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…
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!!!
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.
Having 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.
Spiders. 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.
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.
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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