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Itching for relief

This field in Henley was evidence of the pestilence endured by residents.

This field in Henley was evidence of the pestilence endured by residents.

St. John residents are still itching — at least those from at least four districts that are affected by cow-itch.

This is despite the burning of fields in two areas to help stem the problem residents say they have not ever felt this intensely.

When Barbados TODAY visited Cherry Grove, Henley, Pool and Bowmanstan today, pods of now brown cow-itch were ripe in fields formerly used as canes.

One resident in Cherry Grove said the land opposite their homes, which was identified as the main offence, had been burnt about a week ago. Huge patches of the land were brown and blackened with ash, though vines of bonavist [hyacinth] beans grew starkly green with their purple flowers against the earth.

The beans, said Henley resident Judy Bellamy were once a source of income for some of the people in the areas, now they cannot get into the fields because of the cow-itch.

“The grounds causing problems because the canes have not been harvested for a while. This is the second time cow-itch come so rapid, but this is the worst by far. They burn this ground [in Cherry Grove] and two out in Pool below the rehab place, but we still itching,” she said.

Bellamy said the problem was that all the areas of wild, abandoned canes were now filled with the nuisance bush and it has led to plantations and Government, owners of the land, doing everything from burning to plowing the fields.

“The problem with plowing the fields is that you only turning over the seeds, so when it come back it gine be in abundance. De boys can’t even lime on de block. Rain is de only think keeping it down.”

A man, picking the beans and identifying himself only as Caster, said he was used to debushing areas and the only thing that would get rid of the cow-itch once and for all was to dig it up by the roots.

“Burning it will only leave the seeds. Plowing it will spread the seeds. I would cut it down and spray it but you got to dig it up by the roots because the roots go deep like devil grass. It won’t go away unless you get the roots. You burn it, it comes back stronger,” he stated.

A resident of Pool, who also declined to give a name, said cow-itch in the area was rampant.

“Like water!” he complained.

Hanging out laundry at any time was a problem he said and it was the worst they had ever seen it. (LB)

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