Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bug Alert

Summer brings warm nights and even warmer days, azure skies with cotton ball clouds, green growing things crowding the earth with flowers and fruit. And bugs. They are everywhere. Swarms of tiny, white-winged gnatty things besiege me the minute I step outside. They dance at head height and make a beeline for my eyes and mouth. I bat my way through them only to find a swarm of their black cousins around the corner.

Bees are out and about, buzzing emphatically. Yesterday one hovered just above my doorstep. My arms were full of groceries so I used a sneakered foot to wave it away but it rose only a half an inch, wings flapping furiously. I nudged it again but it refused to move. I set the bags down on the step beside it, opened the door and the bee swept in ahead of me, made a quick circuit of the kitchen and flew back out only to take up guard again in front of the door. It hummed angrily as I scooped up my groceries and hurried inside. It was still there an hour later when I went back out.

Spiders, which definitely belong somewhere else, have taken up residence in my little cottage. They are everywhere—in the kitchen among the canned goods, in the bathroom behind the sink, in the living room staring out at me from under the chairs, in the bedroom weaving webs across the top of the lampshade. I cannot bear to squish them and I cannot make myself get close enough to pick them up and toss them outside so they face death by suction. I have a creepy feeling that when I die, every spider I ever sucked up with the vacuum will appear, waving vindictive spidery arms and staring at me with buggy, spidery eyes.

As if the spiders and the gnats and the ticks and the bees and a myriad of other flying insects were not enough, each summer day that passes advances the impending July invasion of the deer fly. Insect repellent holds no sway against those vicious little winged teeth and anyone in doubt of the season will only have to look at my neck, where angry red lesions will appear like a penance necklace, to know that summer is really here.

I can’t help but exult in the green of growing things, take delight in the multitude of bright flowers and the golden warmth of the sunshine. I welcome the soft air and the clear blue skies, skip happily barefoot, and fling open the doors and windows the moment the sun appears over the horizon. Yet I will also go armed into the fray, covered in insect repellent, fly swatter and vacuum at the ready, on perpetual seasonal bug alert.

Several red reasons the bees are in season...


Gary said...

How appropriate to read this now as I scratch the many bug bits that sprinkle my legs. It seems the mosquitos had a rather good feast on my calves and now I am paying for it. I think for the time being at least I am going to keep my pants on (as opposed to shorts).

herhimnbryn said...

I know that type of summer. Mozzies, flies and March flies( like your deer flies). Do any of the critters attack your veg. garden?

Pauline said...

Gary - the mosquitoes here are voracious - no one dares go out in the evening when they are at their fiercest unless well doused in repellent of some sort.

HHB - there are bugs that bite us and bugs that eat the garden but they are not the same. Japanese beetles are doing a number on the bean leaves but a spray of dish soap, garlic powder and cayenne pepper should help clear them out.

meggie said...

We think there may be a possum in our ceiling cavity, as we have heard it scuttling about. I have just discovered both dogs have fleas, which is very unusual in winter here. I am blaming the visitor, as the dogs have been flea free.
Now Gom tells me he put bait up there! OMG, next thing there will be a terrible smell.

Ruth D~ said...

You are such an observer. That's a special talent . . . and that you share what you see, and feel with others . . . more special still.

Pauline said...

lol meggie - you can GOM keep me in stitches

wonderful words from someone whose writing I so admire. Thanks Ruth