Monday, October 15, 2012

Die Suckas!

We began noticing the first Boxelder bugs on a weekend at the home in the middle of September.  They were annoying but “eh,” I said to myself.  “I’m living out in the country now.  Maybe Boxelder bugs are a country thing.  I’m sure it won’t be long til they move on.”  Two weekends later they were so thick on the west side of the house we chose to walk all the way around the house and come in the back door rather than risk letting them into the house.  Not that choosing the back door made a lot of difference because they’d already invaded the nice warm west-facing living room wall and window.   I plucked off every bug I 

could reach with a tissue, marched into the bathroom, shook my squirming tissue over the toilet and then watched little legs and wings try to fly in a porcelain bowl.  What?  you say.  No photo of the death swim?  I actually stood with my camera pointed at the toilet bowl filled with struggling bug bodies but thought that would just be tacky ... you're welcome.  Anyway ... then I went back into the living room and plucked more. When there were a dozen or so squirming in the water I flushed.  “Ha!  Take that you disgusting little bugs!”  I repeated that process many, many, times.  It was frustrating and made my skin crawl
sometimes literally.  Finally I did the only thing I could think to do.  I Googled to find out how to get rid of them. That’s when I discovered there really isn’t anything to do but wait.  Well, wait and try and seal windows and doors.  Eventually they will hibernate for the winter and give me time to forget their nastiness until they once again make my home their home.  At least they won’t lay eggs in the house.  And it was nice to read they’re harmless, although leaving little poop stains doesn’t seem truly harmless to me.  Disturbingly, they could have come from anywhere, up to two miles away, and just decided to end their journey at our house.

The first week in October we had a hard freeze.  It got down to about 17 degrees.  That’ll kill ‘em”, I thought to myself.  The pestilence is over.  I guess that wasn’t too bad.  I can deal with that.”   This past weekend as we pulled into the driveway at the home I fully expected to see bug-free windows and walls.   I was positive the only indication we’d been infested with Boxelder bugs would be piles of dried legs and wings.   We parked, I grabbed a few things from the car, walked up to the door and would have cried except  I was afraid I might inhale a Boxelder bug in mid sob.  Obviously 17 degrees wasn’t enough to kill them.  If anything there were even MORE bugs than the two weeks before.  So, once again, in between cleaning gutters, painting a closet, babysitting and installing a new thermostat (which only took us four times longer than the package promised), I plucked, shook, flushed, plucked, shook, flushed, plucked, shook, flushed … over and over and over.

  I even took the shop vac outside and sucked them off the side of the house, the ground, the windows, the 

porch, my body and my hair.  When I tapped on the side of the house they fell out like chicklets from a broken candy machine.  The shop vac sounded like a machine gun only instead of rat-a-tat-tat it was pht-a-pht-pht.  Dean just shook his head, and gave me the “I think you’re being stupid but if it makes you happy I won’t stop you …” look**.  I guess maybe not having any hair for creepy crawly things to get caught in makes it easier for him to tolerate them. 

With every pluck and shake and pht I cursed the people who were stupid enough to have a Boxelder tree on their property.  What the hell could they be thinking?  Maybe it doesn’t bother THEM to live with swarms of bugs all over their walls and windows, flying into their hair and crawling under their shirts, but they should consider those of us who live up to two miles away from their stinkin’ tree.  Geezo peezo.  Some people just have no consideration for others.

Sharing my home with swarming beetles for two or more months every year is not my idea of country living and even if I can’t do anything to keep them from choosing to set up residence in my house, I decided I had to take action.  I had to figure some way to keep them from making me feel like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.   So yesterday, after we had stopped for a cold drink, gotten onto the interstate and headed home, I pulled out my phone and searched for more information.  I needed to arm myself with knowledge so I could win the pestilence war.   If 17 degrees wasn’t going to kill the suckers what would?  Maybe there IS something I could use to kill them.  But even if learned I can’t kill them, I needed to know how long it would be before they turned me into a raving maniac disappeared.   This time I searched a little harder and read a little closer. 

 Oh no!  Ohhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo!!!   I held my phone up to Dean, who was on the lookout for deer while he cruised at 78 mph, and said, “LOOK!  Look at THIS!  See it?  Now look at THIS!!  From my blog!! Look!!  It’s US!  WE have boxelder trees!  WE have the FEMALE tree!  The EVIL one!  WE are the people I have been damning with every pluck shake, flush and pft.  WE caused our own infestation! 
I guess the good news is we are also the cure.   Dean will get to buy a brand new chainsaw, although I thought he’d be much more excited than he seemed to be when I told him that.  Even better, this time next year I won’t be hounding him asking him politely to cut down those trees immediately when he gets the time and I will be overjoyed and content should be pretty happy.  And really … a happy wife ... isn’t that every man’s dream? 

**Turns out vacuuming the stupid things IS one of the ways to reduce their numbers.  Ha!



Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Oh my. This reminds me of our days when we had a farm and used it on weekend and holidays. Every fall the cluster flies moved in and as soon as we turned the heat on they came to lfe buzzing aimlessly into lamps,etc. We ended up getting the house sprayed each year while we were away. There's no other way.
Hope cutting your tree is the answer and remember other trees up to two miles away can still send them your way.

Abby said...

Cool bugs! Hahaha. I'm sure it's not that much fun but at least you don't have cockroaches. The other day there were a couple of huge ones and maybe 5-10 babies by where the washing machine pipe goes down and I had to have Jorge come and kill them for me.

I love how you call it the "home", like it's an assisted living place.