When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by bugs. Big ones, little ones, flying ones, crawling ones… I’d track them all down, catch them, put them in glass jars or those little plastic bugs houses and watch them do their thing. Then I’d kill them. Not just kill them actually, I would smush the guts right out of them. This was usually achieved by stepping on them with my shoes, but I was also known to use my hands, or better yet, my bare feet. The big fuzzy caterpillars were my favourite. It horrified my mother.
My mom worked really hard to get me to stop smushing the bugs, and eventually she won. Sadly, in the process, she passed along her tendency to freak out at most bugs, but bees and wasps in particular. I was actually quite convinced that I was allergic to them for much of my adult life, because I had been stung when I was about seven. It got quite swollen, and I apparently had trouble breathing as a result of the sting. I lived in fear of getting stung after that, til a few years ago when I was stung five times in a two week period. I had no extraordinary reaction then, and have since realized that I really didn’t when I was seven, either. Sure the bite was swollen, but so was EVERY bug bite I got. The “trouble breathing”? Was probably hyperventilating from all the freak out that was occurring (mine and my mother’s). Sure, I still cringe when wasps or bees come near, but I am working on that.
We have tried really hard to make sure that the lils are not afraid of bugs. Woo has fully embraced that “bugs are our friends”. So much that it is to the point that he will not let us kill a bug that is found in the house. It has to be caught, admired for a little while and then set free outside, with much fanfare. It’s very cute and we usually play along, unless it is one of those centipede bugs. Those nasty things get killed.
Goose is not doing as well. She is pretty afraid of most crawly things, except maybe spiders. We get many calls of “Bug! Bug!”, whenever she spies a black spec in the house. Thankfully Woo bounds to the rescue on most occasions.
This spring we are faced with two types bugs are really starting to bother me. Outside, my poor lilies are being decimated by the red lily beetle. They are barely above ground, and there poor little leaves are covered in holes. Several times each day I do the rounds and rid them of the bugs. There are still more though, so I look a little harder, and I have noted that I am getting more and more emphatic with the smooshing. You might say it’s gleeful, and I have to admit that I get a certain satisfaction in knowing that each bug I kill is not going to get to my lilies. It’s not with my bare hands (or feet!), but I do put extra effort into getting them.
Inside, we have the ever worsening saga of the ants. They have invaded our house! We get them every year, but they have always stayed in the three-season room for couple weeks in the spring before disappearing on their own. This year they are spreading. I regularly find them all over the house, but am most troubled by the number that are in my kitchen, and my recent discovery that they are IN MY CANDY STASH. While I generally try the least invasive method for getting rid of pests, this breach has meant that I had to take some serious action. After I carefully secured all my treats in tupperware, I made a trip to Canadian Tire for the super sweet drops that ants love to bring back to their lair. I’ve left out some drops where the lils cannot reach them, and waited (and maybe watched a bit). Slowly they have come. Slowly the number of ants has been reduced. It tells me that I am winning this war. I admit that I secretly love thinking “drink the koolaid, you little jerks!” every time I see them at the drops. This may please me a little bit more than can be considered normal.