Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bug hunting.

This one's for Sheepish Annie, who had her own little war waged in June.

While I lived in Hawaii, if I learned one thing, it was that in a warm climate, with no winter freeze to kill off insects, it is not uncommon to find bugs the size of your head. We regularly could not tell moths from bats. Cockroaches were almost as big as your hand (and flew in your face). And then there were the exotics - cane spiders the size of dinner plates (the largest one I ever saw was the size of a dessert plate, plenty big enough), armored centipedes - that sting like scorpions! - a food long, rice beetles like overgrown cockroaches, actual scorpions... You know how shrinks talk about desensitizing people from phobias? It really works. Because when I went out to Hawaii, I would freak about the smallest bug. After ten years of THAT, it takes something at least four inches long to totally freak me out. (Not to say I'm thrilled with smaller bugs, but I don't run around shrieking. Much.)

Skip ahead a few years and here I am in South Carolina, also a warm climate with no regular winter freeze. Home of the 'Palmetto Bug'. Palmetto bugs are fricking cockroaches. They just sound classier. And for the last couple weeks I've had a two inch long "Palmetto Bug" living under my refrigerator. It would duck out and wander around the sink (I assume in search of water) and then skitter back under there as soon as it saw me. It was so fast, the cat couldn't even catch it. But I figured my time would come, and I would get it.

That time was today.

Unfortunately, squishing bugs makes me throw up. Sometimes literally.

There it was in the sink this morning. So I blasted it with soap. (Soap screws with their exoskeletons, and kills them. Just not fast enough.) It ran under the refrigerator and lurked under there, flopping around in what I hope was pain (but I doubt it becaue they don't have nervous systems) while I gagged at the skittering noises (so I'm easily grossed out; bugs are gross). Then it staggered out and tried to crawl up the side of the fridge. I bravely (hah) rummaged under the sink and came up with some oven cleaner and blasted it straight in the face with it. It fell on the floor and writhed some more. (I would writhe after a blast in the face with oven cleaner.) After that it staggered into the living room, me following along, blasting it with soap. (I'd gone back to soap because I didn't know what oven cleaner would do to the carpet.)

So there I am, with this half-dead cockroach circling like the Bismark, blasting it with soap from a safe distance, while the baby (thankfully in her Pack-and-Play and unable to come investigate) makes "What are you doing??" noises, and the cat comes charging over to kill the roach, but I can't let her have it because it's covered in soap and oven cleaner and would make her sick.

Spray, spray on the roach, wrestle the cat, tell the baby it's okay, wonder why in hell the husbeast hasn't woken up yet, and what sarcastic comment he will have, when he does wake up. Spray spray, repeat.

After a long, hard battle, the roach is dead.

I feel like a total idiot.


Sheepish Annie said...

I kid you not, this is the second post referencing my bug war that I've read tonight. And both are waaaaaaaay worse than anything I went through. I am familiar with the palmetto bug as my family has a southern residence. Urrggggg!!!! That's all I can say.

debsnm said...

I can BARELY handle the cockroaches we have here - I live in a double-wide mobile home for more than one reason - note: cockroaches do NOT climb up into a trailer - neither do mice. If a cockroach flew at my head, I'd probably either take out my own head trying to kill it, or just die on the spot - either way, it would be bad!