Bug-a-boos: Pests We Do Not Love

It’s mid-summer, and The Chicks are relaxing in their favorite outdoor spots with piles of books and pitchers of lemonade. (Okay, we’re actually writing, but you get the idea.) What creepy-crawly critters do we least want to join us? Pass the pesticide, and we’ll tell you…

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

I thought bugs were awesome when I was a kid. I desperately wanted one of those plastic ant farms advertised in the back of magazines. When that request was vetoed, I horrified my grade school principal by capturing huge ants at recess in a Baggie and leaving it in my locker. I also thought those black-orange-black woolly bear caterpillars made super pets. But there is one bug so terrifying, I can hardly type the word: “T”-plus-“ick.” Ever see one under a magnifying glass? They are the epitome of evil, because not only are they a totally disgusting concept in general, but they carry equally-scary diseases. They say cockroaches could survive a nuclear holocaust, but my money is on these spotted little buggers. They can even live under the snow!!! DIE, Bloodsuckers!!!

 Ellen Byron


Being from New York and having gone to college in New Orleans, my most despised bug used to be… ladybugs! Kidding, of course. It was the state bug of both New York and Louisiana, the cockroach. (I complain a lot about Lalaland, where I live now, but one plus of desert weather is less bugs, so I’m happy to say that life has been relatively roach-free.) However, a new insect has shoved roaches into second position: the pantry moth. OMG, I HATE those little f–kers!!! I’ve trapped and bombed my kitchen, thrown out hundreds of dollars of products, and yet they still found a way into our home. After my nth set of pheromone-laced traps recently, I gave up. And guess what? So did they… unless they’re lying in wait to dive-bomb me again.

Vickie Fee

vickieHaving grown up along the low-lying lands along the Mississippi River, I am of course well acquainted with the mosquito. We’re not bothered by them so much right on Lake Superior, but if we wander into the north woods they are plentiful. However, I have a secret weapon: my husband. Actually, pretty much any other human being will suffice as my sacrificial lamb. If I’m with another person mosquitoes generally ignore me. Apparently, I’m repulsive to mosquitoes, and I’m good with that. Maybe my blood tastes like Brussels sprouts, who knows? But, hubs will be covered in mosquito bites after a short walk in the woods, while I might have one or two itchy bites. Wasps, however, never give me a break.


Leslie Karst

Leslie graphicSpiders. Yes, yes, I’m fully aware that they’re good for the environment, that they catch and kill pesky bugs such as flies, and yes, I also know that they’re not technically even bugs, since arachnids are not in the insect family. Nevertheless, I’ve had an irrational fear of spiders since I was a child. I even made my tent-mate at Girl Scout camp catch and take outside the daddy long legs (which, of course, aren’t really even spiders). But have no fear: I don’t kill spiders. I just cower and hide until someone comes along who can whisk them out of my presence.

Kathleen Valenti

Some of the bugs I love to hate have already been given their due, so I’ll talk about the bug that truly bugs me: the fly. I’m sure flies serve a purpose other than buzzing noisily around the house, walking across food with their disgusting, disease-ridden feet, and rubbing their “hands” together like a scheming Bond villain, but I don’t know what it is. All I know is that they feast on trash, swarm to sewage, and are the first to visit a corpse, which I suppose is handy information when writing a mystery, but also: ew. Sure they’re an integral part of the food web and I’m probably supposed to appreciate them as part of the natural world, but I hate them with the heat of a thousand Raid cans set ablaze. Call me silly. Call me unsophisticated about the complexity of the ecosystem. Just don’t call me to shoo a fly. I’ll be busy getting the swatter—or zapper—ready.

Becky Clark

The worst bug ever invented is, by far, the earwig. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to gross me out and get my brother a mention in some medical journal.

I can deal with the wayward one or two, but the time when they re-landscaped my front yard really put me over the edge. I went across the street to pick up my mail, and as I returned I saw that they had stuffed a wad of landscape fabric in the crook of a tree. So I detoured to pull it out of the tree and deposit in my trashcan. As I walked up the sidewalk, I looked down and my hand and the fabric was covered with earwigs. Squirmy prehistoric hellions everywhere. I dropped the fabric wad, did a crazy stomp-dance, and vowed then and there that earwigs were my mortal enemy.

Readers, which nasty insect critters make your skin crawl, itch or sting?

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33 thoughts on “Bug-a-boos: Pests We Do Not Love

  1. Roaches are at the top of my list. Can’t stand those things. Recently I’ve added scorpions to the list too. Although I’ve never actually seen one in person, I know they exist here and a friend of a friend was stung by one recently. It did not sound like a pleasant experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a scorpion story. A year or two after college, we were camping at Lake Mohave with a bunch of friends. The parents of a 2yo had taken the boat across the lake to get supplies and I was babysitting. The toddler was playing in the sand under the canopy; I sat nearby. I saw something out of the corner of my eye … a scorpion zipping along right toward her! I scooped her up and ran into the water where I stood with her for more than an hour until I could deliver her back into the care of her parents. What if she had been stung?? No phone, no boat, no help … gah!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Spending most of the summer in the Northwoods, I have to say mosquitos are my least favorite bug. Right now I’m suppressing the urge to scratch my ankle and the inside of my right wrist. Oh–and deer flies who dive-bomb and bite when your skin is wet. Otherwise I like bugs. Don’t bite me, and I’ll leave you alone.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The park where I play ultimate Frisbee on Sundays fills with gnats or small flies or some such thing. And they love to fly around your face. I don’t notice them when we are actually playing, but the instant we stop (between points or between games), they start to annoy me and everyone else out there.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Leslie, the worst class I ever took in college spent the entire semester exploring only the FIRST page of that book as an experimental theatre piece. That was it. The first page. For an entire semester.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Vickie, we’re the same at our house – Jer and Eliza get eaten alive by mosquitoes when we visit NOLA while I casually enjoy my Pimm’s cup, completely ignored. I used to get bitten when I lived in the northeast. Don’t know why they stopped. Maybe it’s something in one of the many meds I’m on. And Kathy – LOL on “like a James Bond villain.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well…um, yes, I did see those (fascinating, gulp), and was duly horrified. I remember those engorged ticks on our dogs (and occasionally me) when I lived in CT. But these days, spotting one of those horrifying disease balloons means the host critter is already as good as Lyme’d. All the pets here in NH are power-drugged with preventatives.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Recently our home has been overrun with big black ants. Don’t know why now. And carpenter ants that resulted in us having to rebuild the wood trim around our front door. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood like termites, they just burrow through it leaving the wood weakened. Just as bad. So add ants to your list.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. We came home from vacation last night and I woke up (after a few hours of sleeping back in my own bed) to a spider crawling on my back. I was so terrified I couldn’t even wake up my husband to save me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember being told way back when that if you killed a spider it was bad luck. I’m willing to take my chances.


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