Marblehead Patch columnist Brenda Kelley Kim talks about pests, a patio and the prayers of a mantis.
“Life is hard for insects. And don't think mice are having any fun either.” - Woody Allen
I have no sympathy for bugs, or mice or squirrels or any of the other creatures that spring brings. It’s this time of year, when the weather gets nice that I remember why I hate nature. The windows are open and in fly the bugs. My friends with cats tell me that they get a lot more animal “gifts” on the doorstep at this time of year. And the squirrels. They are the worst. It’s personal with them and me; I think they have a vendetta against me.
I didn’t grow up in the city; I know there are all kinds of wildlife in the suburbs. But why do they seem to pick my house for their hang out? I think it’s possible that we are the summer retreat for two particularly nasty bees. Every year, there are two giant bees that haunt my patio. I’m no expert in physics, but I don’t get how they even get off the ground. I think one of them has “Goodyear” written on the side. We are talking big, butt ugly bees. And they stay all season, hovering by the door. Every time I come in or out, they slowly drift down, right near my head. Like they are daring me “Going somewhere? You gotta get past me.”
I know the science behind the bugs. Some of them are good for gardens, some of them pollinate flowers, OK fine. But I don’t have a garden OR flowers. I have no use for them. Some kind of caterpillar got in my house a few days ago and I think I might have had a mini stroke. This thing had about a thousand feet, and some kind of antenna and was inching its way up the side of my bathtub. Not for nothing, it was worth cleaning up the flood I caused when I turned the shower hose on him and swished him down the drain to a watery grave.
I’ve been this way about bugs as long as I can remember. In college once this alien like green bug that I swore was a foot long got into the apartment I lived in. I was all set to whack that sucker into kingdom come with my shoe and my roommate, a biology major, said “No! You can’t kill that it’s a praying mantis!” Seriously, it would be a hate crime if I smashed him to a pulp? Apparently his prayers were answered since my roommate was kind enough to escort the Reverend Bug out into the field behind the house.
So yes, I freak out if a bug comes near me. But that is nothing compared to the screeching that happened the one time a mouse got into my kitchen. I saw it zip across the floor and I leaped up on the counter and screamed like a seven year old. I was on the phone to the “rat guy” in a matter of minutes. He came out and laid traps and checked out my pantry and cabinets and assured me that what I had seen was just a small field mouse. I don’t care. It was a rat and I confess I wanted it dead and was willing to pay a hit man to get the job done.
And finally, those evil gray squirrels. I think the ones in my yard have hibernated all winter. At some posh squirrel resort, with fruity drinks and spa treatments. They don’t look like they have spent the winter in a tree, not by a long shot. They are fat, happy and way too chipper. It seems their entire purpose is to leap out of the trash barrels right as I’m going by to see if they can cause my head to explode. I don’t know why they have made it their mission to take me out, but I’m convinced it’s a calculated plan. Recently on vacation in Yosemite National Park, we were told our hotel room didn’t have phone service because squirrels had chewed through the wires. Coincidence? I think not.
Another spring is upon us and I’m going to have to find a way to co exist with these pests. Maybe I could leave little packets of nuts around the yard as a peace offering to the squirrel crime families. I could scatter small chunks of cheese in the driveway to convince the mice they don’t need to come into the house. I wonder if bug repellant comes in gallon jugs? It’s going to be a long summer I think.