Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's the Door, What's Your Hurry?

I saw an article in a magazine the other day titled, “Bringing Nature Indoors.” I don’t have to bring it in; it walks in on its own. Or flies in. Or crawls in. And it doesn’t wait to be invited. Every corner harbors a spider, and, if the spider is lucky, an insect of some sort, destined to be dinner. There are ants climbing the walls and scurrying across the floor. Ladybugs inch their way across the table or fly dizzily about, landing in my hair or on my plate. There are gnats and bugs of all sorts either just passing through or setting up housekeeping. I don’t bother putting the vacuum cleaner away anymore. I want to be able to grab it quick and suck up whatever bug happens to be frightening me at the moment.

I’m not exactly frightened – more like grossed out. I don’t mind ants outside in the grass, but it gives me the willies to have several of them making a beeline in my direction along the bathroom floor while I stand barefoot making my morning ablutions. I have sprayed all the baseboards along the kitchen and bathroom walls with non-toxic ant repellent, and have set out ant traps. My hope is that word will spread amongst the ant kingdom that the lady of the house is not to be trifled with.

Spiders of every shape and size are making webs as fast as I can sweep them down. There are spindly-legged, pale brown ones; furry-legged, bulgy ones; teeny, tiny black ones; scuttling, chubby, round ones; creepy-crawly, fuzzy ones. They drop from the ceiling, inch across the floor, huddle behind the radiators, string filaments across the windowpanes, scale the sides of the sink, and lie in wait over the door. I no sooner dispatch one than ten line up behind me, waving their legs and plotting revenge.

Even though the open windows all have screens, every evening there is an onslaught of those pesky little midges that fit handily though the wire mesh. They cluster in hordes above the lamps and fuss about my face as I work at the computer. Moths bump and butt against the screens and when I come in at night, they flutter in ahead of me to commit suicide on the light bulbs. Mosquitoes line up at the door, fighting for the chance to whine in my ears the moment I drift off to sleep.

Parker, the cat, keeps the mice at bay, and there have been no bears in my backyard to date. There are bunnies aplenty but they keep a safe distance from the door, and though I made eye-to-eye contact with a possum waddling up the bank behind the cottage the other afternoon, it made no request to move in. The larger wildlings know their place. It’s the little guys – the bugs – that are bugging me.

Ah, life in the country. Nature indoors? Thanks, but I prefer mine outside.


steven said...

hello pauline - my family could connect with this post. we live on the western edges of our city - about a hundred metres from the farmer's fields. we harbour all manner of creeping, crawling little chums. my deal with nature is that it is welcome to any part of the property other than the house. if it chooses to enter the house and causes a disturbance or makes a mess then it's time is shortened!! i don't use any chemicals to hasten that process - live transfer wherever possible is the preferred method (as advised by my daughter). have a peaceful day! steven

DawnTreader said...

And I'm reminded once again of the advantages of living in a town apartment a couple of floors up...!

PhilipH said...

Pauline, we sympathise entirely with you. Creepy crawlies are the bane of my wife's life.

She yells for me every time a spider, small, medium or large, catches her eye.

"Get rid of it! Get rid of it.." she pleads. A genuine phobia and no mistake!

However, a couple of weeks ago I spotted some tiny bug on the bathroom wall. Then another on the floor, moving slowly along. Black, about 2 to 3 millimetres long with six tiny legs.

A neighbour thought they might be pollen beetles. I wouldn't know. I have little interest in such bugs.

These things seemed to increase in numbers. I kept disposing of them as I found them but it was a losing battle.

Called in a pest control chap. He inspected them. "Weevils ... that's what these are ... weevils".

He went on: "You got any potted plants? They usually live on them; feed on the roots or other parts." "Yep. Got some Basil in a pot in the kitchen; got some mini roses in pots; one or two other potted plants ..."

"I'd chuck 'em all out if I were you." So I did!

He sprayed some sort of insecticide around the areas where we'd seen most of the activity. A few stragglers have been appearing but I'm sure we've got rid of the little blighters.

No more potted plants indoors. No way!

Lee said...

I'm with you!

Molly said...

I'd hate to have to have no plants in the house, but "desperate times call for desperate measures!" I don't get too freaked out by spiders and creepy crawlies, of which we have plenty. I'm bigger than them and swift with the squashing tissue! Besides, don't you think spiders are the most fascinating creatures? All that intricate spinning and weaving? What does freak me out is when I find the occasional scorpion. Screaming ensues and the menfolk have to deal with it......

Barbara said...

I would have a difficult time with this because I have a hard time killing anything! I will swat at mosquitoes, but that's about the limit of my bug-killing.

I think you basically have to make a choice between fresh air with some bugs thrown in and a tightly sealed house. I can't imagine you ever choosing the latter.

focusfinder said...

Started the mower yesterday, when a frightened frog leapt from a clump of tall wet grass. I waited for it to find a gap under the fence before engaging drive.

Land of shimp said...

Oh my, that's a lot of insect life with which to contend. I'm with you, I'm not frightened by bugs, I just tend to shudder in disgust around some of them.

We're big on spiders in Colorado, but don't have too many other forms of insects. I'm not entirely sure what the spiders are eating, but there's a scarcity of the typical bugs out here.

I met my first earwig in Denver, and although they are entirely harmless to people, they look dangerous as can be and vaguely prehistoric.

We've had so much rain this year that even Colorado has a bit of an insect population. Every year flying ants, horrid critters that they are, come in swarms. I'm pleased to report that an entire squadron of the blasted things took a nose dive right into our pool. The next day I fished out about 200 carcasses and practically did a victory dance. It was the most expedient way of killing them I've ever found.

I know that insects are an important part of the ecosystem. All I ask is that the ecosystem stay politely out of doors!