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Bedrock Bob

Have you ever been bitten by a vinegaroon?

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We were out last night floating across the desert when we came across a vinegaroon. I have a friend that uses an electrolytic process to copper plate insects and I decided I was going to put this rascal in a Gatorade bottle and take him to her. I bet he will be awesome copper plated and mounted on a rock or piece of polished wood.

I have played with these things all my life. They are not venomous at all. They are just ugly and smell like a pickle. But I am here to tell you they are not harmless.

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The cut on my second finger is where this rascal nailed me. He was so fast I didn't even see him do it. He cut all the way through the skin on my old tough finger and left some kind of black fibrous stuff in the cut. It was like a black vinegary tattoo under the skin that burned like hell for a couple minutes.

Fast and deep I'm telling you. All the way into the flesh so quick I was not even aware he did it. And I was watching that ugly bug pretty good as my fingers got close. I just suddenly felt pain and saw a black mark under the skin like a splinter. After I got the bug in the bottle I dug it out with the tip of my knife. The stuff he left under the skin stank of strong acetic acid and was obviously designed to carry a dose of that stuff into the cut. It musta been some sort of tissue around that claw that he left behind in me. It burned like heck.

He could have really put a gash on a person with tender skin. If he would have done that in a soft spot it would have really hurt. I had no idea these guys could do that.

So how many of you desert rats can say you have been bitten by one of these critters? Coming home I got to thinking that I might be in a pretty exclusive club. I also seem to be developing some strange powers and think the bite may have made me immune to several types of virus. Ill keep you posted on that one. But I figure that if anyone has had this experience it would be someone on this forum. So let's hear it from any bite victims out there! 

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We've got scorpions, and wind scorpions (camel spiders), but thank God, we don't have those...LOL Hope your bite heals fast.

Jim

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3 minutes ago, Idaho Jim said:

We've got scorpions, and wind scorpions (camel spiders), but thank God, we don't have those...LOL Hope your bite heals fast.

Jim

Yeah, we have the wind scorpions and the little yellow scorpions too.  A plain old yellow scorpion will really put the hurt on you bad. A lot worse than these guys. But a scorpion won't take a chunk out of you either. So you can pick your poison I guess.

I think the vinegaroon is a twist on the "camel spider" theme. They both are actually arachnids and have their front legs developed for sensory organs. They both walk on the other six. They both have a big set of choppers but the vinegaroon wins the prize. When they stretch those jaws out they are half as long as their body. ...And they have a pretty big body!

I have seen several this year. The crickets are all over the desert and the vinegaroons seem to be mighty busy eating the crickets.

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Dang Bob thats rough. We dont have those here but we do have a ton of wind scorpions and regular scorpions. Those dang wind scorpions are so aggressive, we cant lay on the shop floors around here without a creeper. When i was younger and working on my dads race car in our shop, we constantly had to have a look out. You could see them coming from across the shop floor while you were laying on it then you had to haul butt out from underneath the car before it got to you. The guys on the floor would always scream like a little kid, while the look out guys were laughing their butts off. Basically it came down to rock, paper, scissors or drawing straws to see who got to hang out under the car if we were working on it at night. My little brother would always scream the loudest and come out with the most bumps and scratches from banging his head trying to shag out of there as fast as he could. Oh man, good times.

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25 minutes ago, nugget108 said:

Dang Bob thats rough. We dont have those here but we do have a ton of wind scorpions and regular scorpions. Those dang wind scorpions are so aggressive, we cant lay on the shop floors around here without a creeper. When i was younger and working on my dads race car in our shop, we constantly had to have a look out. You could see them coming from across the shop floor while you were laying on it then you had to haul butt out from underneath the car before it got to you. The guys on the floor would always scream like a little kid, while the look out guys were laughing their butts off. Basically it came down to rock, paper, scissors or drawing straws to see who got to hang out under the car if we were working on it at night. My little brother would always scream the loudest and come out with the most bumps and scratches from banging his head trying to shag out of there as fast as he could. Oh man, good times.

Here they bury themselves in the sand and come out in force around the firelight. We used to go out in the summer and build a big fire in the wide arroyos and drink beer. They would come out all around the fire and jump up and catch bugs flying around. The darn moths would be flittering around so crazy you could not keep your eyes on them but the wind scorpions would catch them in mid air. The rascals would jump three or four feet high sometimes. Awesome critters, but like you say, bold.

I have them all over in my shop too. I think they roost under the concrete slab or something. You often see one a couple inches long cruising around the shop looking for bugs. 

None of the above bother me much. I think scorpions are kinda cool. Being a carpenter for so many years I had to deal with them every time I picked up a board off the ground. I would chop off the tip of their tail with my framing axe as they were running across the plywood. You could pick them up and handle them without getting stung. I used to lay them on my tongue and close my mouth and they would lay there flat and still. Then stick my tongue out at someone and they would crap all down their leg trying to get away. Tons of fun!

Centipedes are the only thing that freak me out. They are sneaky and will get in places that just make your skin crawl. And we have them nearly a foot long in this desert. Especially up north. The darn things are thick and seem to get everywhere you don't want them to be. I have seen them twice as wide as my thumb curled up in the sink. Or have one nine inches long come wiggling out from around the crapper while you are sitting on it. The darn things make my skin crawl. I would almost rather see a rattlesnake than one of those critters.

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When we were down in Winnemucca in June, we dug out two 4" scorpions. Monsters. never seen them that big here. An hour or so later, one of the guys got stung by a smaller one on his rib cage. Scared the crap out of him. That particular spot must have been full of them.

From all I've read, the bite of those desert centipedes is one of the most painful of all the insect bites. Glad we don't have them here.

Jim

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1 minute ago, Idaho Jim said:

When we were down in Winnemucca in June, we dug out two 4" scorpions. Monsters. never seen them that big here. An hour or so later, one of the guys got stung by a smaller one on his rib cage. Scared the crap out of him. That particular spot must have been full of them.

From all I've read, the bite of those desert centipedes is one of the most painful of all the insect bites. Glad we don't have them here.

Jim

Many years ago I was married to a beauty from Boston. She was a trooper but had never been out much and certainly did not know the desert.

I took her to San Carlos, Mexico for our honeymoon. We spent days on the beach scuba diving and fishing.

One night she got stung by a scorpion in the tent. Twice behind the left knee and once behind the right. Right in the soft spots as the scorpion was running across under her legs.

As I was getting her in the truck she started having trouble breathing and was in severe pain. That was about three to five minute after she was hit.

It took an hour or so to get to the little Medico station in San Carlos. Back then it was just a little village. I had to stop twice and blow air in her along the way. She would only take one breath every few seconds and it sounded like she was snoring.

To make a long story short again, she started breathing normally after about two hours and regained consciousness right after that. Her left leg "shuddered" like she had MS or something for two days afterward. For several hours after she woke up she just wept and held ice on the backs of her legs. She had had two children and she told me that it hurt as bad as childbirth. She described it as having her legs burned in a fire.

We found the scorpion in the tent the next day. I mounted it on a little purple shell she found while scuba diving. I lacquered it with some clear fingernail polish she had in her bag. When we showed it to our fishing guide his eyes got big and he said, "Amarillo Grande! Muy Mal! Muy mal!". She was quite a celebrity once the word got around and she had to tell the story at the docks a half dozen times whenever we got off the boat. 

They all wanted to see the backs of those pretty legs it is true. But they also really had respect for her because many of them knew just how bad that bug is. It kills some folks. And the ones it does not kill are baptized in fire. 

I have been bit a hundred times by our garden variety yellow scorpion and it hurts like hell. Like holding a cigar to your arm for an hour. But that rascal was 2 1/2 inches long and built like a bulldog. And it bit her three times in a super tender spot. I just could not imagine how much that hurt. No doubt that was as bad as it gets.

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I have not been stung by this type of bug, but I believe that they are also called a "whip tail scorpion".  I found one a number of years ago down in Tucson, and at that time wasn't exactly sure what it was so I contacted the Arizona Desert Museum down there about it, and when they heard that I had one they where all excited and wanted to know if I would donate it to them, as they didn't have one, and was having trouble finding one for their live-display.  So I gave it to them.  I know that they prefer dark, damp, cool places to reside, and can be found outside around porch lights while they catch bugs.  Gary 

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Bob you shouldn't had told that vinegaroon that you were going to take it to be copper plated, heck I would have bitten you if you told me that!!

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I have seen them all my life here in AZ. I never knew they could do that either, wow!

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17 hours ago, garikfox said:

I have seen them all my life here in AZ. I never knew they could do that either, wow!

It has been a couple days now and it is like a little paper cut. Kinda painful and slow to heal. It definitely went all the way through the skin and into the flesh.

I didn't do anything to it and I have been in the desert all night for three nights. I constantly have dirty hands and probably don't wash them enough so that has a lot to do with how this is healing. Just about like any other good nick in your dirty palm skin that got a strong acid in it and was neglected for a couple days. :sickbyc:

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The upside is that I am now immune to every disease I will never have. And I don't have to drink vinegar or use coconut oil to keep my bone spurs from causing pine lumber to burst into flames when I see an outcrop carved into a manicured poodle by skilled Spanish masons that never existed.

Plus I now have access to a special Nuggetshooter forum exclusively for vinegaroon bite victims. Only I can see it on my main page and no one but me can comment. It's a huge party over there and we are discussing specific locations of nugget patches and sharing maps of the Glorieta strewn field as well as photos of half naked prospector girls and stuff. It's a hoot man!

 

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18 hours ago, Au Seeker said:

Bob you shouldn't had told that vinegaroon that you were going to take it to be copper plated, heck I would have bitten you if you told me that!!

That was EXACTLY what I was saying when he bit me.

I was trying to get him in that bottle and I said, "Get in there you rascal. I'm going to copper plate you! OUCH! THE F@<&ER BIT ME!!!!"

My buddy who was in the Land Cruiser watching the drama unfold was laughing his hams off when I got bit and said the same thing you did.

Right away I kinda figured I had it coming. The last thought that went through my mind was to remind myself "These things are not poisonous". A nanosecond later I had been bit. The joke was on me because it didn't really matter if a bug is poisonous or not with fangs like that. What mattered was that he understood every word I said and knew enough about electrolysis to know that he didn't want to become part of the circuit.

The problem nowdays isn't that the bugs are more poisonous. It is the educated ones get so uppity and bite if you force them to do something they don't want to do.

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A copper plated vinegaroon.

Whaddya think? Cool enough? Creepy enough? Chihuahuan desert enough?

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Pure copper electroplate over a real vinegar bug. Done by my hippie artist friend. It takes about 10 days in a sulfuric acid/copper sulfate bath. He collected about 13 grams of copper in the process and is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

My finger still aches when I look at him.

I will do a Liver of Sulfur patina over the bright copper and then buff him with a bronze buff. I have another one that I will probably do with a verdigris patina that will turn the copper black and deep iridescent blue. 

She has a couple more of them in the electroplating tank right now. We are experimenting with plating times and voltages so we can get the most perfect detail that we can. Once we get the process perfected I am going to mount them in little velvet lined coffin shaped boxes with a glass top. The boxes will be made from Mesquite and/or Condalia wood. Ill probably put a tag with the binomial name of the bug and some info about them on the back. 

He put up quite a fight but I think it was worth it! I am really pleased with the way he turned out!

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WOW,  a Cypreus Mastigoproctus giganteus , a new species perhaps!! 

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37 minutes ago, Au Seeker said:

WOW,  a Cypreus Mastigoproctus giganteus , a new species perhaps!! 

Copper plating bugs is a "thing" these days. My friend is part of a growing bunch of artists that do all sorts of cool stuff. They copper plate everything from coffee beans to dragon flies. So someone out there may have done one of these. If they have no one in our little art community has seen it.

They are not rare but most people have not seen one. Most that have ran away and were psychologically scarred from the experience. So it is my hunch very few have been copper plated.

I am not sure but I bet this one is the first Cupreus Mastigoproctus Giganteus on the planet. I am claiming it is until someone comes along and calls me out on it. And then we will kick up some dirt over it. Until I loose that fight this one is the first.

And here is number two. His blushing bride.

Looks like I have a breeding pair!

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This one is even bigger. By about 50% in size. She weighs 15 grams. About 3" long not including the whiptail. I wrapped her jaws around a 1/2" hex nut to dry her. So this one could definitely take a toe off.

She is a real sweetheart though. A great personality and she can really fix a mean cricket. Not to mention that booty! Must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that!

So I am sure ol' Pancho Primero will be a happy husband. 

 

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I can see who's on top in that bug bedroom. She is amazing and looks like she gets whatever she wants. 

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That's amazing, Bob...Bet that's the only copper plated vinnergaroon in the world!  WTG!  Cheers, Unc

 

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Bob: Cudos to your friend for keeping the build up down on the pointed areas.  If she does not know already. Adding brighteners and levelers to the acid copper will help in reducing the nodules on the legs. Also, air agitation is very important. 

What type of conductive paint does she use? Graphite based im guessing.

Lower amps will produce a smoother coat of copper also, but it takes longer.

Tom H.

P.S. A couple of pics of a "bug" I just finished. :) 

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Hey Tom!

Beautiful plating job! What the heck did it come from? I certainly don't recognize it. It looks kinda like an old Nash or Hudson but I have no idea.

I have no idea what her process is either. I do know she does not use graphite but a copper emulsion. It looks like finely powdered copper in Floetrol to me. She mentioned that some people use graphite or graphite paint but that she preferred a copper preparation. 

I don't know anything about it at all. She does all sorts of electroplate jewelry from odd items. I give her all of my little rock chips from the tumbler and any strange bugs I find and she works her magic on them.

I carve sotol walking sticks and I get a lot of carpenter bees out of the stalks. I took her a dozen bees and she plated them and they came out awesome. Since then I have been taking her any bug, leaf, seedpod, flower and odd bone that I can find. 

I kinda like the little spheres on the ends of the hairs. It adds relief and dimension. But I notice that it thickens some fine tapered details. Like the second vinegaroon's tail. It is thicker at the top than the bottom. Kinda backwards from what it originally was.

We are experimenting with making the thickening even more extreme. I saw a naturally plated scorpion that was all chunky and distorted and I like that look. I glued a few quartz crystals on one damaged bug and she is turning the juice up and allowing him to become really encrusted. I am hoping for the same look I saw on the scorpion. Kind of a rough, natural "mine water" plating that has rocks and crystals stuck in it. 

I have several insignias from old trucks. A Mac bulldog, an Apache 10 logo from an old Chevy, and of course several "Toyota Landcruiser" logos that have fallen off my old rig over the years. I have considered chrome plating them and mounting them as memorabilia. It is a cool process and the end result looks great. Maybe one of these days I will start dabbling in plating when I get all the other projects in the shop out of the way.

Thanks for posting your awesome plated ornament Tom!

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in 1994 was sitting outside on the concrete slab, there was a harvesting black ant hole on the edge of the slab.along came a vinegaroon who kept going into the hole and stacking the ant's in a pile around the hole. next morning there were no ants the hole disappeared over time. was it eating the ants? if so, it must have had a big stomach.

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14 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Hey Tom!

Beautiful plating job! What the heck did it come from? I certainly don't recognize it. It looks kinda like an old Nash or Hudson but I have no idea.

I have no idea what her process is either. I do know she does not use graphite but a copper emulsion. It looks like finely powdered copper in Floetrol to me. She mentioned that some people use graphite or graphite paint but that she preferred a copper preparation. 

I don't know anything about it at all. She does all sorts of electroplate jewelry from odd items. I give her all of my little rock chips from the tumbler and any strange bugs I find and she works her magic on them.

I carve sotol walking sticks and I get a lot of carpenter bees out of the stalks. I took her a dozen bees and she plated them and they came out awesome. Since then I have been taking her any bug, leaf, seedpod, flower and odd bone that I can find. 

I kinda like the little spheres on the ends of the hairs. It adds relief and dimension. But I notice that it thickens some fine tapered details. Like the second vinegaroon's tail. It is thicker at the top than the bottom. Kinda backwards from what it originally was.

We are experimenting with making the thickening even more extreme. I saw a naturally plated scorpion that was all chunky and distorted and I like that look. I glued a few quartz crystals on one damaged bug and she is turning the juice up and allowing him to become really encrusted. I am hoping for the same look I saw on the scorpion. Kind of a rough, natural "mine water" plating that has rocks and crystals stuck in it. 

I have several insignias from old trucks. A Mac bulldog, an Apache 10 logo from an old Chevy, and of course several "Toyota Landcruiser" logos that have fallen off my old rig over the years. I have considered chrome plating them and mounting them as memorabilia. It is a cool process and the end result looks great. Maybe one of these days I will start dabbling in plating when I get all the other projects in the shop out of the way.

Thanks for posting your awesome plated ornament Tom!

It is off a 53 Nash. This is the 3rd one. If I PM you my E-mail address could you give it to the lady that does the bugs? I would be interested in knowing her process. I may be able to help a little also.

Tks Tom H.

 

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5 minutes ago, TomH said:

It is off a 53 Nash. This is the 3rd one. If I PM you my E-mail address could you give it to the lady that does the bugs? I would be interested in knowing her process. I may be able to help a little also.

Tks Tom H.

 

A Nash! They had some awesome ladies stretched out across the hood. Mighty sleek!

Sure I would pass on your email Tom. She is super talented and works in a bunch of mediums like textiles and resin too. She might want to talk plating. She offered to help me get set up with a tank.

I know she keeps it simple in a Tupperware bin with stuff she gets at Home Depot. I think the conductive paint she uses is probably the only thing she buys. I am going to go over and see her setup soon.

I'm tempted to play with a tank myself.

 

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2 hours ago, wet/dry washer said:

in 1994 was sitting outside on the concrete slab, there was a harvesting black ant hole on the edge of the slab.along came a vinegaroon who kept going into the hole and stacking the ant's in a pile around the hole. next morning there were no ants the hole disappeared over time. was it eating the ants? if so, it must have had a big stomach.

They are spiders. So I think they suck the juice out of their prey. They grab a cricket with those big jaws and hold them up against their awful mouth and suck 'em dry.

I don't know if they eat ants. Probably not much juice in an ant. They might be like vinegaroon popcorn.

I don't know where their stomach is but that abdomen is as big as my thumb on some of them. I bet they could juice a lizard.

I do know they carry gravel in their jaws. I saw two of them doing it. They were just packing four or five pieces of gravel around for no apparent reason.

I read they can live eight years. And the little ones are white and ride on the momma's back. 

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then it must have been sucking the juice out of the ants, because there was a big pile of dead ants. this was when living in the apartment behind Sharon's beauty shop. Al living in the apartment on the other side of me in Roll az. me electric bill was very low because slept next to Sharon's wall, and bathroom and kitchen was next to al's wall. they ran their air conditioners 24 hours a day. lived there four years.

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