Home » Humor » I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
But I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

Well, you know the rest. If you don’t, I’ve added a video of Judy Collins singing this on Sesame Street.

I’m feeling a lot like the old lady in the song. I’ve never swallowed a fly, as far as I know,Β  just a few moths and at least a half of a spider, but I am combating entomophobia with a touch of DOP.


I don’t know what these are but we’ve had thousands of them!


Two different conditions are recognized that relate to an inordinate fear of arthropods like insects and spiders. Entomophobia (“entomo” = insect + “phobia” = fear) refers to an unreasonable fear of real arthropods. The key here, as with other phobias, is that the fear involves a real stimulus, in this case an insect or spider, encountered in everyday activities. For example, a spider found inside the home might trigger this intense fear reaction.

A condition called delusions of parasitosis (DOP), or delusional parasitosis, on the other hand, is a severe, debilitating reaction to an imagined infestation. Delusions are a mistaken belief and in this case the person believes, wrongly, that they are infested with an insect or mite, or that they are being repeatedly bitten.

~ Jack DeAngelis, PhD, OSU Entomologist

My latest troubles began with the bee-like thing with pincers that nested in my hair while I was logging in a truck and burrowed into my head. The harder I pulled at him, the deeper he went. I had a sore head for days. He’s looking a little worse for wear in this photo. I took a picture in case I broke out in hives or went into anaphylactic shock (which was more likely to happen from eating the crawfish, but still…). That way ifΒ  Heidi found me passed out on the floor, she would know what bit/stung/pinched me.



Of course, there was that cricket the size of a Dorito thumping the mouse trap.

The last few nights have heightened my entomophobia. There was the furry spider on the door, the creepy spider with white spots that lives on the night lights and the red spider that spins in the wheel well at night.



Then, night before last, it was the giant winged thing that came in stealth-fully (again, probably in my hair). I’m beginning to redefine hair-net as: my hair that nets every winged creature! He came in quietly. I didn’t notice. Hours later, he dropped down on my head from somewhere while I was reading. I can’t tell you how much I hate arthropods dropping on my head.

You can’t really get a true idea of this from the picture but he/she was about the size of a monarch butterfly when it spread it’s wings… and u g l y!



He fell on my head. I jumped out of the chair. Henry flew out of his bed. The giant flying thing went all kamikaze on us – bouncing off the walls and ceiling and even under the table.



Henry isn’t much of a mouser but he does go after bugs, but this one was too much for him. He couldn’t get to it. I was disappointed to wake up and have Heidi say the winged creature disappeared shortly after she got up. He resurfaced justΒ  few hours ago. I was a little more prepared tonight. I knocked him out with one of Heidi’s Crocs before he could get fully airborne.

I carried him outside.



We’re pulling out of the hole right now which mean there were non-stop cement trucks and tankers. By the time I’d logged everyone and returned inside and sat down to read again, my DOP kicked in big time.

Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I felt the giant winged thing crawling down my back.

It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t that giant winged thing. It was a this giant winged thing.



I’d rather have DOP, but I don’t think I do. So far, everything I’d hoped I was just imagining was crawling on my skin, was real and worse than I’d imagined.

I may have entomophobia but there’s something about being phobic that implies it’s a little irrational and I don’t think that’s that case either.

I think I just have boundary issues.

And, all things considered, I think they’re pretty reasonable. I’m saving the snakes and frogs for another day. I actually love the frogs but I wish they’d eat the giant winged things.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. Still, a hoodie is starting hold a certain appeal!


43 thoughts on “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

    • Hey Judi –
      I guess the big winged one was a Dobson fly! At Steve’s recommendation, I Googled it and yep – that was it! And they were thick!

      We had a lot of frogs around the swamp which were kind of cool to hear at night – but the bugs kind of canceled out the coolness.

      Much better now that we’ve moved to the parched county of Karnes.
      I haven’t had a bug get lost in my shirt for 2 weeks! πŸ˜‰

  1. Last summer we found a combination flyswater/eltrcution paddle which zaps insects in midair.I wouldn’t recommend it for use on your body though -it sorta stings when you zap them on your skin. On our last location, we had a mound of fire ants in the road right in front of our RV–I had to be real careful where I walked at night; they are MY LEAST FAVORITE Texan insect!! On our trip North for the summeraround Dallas, we had a transmission leak—and 3 days and $1200 later the mechanic told us that a can of sealer and a new tank of trans fluid might have solved the problem–UGH!!! Hope youall have a good holiday weekend and GOD BLESS all our active and veteran servicemen!!

    • Nancy –
      I hope I’m not being redundant. I replied to this once, but if doesn’t show up for me, so I’m thinking it may not show up for you either?
      I would love an electrical flyswatter (I think – I’m a little accident prone)! πŸ˜‰
      Henry got into some fire ants briefly once – they are wicked little things.
      So sorry about your repairs. Even rolling homes cost plenty in upkeep, don’t they?
      I hope you’re having a great summer!

  2. Bugs…ick. We are eight miles outside Cotulla guarding a gate. The bugs are a mystery. We’re not from around here (Texas) either. I’m on night shift. Some nights when we had rain, I wore my nifty rain hat, but the brim isn’t very big and tiny, beetle-like bugs would slide right down the back of my shirt. Luckily I could get them off my upper back quickly.

    I am not paranoid. There really are bugs crawling on and biting me! The latest are black flies. Nasty bites…usually three or four on my legs at once. Guys are exiting the gate and I’m doing my shoeplatler bug-slapping polka dance. They must be laughing their heads off.


    • Susan –
      Second of your lost comments… :/
      So, you’re down south a ways!
      Sounds like it’s not possible to out south the bugs in Texas.
      I always figure I look like I have some kind of disorder, flaying my arms and hoping up and down!
      I’m glad you added your story.
      I think people thought I was making it up the bugs in my shirt!!!
      I’ve gotten used to a lot of things in a year and a half of gate guarding, but bugs in my clothing wouldn’t be one of them! πŸ˜‰

      • I don’t know how to post a current email to this site. I figured I can just reply to a old train of comments.

        Google dobson fly for the kamakaze bug. It looks like the female. The male has really longgggg pinchers! Really funky looking.

        Jane and I were on a natural history after hours event here at the University of Connecticut a couple of years back. It was about bugs. Late at night…large light to attract as many flying insects as possible.

        Jane was lucky enough to have the male land right in the middle of her chest. While she was screaming get it off me the entomologist was saying, “Look everyone. A Dobson Fly!” I was proud of her. She didn’t sweep it off and stomp in into the dirt. All in the name of science. πŸ™‚

        • Brilliant Steve and right as rain!
          That’s exactly what it was / they were – Dobson flies!
          That also explains why some pinched and some didn’t.
          They were so big – creepy big.
          The article said 2 inches, which is pretty big when it wants to nest in your hair and crawl around inside your shirt! πŸ˜‰
          We were right on the edge of a swamp so it was a perfect breeding ground.
          Tell Jane she’s amazing and that we haven’t seen a single Dobson fly since we left the swamp!:D
          I’m so glad they weren’t termites, as some had suspected…

          • Speaking of termites, unfortunately we are parked smack dab in the middle of termite grounds. We have those exterior mud tunnels all over the ground and when you step on one you see the white little worker termites. Tomorrow we need to call an exterminator and get this all resolved and treated. I thought getting rid of the house eliminated that problem! WRONG!

  3. Oh my gosh… we are headed back and I work nights and I definitely have Entomophobia!!! I have my snake guards, now I need to order the safari hat. I think I need a body net as well πŸ™‚

    • Vicky –
      I think I’m starting to look like I have turettes! I’m constantly swatting and smacking and waving my arms – plus the mosquitoes are thick at night.
      We move on Saturday, not quite sure where, SW about 70 miles.Maybe it’ll be a little better once we leave the swamp… or not… πŸ˜‰

        • Vicky – πŸ˜€
          Possibly, I don’t know? They’d have to have sleeves so I could handle the log! πŸ˜‰
          Things are just fine, really. Just having a little fun with every day(night) life on a rig.
          Tonight our CM brought us a platter of homemade “hot tamales:” that he brought back from Louisiana. They were really HOT but really good!

      • I’ve seen some of the large beetles, but I’m not sure about the large winged insect…Not even sure what that is! I’ve seen plenty of those little black spiders with the white spots. I think they’re pretty harmless. Except that they’re, you know, spiders.

  4. Okay, so now I’m going to be kinder to the June bugs who lay on their backs and spin and buzz on my porch…..it could be so much worse! How can you have such large bugs when you have so little rain?

    • Sherrie –
      We’ve had 24.7 inches of rain this year – 12 inches above average and we’re precariously balanced on the edge of a swamp so we’re in Bug Heaven!

      Last night I was trying to sign a semi driver in and he kept hollering something at me and making hand motions. I couldn’t hear him over the roar of his diesel so I finally stepped up on his steps. He reached out the window and smacked my shoulder and said: “You had a big black thing crawling toward your neck!”

      No doubt..
      He was sweet and really pretty creeped out. πŸ˜€

      Heidi and I talked to him later – he’s still here.
      I asked him where he was from, thinking maybe he was from somewhere that they didn’t have many big crawling creepy black things, and he said: “Unfortunately I’ve lived in Texas all my life!”

      As Heidi would say: “I am woman, hear me roar!” πŸ˜‰

  5. I’m itching and feeling in my hair now! Oh Debbie . . .you are brave and have every right to demand boundaries! haha! Aubrey . .. she likes bugs. She has this tube with air holes so they can breathe, and she runs and tubes the bugs inside the house before the “bug murderer” (that would be me) gets to them. She names them, guards them and then lets them go outside. But down there with you, she might need a bigger bug tube! love and prayers for those frogs to get extra hungry soon!

    • Deb –
      We get 5 gallon water jugs from the company (you can’t drink the water in the tanks – just shower and wash dishes with it). The water jugs have a pretty big opening. I think Aub would need to collect those to collect the bugs that live here and maybe a PCV pipe for a tube!
      The frogs are really little and hopeless outnumbered!

  6. Did I mention that I won’t be signing up for gate guarding school?? Yes, definitely “Boundary ” issues–serious and inviolable. Caddo does not do bugs or any other critters you’ve so humorously described for us, dear Sis! God bless you gals–much love from this sis!

    • Hey Caddo!
      I didn’t know anything about Texas before coming here.
      Good thing, huh!? πŸ˜‰

      We did a lot of camping when I was a kid. We pulled a little Cox camper that kind of folded out like a tent on top.
      My poor Mom had to go into the bathrooms and kill all the spiders or at least scare them into the corners before I would go in. I was SO afraid.
      And I wouldn’t stay in my tiny plastic swimming pool if a bee or even an ant got in it (I must have been just a joy to raise)!
      I’ve come a long way, but a girl has to draw a line somewhere and I draw it at my neck… or maybe my hair!

  7. Have Mr. A and I ever told you how much we love you?? If not we are telling you now. You take some of the most unpleasant parts of gate guarding and actually turn them to humor!! You saved us many of times when things got tough. We love the job but some days are tough. Our biggest problem today is that we are at a rv park that does not let dogs relieve themselves on trees and bushes. The “dog park” is way at the other end. Poor Andy will be cross eyed before we get down there!!!

    • Hello Jill!
      Have I ever told you and Mr A how completely wonderful I think you both are? You two are the kind of gate guards everyone could learn from!
      I’ve decided I need to find humor in just about everything if I’m going to survive another 5 years of gate guarding! It was 93 today, already. I’ll try to make that funny later… πŸ˜‰

      We almost stayed at a really pretty RV park in Oregon but nixed it when they told us we’d have to carry Henry across the road, even to empty his little bladder. Seriously? What are they thinking? We saw one dog in doggie diapers and we ran for the hills (the ocean actually, but same difference).

    • Oh Susie!
      That’s NOT good news!
      Do termites smell really awful when a whole pile of them die?
      These are the first dead bugs I’ve ever known to smell so bad.
      Fortunately all the rain has washed most of them away. We move this week. Hopefully we won’t be taking any passengers with us!

    • Mike –
      You’re so funny!
      Really, that’s probably true. Even the locals don’t know what all of them are called! πŸ˜‰

  8. How big are your mosquitos? Just wondering. OK, as for your phobia. WELL FOUNDED: NECESSARY. Not only would i wear a hoodie, i’d provide a wee hoodid for Henry. What a cute little behind he has: Bug Monger! Too cute. I’m so sorry spiders and bigs are crawling all over your skin, i feel creepy just reading about it. Is Heidi OK with the little monsters? ICK! Much love, i’m praying that the bug distress soon eases.

    • Hi melis!
      Surprisingly the mosquitoes are normal sized – but black and they’ve just started swarming. We’re sitting right on a swamp so it’s a perfect breeding ground.
      Heidi and I both dislike bugs but she gets indignant if they DARE to come inside her RV!
      Her anger conqueors all fear! πŸ˜‰
      love and itchy,

  9. Debbie, I think you need to add a jungle net to your safety helmet — and wear it in the RV. I do not like bugs either —especially if they are on me or in my house. I’m going to stop reading in bed as they are attracted to the backlight on the Kindle. I think I’ll be scratching all day……

    • Hi Karla!
      I’m laughing at your backlight bed bug attractor!
      Our lights are enormous, as are the bugs, so I don’t have much hope…
      For Mother’s Day, my daughter gave me an Amazon gift card that I was going to use for a book for my Kindle.
      Yesterday she sent me links to hats and hoodies. I’ve picked out my safari hat with a neck nape!
      We move this week.
      As soon as we figure out what post office to use, I’m ordering it! πŸ˜€
      Take care my friend!

    • Hi Kevin!
      My daughter, who REALLY hates bugs, sent me a links yesterday for all kinds of hoodies and scarves and hats. I don’t think a cowboy hat will do it. I’m going for the safari hat with the neck nape! πŸ˜‰

  10. Haven’t had those experiences with bugs, not yet anyway. I’m still freaking over the possibility of snakes sneaking around here. But that last beetle type bug would surely freak Gaby out and probably me as well.

    • Bob –
      Although I don’t like bugs much, I don’t mind them outside. I mind them a lot in my t-shirt!
      We’ve only seen 2 snakes here (although they did kill 3 rattlesnakes on this site). One was a very green grass snake and the other one, I’m not sure – but he was only about 2 feet long or less. πŸ˜€
      We now have an infestation of black mosquitoes (we’re sitting right on a swamp so that’s not a big surprise). I’ve never seen black mosquitoes.
      Unfortunately they bite just like the brown ones!

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