They’re coming to get us. After years of being swatted, smoked, squished, poisoned and harvested by the ton on windshields and in outdoor lighting fixtures, the bugs are coming to get us. And who can blame them? It’s not like they’re organizing for a big offensive; it’s more like their last fight to survive. And we’re not giving them much sympathy.

Oh sure, we sit around the barbecue slapping at mosquitoes while lamenting the recent reports about how flying insect populations have taken a precipitous dive. We wring our hands and vow that something must be done about the situation — after we spray the yard for all those pesky bugs.

But the insects are clever. They can’t overpower us with a giant horror-movie brown-black-tail-tick-fly-skeeter-zilla, but perhaps they can make us destroy ourselves. It’s obviously an insect conspiracy and chances are good they’re in cahoots with all the other arthropods slowly maneuvering us toward self-destruction. I know because my wife has me scratching again.

It’s amazing how many small stimuli you feel all over your body when you lie still in bed. These minor tingles and itches are normally ignored until you fall asleep or until your wife suggests that you are not tick-free because you’ve stepped into the woods for a few minutes in days past.

That little signal from your leg: it’s probably a random hair pulling against the bedcover. But it could be an eight-legged arachnid moving ever so slowly dispensing saliva with its inherent anesthetic so as not to disturb you as it settles in with a tenant-friendly, long-term lease — heat and food included.

I found a little “thing” on my arm and the more I scratched at it, the more it seemed to itch. I thought it must be a traditional mosquito or blackfly bite but it had substance. Was it one of a number of bombly growths my suntanned skin started growing after I turned 19? No, it could be a very small and fully embedded tick. The itching was getting worse. Picking away seemed to lend more evidence that it wasn’t a part of me.

It is best to take a very close look at these things but I have already used up my lifetime supply of naked-eye close-up vision so I used my cellphone to get a better look. I just discovered that my cellphone camera has “macro” capabilities, meaning it can make images of a subject — like a tick — that are larger than the subject itself. “Macro-capability” is what you used to spend three to four hundred dollars on when you bought a new lens for your 35mm film camera.

The images were compelling but not compelling enough for my wife to agree to getting a 20 x 30 poster made for the dining room wall. The photos confirmed the bump was but a small red mole otherwise known as a cherry angioma. Nothing to worry about. Still, looking very closely and using a major part of my imagination, it looked like a tick that might have burrowed under the skin and set up housekeeping. After more scratching we confirmed that there was no tick and that they had won this battle without having to fire a shot.

Apparently, this year we are facing the revenge of the browntail moth. People are scratching themselves to the point where they look like shredded beef. Older people’s skin is looking like it did when they were 14 and suffering from pimples and acne. Arguments are breaking out between couples about closing doors and windows when the wind blows, washing clothes and bedding to excess and even wearing turtleneck shirts in the summer. And all that is happening without coming in actual contact with the caterpillars.

Sufferers become the victims of unsolicited and undocumented remedies which keep coming at them faster than immigrants over the southern border. Calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol, cortisone cream, oatmeal plasters.… I was told the other day that the deodorant “Secret” stops the itching from the browntail moth caterpillars.

“Do you have any proof, documents, studies or at least anecdotal evidence that Secret works?” I asked my unsolicited advisor.

“None whatsoever.”

“What do they say makes it effective?”

“Nobody knows. It’s secret.”

“Where did you learn about this?”

“An insect told me to try it.”

One good thing: All these new problems have distracted my wife from the annual earwig menace, but it’s still pretty early in the summer.