The past two-three weeks I’ve had a daily visitation from at least one black wasp. It’s not the same one. I got online and looked up “big scary black wasps” on Google and matched pictures to the latest carcass (it’s literally two and a half inches long from antenna-tip to bum-stinger, which is honkin’ big for a wasp, especially a wasp that is persistent about flying straight at your head). I have a problem. My wasp could be a nice, friendly, spider- and kaydid-eating wasp that’s non-aggressive and helpful, or it could be the Evil Death Wasp With Extremely Painful Stings. They look identical to me. The helpful wasp has brown wings, the evil Death Wasp has curly red antennae. I have a curly-antennae’d black-winged Mutant Wasp.
I’m not into randomly slaughtering inconvenient insects and animals if I can get around it. I’ve put my fair share of icky things back outside where they should be. I’m just not going to attempt to catch-and-release a Death Wasp, though.
I’ve about had it with the buglife invading my hovel. It’s non-stop. What makes it worse is when Unidentified Insect Life appears. What do you do with an Unidentified Insect? It could be endangered. It could be a Good Insect. If it’s endangered, that’s too bad. We’re trying to sell this house, and I’m not having the government tell me that we can’t do any painting, washing, cleaning or repairs because we might damage the frail psyche of some creepy bug that has chosen to make the foundation of our house the site for its Last Stand Before Total Extinction. I mean, really. I’m just not having it. Damn bugs.
We live down South and there are oak trees and woods nearby. Being down South is enough to qualify you automatically for an entryin the Cockroach Sweepstakes. Everyone’s a Grand Prize winner. No rose, balloons, Ed McMahon or oversized check with lots of zeros on it, alas, just the joy of 600 pairs of feet stampedeing under the fridge when you turn the light on in the kitchen. Cleanliness doesn’t have a big effect. My mother is admittedly more anal-retentive and neat than I am. She happens to have a LOT more roaches. It’s a given that I will be attached by at least one every time I visit. I’m slightly phobic of roaches. I’d almost rather get cancer from spraying roach spray around every week than see the occasional cockroach. They make me squeal and jump on top of things and do the scaredy-cat mambo. Past methods for dispatching roaches when a roommate or significant other are not at hand:
* large book tossed atop roach from across the room
* pummelling roach to death with heel and toe of high heeled shoe
* siccing pets on them (nearly always with unsatisfactory results)
* drowning them Aqua-Net. Killing roaches is all it is good for, I’d never put that crap on my head. My grandmother left me a year’s supply when she passed on. One day I will manage to kill a roach with this method on a non-flammable surface.
* flick and flush. This takes a certain amount of skill. You flick at the bug, conveniently located on a countertop, using a papertowel,magazine, wet washcloth…anything but your actual hand. Screaming is optional. You flick it into the toilet, sink or bathtub. You then flush away or wash the bastard down the drain. Then put the stopper in.
* Lysol drowning. I was out of roach spray.
* Febreeze drowning. I was out of Lysol.
* Spray starch drowning. I was out of Febreeze.
* I once flick-and-diced a roach, accidentally flicking it off ME (aieeeeergh!!!) into a box fan set on the floor. It lived.
There are others, but I’m shuddering with repulsion. Enough.
So we have roaches. Then the fleas. Oy vey, the fleas. My animal is an indoor animal who occasionally walks on his leash to visit the neighbors across the street. That’s all it takes. He is a flea magnet. The exterminator thinks that other varmints reside under the house in the utility crawl space and we’re getting their fleas coming up through the foundations and vents. I don’t have a clue. All I know is that every summer it’s time for Flea Wars. Dip, bathe, spray, pluck and squish, flick, mash, dab, drop, dose, brush, and on and on.
Once the fleas are whipped into temporary submission, we get the Strange Shrimp-Like Things.
Sez The Bug Guy I found online: “This is a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, Talitroides sylvaticus, a terrestrial crustacean. They become most evident just after rain when they are found dead inside homes. They are not a problem, just a nuisance.”
Yep. They add to the fun after each and every heavy rain. Not only does my apartment area flood, ruining anything that isn’t suspended at least three inches off the floor, I have to sweep up nasty dead Hopper carcasses. It sucks. They are related to pillbugs. But do I get the roly-polies? No, I do not. I get nasty dead shrimpy things. Not teeny, cute little bugs that roll into a ball.
We have brown recluse spiders in our tool shed. I usually refuse to enter it. The Bug Guy sez that the brown recluse spider is not aggressive, and it normally bites only when crushed, handled or disturbed. Some people have been bitten in bed after inadvertently rolling over onto the spider. This has happened to me. This was a clear case of the spider stalking me and invading my personal space. I hope I squashed it in my sleep, as I still have a lovely pair of scars: one on my upper thigh and one on my bum. No spider has any business being anywhere near my personal areas like that. My booty area has a strict “no insects” policy. (Among other policies.) Other folks have been bitten after accidentally touching the spider when cleaning storage areas. Some bites occur when people put on seldom used clothing or shoes inhabited by a brown recluse. Well hell! You can’t wear all your shoes and boots at the same time. Ample opportunity for one of the little bastards to set up house in there. Have you seen what a brown recluse spider bite can do to you? It’s vile.
My patience is just at an end with the bugs. The poor wasp that invaded most recently has paid the price. I’m not going to maintain a “live and let live” attitude if the little bastards are going to start possibly stinging me. It’s bad enough that they are non-rent-paying freeloaders who try to steal my food and hide in my seasonal clothes and sneak into my bedsheets. The biting and stinging is just NOT on.
When the exterminator comes by next month, I’m going to get him to mount that Giant Death Wasp’s head on a wooden plaque so I can hang it over my fireplace as a warning to any other bugs with the temerity to try and sting me in my own home. Bastards! Bastards, I say.