald ash borer already has wiped out my ash trees, now I guess the spotted lanternfly is coming for the other trees in my yard.

First off, I’ll give you three guesses where this little guy originally called home. If you guessed China, China or China, you would be right. I am beginning to get suspicious.

Anyway, they first showed up in this country in Pennsylvania and are coming our way. Apparently, young lanternflies look like a tick (charming!) and when they grow up they look like a moth with red wings and polka dots.

Here’s advice from experts on what to do if you see one: squash him! The only other choice is to indiscriminately start spraying pesticides around, which seldom ends well.

Here’s one more thing to consider: when you’re out there beating around the bushes trying to avoid zombies and find lanternflies, be on the lookout for ticks. When I was young back in the Middle Ages, I played in fields and woods all the time and never saw a single tick. These days, they seem to be everywhere.

The explanation is that the tick’s range has expanded as temperatures get warmer. Also, there are a lot more deer around here than there used to be, and you can bet ticks love to hitch rides on deer or other potential victims.

I have to tell you, I feel sorry for zombie deer. Lanternflies are like an annoying neighbor: I don’t dislike them, I just want them to go away. But I really hate ticks. Here’s what you do if you see a tick: squash him! Twice!

It’s almost enough to make you want to just stay in the house … but not quite. Winter is just around the corner, and that will take care of all those nasty bugs. All we’ll have to worry about are the zombies standing in the middle of the road.

David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected].

No posts to display