Monday, January 4, 2010

My husband’s old roommate, Bob, and what the relationship brings to our new home – BUGS!

(Christmas updates are overdue! Will hopefully post those later this week, but in the interim...)

Bugs have long been a subject of debate between my husband and me – well, how to deal with them has been the real debate. I am a firm believer in capital punishment for those bugs that dare to enter my realm. Justice is swift and dealt with an iron fist – or iron shoe. Or iron magazine. Or iron laundry basket for the big ones in the basement. I am the bug Milosevic. My husband believes in more mercy. More specifically, he believes it’s bad “juju” to systematically kill so many bugs and we should, at worst, trap them and set them free outside. I think he might even think that we can let a bunch coexist with us symbiotically inside. Particularly spiders. He thinks we should leave the spiders – where I think they might be my first to go.

So there has been more than one “incident” regarding our varied approaches. It started years ago when we were dating and he was moving between rental places one July. The AC has broken in the house he was renting and it was about a bazillion degrees while we worked, so he had all the doors and windows open. We were working till pretty late and needed to get started very early, so I decided to crash at his place. In between packing all day, I’d been killing bugs and swatting the larger ones to push them outside – a process that was infuriating him. But just before we were going to sleep, I saw a spider the size of a small car in the corner of the room. Seriously – it was huge. It should have counted as a third roommate and been paying part of the rent. It was big enough to be a house pet rather than a nuisance, so I named him Bob. My husband refused to remove Bob at that point in his exhaustion / unending things to do list and told me to just go to sleep. I did. But I knew Bob was watching me the whole time. I felt lucky to make it out of that place with my life (Bob was clearly a tarantula – think Arachnophobia).

There have been a few other incidents over the years, but I’ll go ahead and fast forward to present day. It started out as just a few little pests I’d noticed in the new place.
Me – ugh, what is that?
Hubby – Oh, jeez, it is a bug! Move on!

(Note – didn’t I get married so as to have a boy to take care of these things for me? Wasn’t chief bug killer somewhere in his vows?!)

Then there were the hopping spiders. OK, so technically, these are probably crickets – or something in the cricket family. But they have lots of legs and they seem to hop about a foot off the ground – requiring me to squish them with the laundry basket because I can’t drop my foot fast enough to get them. I got a couple in the basement (they took up most of the space in the really decent sized basement! I am like a hero defending my house.) and managed OK, but the one in the kitchen really started to tick me off. I haven’t seen any in a few days now, though. I think leaving their corpses in the basement as a warning to others was a good idea. I finally had to clean them up though as I kept thinking they were moving…

The latest installation has been the ants. Initially my husband didn’t see the big deal and wanted to live in harmony with these. Then I pointed out the growing parade of them near the molding by the front door and he considered that maybe we could consider an exterminator. I squirted them with antibacterial spray and cleaned them off. The next day there were more. I don’t mean more as in – there were the original and now here’s some more. I mean it as in – yesterday there were 20, now there are like 40! Did that damn antibacterial spray have something that attracted them? And, by the way, holy heck, it is DECEMBER! Why do I have ants in December? Every time I bring them up to my husband, he says – but it’s December. There aren’t supposed to be ants in December. I suggested he tell them that. My real worry is – how bad will the problem become when there ARE supposed to be ants?

So the other day I started my ant killing spree again. My husband came home from work and I complained of the grossness of it all. He told me about a guy they’d run at work who’d gotten hurt on a building site and might not be able to afford Christmas. Then he said, sarcastically – but at least he doesn’t have ants. He’s done this before, but this time I was prepared. I pointed out that he should back off as I’d just pulled an ant out of the baby’s hair! (OK, it’s possible it might have been black fuzz. This isn’t really the point as it totally could have been an ant as she’d just been rolling on the ground. And I totally DID see an ant on her sleeve later, so that makes up for it.) He conceded and agreed that something needed to be done.

So I launched into my “what we should do about this” campaign. I told him I was buying outdoor ant killer to spray well, outdoors (duh!) and white vinegar to wash down the front door molding – and now the kitchen floor (stage 2 of the ant problem. Let’s not talk about their presence in the bathrooms. I can’t keep up.). Then I suggested that we should probably give the dog a bath too. Hubby looked at me and said – I’ll get it on my list, but my list is VERY long. I told him, I wasn’t asking for it to be on his list, as this was my offensive. He told me that wasn’t what he heard. Ugh.

Funny aside – the dog seems to like the vinegar. I wiped it on the coffee table (as ants were crawling there while we were trying to eat – holy disgusting!) and he later licked the coffee table. Great – any second he’ll start licking the kitchen floor.

My other aside – I read that they hate black pepper so I should scatter that on them and they’ll disperse. Bad idea. It doesn’t kill them or even get them out of my kitchen and now I have all this dang black pepper to clean up off the floor! I also read that they don't like mint - so I've started creating a wall of gum around my cooking / food prep areas.


  1. Cornmeal. It's non toxic to dogs & babies but the ants will eat it and take it back to the nest to share but it kills them. I'm not sure how long it takes (it's not like chemical ones where they are dead in seconds) but it does work! Just put a little mound in their direct path (if they are walking in a line somewhere) and wait. BTW- I totally would NOT have been able to sleep with Bob in the room. If I see one it MUST be killed RIGHT. NOW. or it will crawl the ceiling and drop in my hair in my sleep (or at least I think it will)

  2. Oh no! That had to be so stressful. It looks like you conquered them though, right?
    PS LOVE the flying spiders that might actually be crickets. So funny!

  3. I COMPLETELY agree that the marriage vows should include references to the hubs killing and disposing of household rodents, spiders and other asundry bugs. It seems only fair!

    I couldn't have gone to sleep knowing Bob was in the room!


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