Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Just Bugs Me

I have finally found something truly awesome about winter.  Sure, snow is pretty.  When it melts, it provides moisture to the ground.  Even ice is pretty when you see the sun shining through trees sparkling with ice coatings.  Those are tiny things compared to one fact:  there are no bugs out in winter.

Observe the common housefly (photo from Wikipedia).  One or two, you can deal with.  My dad has a theory:  leave the window in a car open less than an inch, and every single fly within 50 miles will flock to that car.  I totally agree.  So I have to multiply that when my kids stand there with the screen door completely open in summer and let every fly in a 1,000 mile radius into my home.  Fly strips are my friends.  If I knew who invented flyswatters, I'd probably kiss them.  To top it off, these little buggers (pun intended) are pretty smart.  If you're trying to sleep (in a room that has NO food in it), they WILL come land on your nose.  Or your mouth.  Ecch.

Even worse than the flies are the crickets.  I used to love crickets.  Sitting on the porch, listening to them chirp, meant that warm weather was finally here.  It felt so peaceful and comforting.  NOT ANY MORE.  I hate the things.

Photo from www.pest-advice.com (and I'd stomp on this one if it wasn't on the monitor!!!)

The sound of crickets chirping OUTSIDE is lovely on a balmy night.  However, having 20 or so of them INSIDE with you is another story.  Mind you, I'm used to camping out.  I've fallen asleep surrounded by crickets outside of a tent.  Hearing one that's less than 2 feet from your bed at 2 AM is another story.  Knowing that they're probably eating holes in all of my clothes is another deal-breaker.  Reluctant to resort to pesticides, I tried placing hedgeapples all over the house.  Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't.  I do know that we found lots of cricket corpses (YAY!!) in the basement where I hadn't put any hedgeapples.  Finally, they all succumbed to either the apples, the spiders, or my foot.  The house is quiet once again.  I still hate them.

I know that bugs are beneficial.  Sometimes.  I'll leave them alone if they're outside (and not chewing on my plants or my critters).  I've even managed to master my arachnophobia, and that's another story for another day.  The Cricket Invasion of 2011 has made me more aware of tiny home invaders. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  The Cricket Invasion came AFTER the massive influx of Box Elder Bugs (what I grew up calling Democrat bugs). 

(Photo from boxelderbug.com)

As soon as it warmed up last spring, these things were EVERYWHERE.  They caked the front of the house to the extent that we had to use the entrances from the mud room or screen porch to get in without them coming in too.  Still, some managed to come in.  They were nesting under the siding by the front door.  I will admit that, on that occasion, I used a liberal dose of Raid.  It seems to have solved the problem.  Thank goodness.

Lastly, there is my ultimate nemesis:  FRUIT FLIES.  Sometimes my darling husband forgets to empty the drain sieve.  The result?  Clouds of tiny little flies that swarm all over the place.  For heaven's sake, can't I even have bananas or apples without getting mobbed?  I've tried just about everything except walking around with a can of bug spray (want to stay away from that) but geez.  I must admit again that I take almost a sadistic glee in covering the jar of cider vinegar, sloshing it around, and watching them twitch.

So finally, at this point in my life, I'm enjoying winter.  And when those little buggers come back . . .I'll be ready for them.  Yeccch.

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