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June 16, 2009

What goes hand in hand with a wetter than average, steamy summer in Georgia? Bugs. Bugs. And more bugs. The bug stories have been accumulating, so I thought maybe it was time to share.

Bug Story #1 – The Cruelty of Nature

So, my two oldest boys are sitting on the front porch waiting for their ride to Vacation Bible School. The little one is in the high chair and I’m cleaning up breakfast when I get that little notion that maybe I should go check on the kids. If you’re a mom, particularly a mom of boys, you know  the notion I’m talking about… the one that, if ignored, will be followed shortly by a trip to the emergency room. So anyway, I peek out of the side window and see them armed with sticks and rocks and looking determined. I opened the door to discover them attempting to free a giant wasp from the clutches of a black widow spider. Personally, I vote, like my husband and several Facebook friends, KILL THEM BOTH! But, the compassionate souls that they are just couldn’t stand to see any life come to an end. I encouraged them to put the sticks down and explained (again) that this is nature, the way God designed it. God provided that wasp for the spider to eat…. and hopefully would soon provide something to eat the spider. So we sat and watched for a while, and it was actually pretty fascinating. The little black widow skillfully tackled the wasp that was easily 3 times her size and expeditiously wrapped up only the stinging end of the wasp and then retreated to a corner to watch the wasp wriggle itself to death. When I returned to check on the situation hours later, both wasp and spider were gone. In my opinion, the only thing worse than a black widow spider is a missing black widow spider.

Bug Story #2 – Housemates

Ever since the weather started to warm, we’ve been encountering carpenter ants in and around our house. One here, two or three there. We assumed that they were attracted to the expansive deck we had added to the back of the house the previous summer and I thought they were coming into the kitchen through the back door. Then a few weeks ago, on Mother’s day actually, I discovered a few ants coming and going through the air conditioning vent in my kitchen floor. Aha! The source!  So we sprayed inside the vent with that spray that is supposed to be safe for children and pets but lethal to ants. I don’t see how a chemical can possibly be both… but the spraying ensued nonetheless. The spraying resulted in a trail of ants parading into the kitchen at an alarming rate, looking wet and sticky, but otherwise none the worse for wear. So, there I sat by the vent armed with a paper towel, squashing the bugs as they emerged from the hole in the floor. I thought maybe that would be the end of the ants. Nope. The two or three  around the house each day continued until this last weekend when my brother was in the garage beneath the kitchen helping my husband  replace a pipe that had burst over the winter. When he pulled the insulation back from the rafters, he uncovered a nest of hundreds of carpenter ants and thousands of eggs. They sprayed them with something not safe for pets or children and I hear the ants were falling from the ceiling like raindrops. Thankfully I had decided to make a trip to the store and missed the whole event. They had it all cleaned up by the time I got home, with the exception of the queen they had saved for my viewing pleasure. It is a good thing I wasn’t there to see them… I wouldn’t have slept for months.

Bug Story #3 – A Late Night Visitor

So, it is late at night and my husband is in New Jersey for a couple days. I have done the usual locking and relocking of all the doors and am heading to bed trying to keep my mind off the quiet, creepy loneliness of my house after dark. I head to the bathroom to get ready for bed, brush my teeth, wash my face, and take out my contacts. I walk to the toilet, the last stop before I climb into bed, lift the lid and see something brown on the seat. Without my contacts I can’t possibly decipher what it might be. It is a brown smear. I conclude that either the boys have been using my bathroom again, or it is a bug. I thought better of the idea to bend down for a closer look. I wouldn’t want to get my face closer to either scenario. So I locate my glasses and head back to the toilet to see a cockroach sitting comfortably in my spot. Now this was the palmetto bug variety of roach. In Louisiana where I first encountered them, they were all lumped into one disgusting heap with all the other cockroaches. But here, I am told, there is a distinct difference between a Palmetto bug and a cockroach. Whatever. They are gross and I don’t want them on my toilet seat. Why is my husband always conveniently out of town when these things come up? So I head to the kitchen and scramble for something to spray it with… Endust…. Lysol… Scrubbing Bubbles… Windex…… AHA! BLEACH!! So I grab the bleach spray and run to the toilet only to find the critter has vanished. Apparently among the other amazing traits of the cockroach, like surviving nuclear holocaust, is the ability to read minds. I very cautiously lifted the seat to find him hiding on the underside. Spray, spray, spray! Blast! The nozzle is switched to off. ON! Okay, spray, spray, spray!!! Hey, at least my toilet is getting cleaned in this process. Spray! He runs down the toilet and across the bathroom floor, clearly not phased by the mist of bleach. He paused in the middle of the floor, as if to ponder his next move. So I do what any insane, lonely housewife would do. I set the bottle of bleach on top of him, so that I might ponder my next move. I could hear him rattling around under the bottle, so I knew that he wasn’t squished, only trapped momentarily. I searched around the room, knowing that I couldn’t sleep knowing he was there and I couldn’t possibly squash him with a tissue. No way. Not possible. Then I saw the fly swatter that I had neglectfully left on the bathroom floor for a week. Thank you LORD for procrastination. I picked up the bottle and he hopped up, just like the little roach in Wall-E. I swatted and swatted until I was certain he was dead, reasurring myself that he’s only visiting us from the woods, and that we won’t find a colony of them living in our insulation next year.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Debby Morton permalink
    June 21, 2009 4:20 pm

    This I am sure is why I continue with the quarterly pest control LOL.

  2. August 20, 2009 9:02 pm

    I love this! Having lived in Pensacola, FL for years, I have my share of cockroach/Palmetto bug stories. My favorite is the one that fell off the ceiling fan into the bowl of salsa my husband was eating from.

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