Wednesday, 11 May 2011

One Strong Woman’s War with BUGS!

I've always considered myself to be a strong woman, one who's not afraid of insects. Heck, I grew up in Minnesota where the state bird is a mosquito. We thought nothing of playing outdoors all day and coming home with little spots of blood from squished mosquitoes decorating our arms and legs. A quick bath washed the bodies down the drain.

Of course I'll never forget my first night in my first apartment when I'd moved to Miami. I went into the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer and found two cockroaches....I mean PALMETTO BUGS, frolicking on the forks! I'm not sure which upset me the most: that there were huge black bugs in my drawer or that they were having sex. No matter, I do believe they heard me scream as far away as New Jersey. It didn't take me long to get used to annihilating them. One good smack with a shoes, grab a paper towel to enclose the corpse, and into the trash they went.

Things improved a bit when I moved to California. No cockroaches....I mean PALMETTO BUGS there. Nope, they have spiders - lots and lots of spiders. Now I'm not the kind of woman who screams at the sight of a spider. No indeed. I simply grabbed a tissue, squished the little bugger into a ball of legs and goo, and flushed them. Mission accomplished. Even the dreaded black widow spiders were easily dispatched under the heel of my sandals.

When I moved to Oregon, I figured I come handle anything that crawled, flew or scurried onto my world. I found myself surrounded by mole hills, flies, slugs and....ants. The outside critters were easy enough to ignore, then my home was invaded for the first time. I found ants in the pantry. I'm not talking about a couple wandering around looking for sustenance. NOOO, this was a huge undulating mass of movement, scurrying up the walls, across the shelves and onto the ceiling searching for sustenance. This time they heard me screaming in San Francisco. Yeah, folks - that was me, not the minor earthquake that was reported.

In a fury of activity, I took everything out of the pantry, washed the shelves and kept them empty - for days! I'd show those nasty pests who was in charge. I carefully enclosed all the food in zip locked bags. HA, just try and get in there! For a few weeks I walked around with my head held high. Another victory for a strong woman....until I went to take a bath one night.

INVASION! Ants had taken over my bathtub and the surrounding area! I sprayed, I stomped, I swatted, I squished. No matter how many I killed, more kept pouring in from ... somewhere. I finally got rid of enough ants so that I could take a bath, but damn it, they just kept coming back! One of my new Oregon friends swore that vinegar would keep them away. I swabbed the tile with white vinegar. The ants just laughed at me and kept coming. Another friend told me with confidence that ants hate cinnamon. I sprinkled piles of the stuff all over the place. I found the ants had written naughty words in the brown swirls. No, no, said yet another friend, bay leaves. Put down some bay leaves - ants hate them. Really? I found the ants had lifted the bay leave around the piles of cinnamon - like a miniature beach surround by palm trees. I'm sure they believe my bathtub is one giant ant ocean.

I'm about at my wits end. Now at night I hear them straining and groaning - trying to lift my house off its foundation so they can carry it to the master nest. Never fear, I am a strong woman, I'll find a way to win. In the meantime, I've decided to let them have the tub and I'll take showers.

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Carlene's problems are nothing compared to those of Carol Reston, the heroine of her humorous mystery FINDER! Carol has to contend with a dead body, missing women, her world-traveling, martini-drinking, Jaguar driving aunt and a husband who is growing increasing mysterious by the day. To purchase a copy of FINDER! go to:


Faith said...

We live in a region that's infested with spiders. Wolf spiders, grandaddy longlegs, dust spiders, garden spiders (the kind that make the beautiful webs with what looks like a zipper in their centers), and some sort of tiny, black fuzzy spider. No matter what you do, you can't get rid of the spiders.

jean hart stewart said...

Hey, Carlene, did you try spraying with windex? Anyshelf you want to protect and their entry point? That finally worked for me here in sunny California where I had several springs of ant invasions. Keep fighting 'em, girl.

Cassie Exline said...

Oh ants!! Nasty beasts. We used to have such trouble with ants of all sizes. Once I opened up a box of cereal and two big black ants ran up my arm. I screamed bloody murder and spilled the entire box. And cereal cost a fortune! Then it was piss ants. Tiny nasty critters. Drop one morsel on the floor and gazillions appear like the dinner bell was rang. Spray, spray, spray. Swear, swear, swear. Then lady bugs, now stink bugs.

Have your book and can't wait to read it.

Hope the ants don't carry you away.

Laurann Dohner said...

I battle ants every year since we bought our place. We live in Southern Cal on a big hill and yeah. Ants. I learned. Try Hot Shots - think that's the brand. It's the ant traps that kill the ant and the colony. They work! Now every June I start putting them around outside, under my home, and under the sinks (they love to come in where your water does). It stopped my ant issues! Totally worth the money every other month during the warmer months to avoid seeing the damn things. I used to get some satisfaction when they'd invade the tub and I'd turn on the shower, grab the detachable showerhead, and wash them down. TAKE THAT, you pests! LOL. Good luck.

Janice said...

I've had my issues with ants, the red stinging kind here in Sunny California.

I use windex and sprinkle comet around. Since we have an old house with a raised floor we use bug bombs under the house to try to kill the net.


Carlene Rae Dater said...

Well, thanks guys - I'll try Windex next. RE: Spiders, Faith, a Black Widow Spider bit my 2 month old puppy and she almost died of an allergic shock.

So. Cal. seems to breed all kinds of yucky bugs - here it's SLUGS! Hate them.

Do let me know how you like the book,
Thanks all of you for the comments.


PaulMcDermott said...

Faith, :) Thanks for the working link! :)

On British TV this week there was a programme about a team of scientists studying a BUG which produces a HIGH - PRESSURE SPRAY from its *** (can I use the 3letter "opposite to top" on this site?? LOL)

Apparently they want to imitate this to make it possible to put fires out from a greater distance, and it could also have medical uses [eg. sending ALL the spray of an asthma pump to the LUNGS instead of leaving a lot of the dose on the back of your THROAT]

Can't find a news link, but I think it was on Discovery channel which I thin you can catch in the States, too?

Faith said...

Bugs are survivors. It's common sense to study and learn from them. Interesting ideas, too!

Yeah, blogger was down for a while. Many sites have had the last post dismantled for whatever reason, but they should all be up again any time now.

A.M. Kuska said...

I looked around online for you. Maybe this will help?

Emmy Ellis said...

Any bugs bug me. I hate them. I have never seen a cockroach in my life and don't intend to. I think I would pass out. Hmm, now I know why I've stayed in England... The only infestation I've had is flying ants on my wall outside, so I understand that moving mass very well. They were gross.


Anonymous said...

I've always thought myself to be a supposedly strong Chicago woman, who is currently scanning the floor continuously for "waterbugs"-a fancy name my maintenance guy gives prehistoric sized roaches. *Shiver* I hate that the apartment owners don't take care of their buildings, know there are bug problems and don't tell new tenants. Then the new tenants have to pay the emotional, physical, financial cost of these f&^%$#@ bugs. I just moved in so I still have tons of boxes around-only to find out roaches love cardboard apparently. I went and bought $400 worth of bins and containers for everything. I've purchased bug barrier spray, boric acid, liquid bleach to pour down the drains, foaming bleach, and comet powder to sprinkle over drains when I'm not here--hoping it'll deter them. I've caulked, closed drains, sealed entrances and I cannot tell at all where they're coming from. Going to go insane here-I've never had roaches before. I guess after so many years in the city my luck was bound to run out. So much for moving here to save money. I hate Chicago apartment owners.