An Ezra Interlude
Scootastrophe!

My Infestation, Let Me Show You It

A couple years ago, shortly before we moved from DC to the Stupid Suburbs, my recently-transplanted-from-California friend sent me a camera phone photo and a hysterical text message.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS FUCK YOU EAST COAST

The picture was of the most hideous insect I had ever seen. Including the time I found a cockroach in my bathtub.

(Although cockroach encounters are almost like a bizarre form of street cred for City People. It reaffirms that yes, I am so hardcore in my desire to Walk To Things (translation: Starbucks) that I am perfectly okay with spending half a million dollars to live in a 800-square-foot hellhole.)

Anyway, this bug was ugly. It was obviously some kind of beetle but the kind of beetle that would eat ladybugs for lunch and then poop out some kind of flesh-eating disease. All over your face. While you slept.

I texted back.

HOLY FUCK KILL IT KILL IT I AM THROWING SHOES FROM HERE.

My phone was silent for a few minutes. And then.

FUCK IT CAN FLY IT CAN FLLLY FUCK

And a few minutes later, she called.

"Cilannnnntrooooo!" she wailed.

"WHAT?"

"Cilantro! I squashed it with Skip's shoe and now the whole room smells like rotten goddamn cilantro."

(Skip is her husband.)

We both got on our computers and started Googling "cilantro smelly rotten egg beetles" and quickly determined that it was a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. A nuisance bug accidentally introduced to our continent from China, like a plague of mass-produced lead-painted Thomas trains. And we learned that by squishing the sucker inside her house, my friend had essentially broadcasted to every other stink bug in the area that her house was a nice warm place to infest.

"That's stupid," she said. "That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Come to this house, bugs! They have shoes! It smells like death!"

Then she fell oddly silent, and asked if she and her son could come over for awhile.

"Amy," she whispered. "There are like, five more of them on the outside of the screen door. They're just...sitting there."

"Oh my God," I whispered back, for some reason. "Grab your keys and the baby and get out of there. Don't worry about anything else. We have diapers and blankets and you can borrow clothes if you need them. Just GET OUT OF THERE."

When she arrived, I immediately told her about the time I found a cockroach in the tub. To this day I will never understand why she moved back to California.

***

And now we live in the suburbs. And every fall it's the same disgusting thing. Stink bugs all over the outside of the house and window screens, waiting, plotting, inevitably finding their way inside. Mosquitoes, too. They sense their imminent wintery death and go completely berserk in September, biting you through seventeen coats of DEET, making every trip outside to drop wine bottles in the recycling bin an exercise in terror. This year, we have a nest of yellow jackets in the flower bed right outside our front door and Jason found a dried-out snakeskin near our dryer vent. And then there's the fucking CRICKETS. And then! Three days ago I noticed some other giant (HUGE) mysterious beetle-bug-thing on one of our windows, and as I have considerable problem-solving skills, I simply closed the window to trap it, because it just looked entirely too substantial to crush with a tissue. As of right now, the thing is STILL NOT DEAD YET.

It's all so gross, this stupid nature.

This year seems like the worst one yet, though. Almost Hitchcockian. The stink bugs just all simultaneously APPEARED yesterday. I noticed one on the crown molding in the living room...right as I heard the telltale buzzing of another one taking flight behind me behind me don't land on me don't land on me gaaaah. I lowered the window shades and HOLY FUCK, they were everywhere, just sitting there. First-floor windows, second-floor windows. I checked all our screens for points of entry and armed myself with the Shop Vac. 

We have a service contract with a pest control company, and twice a year they come out and spray for termites and check the perimeter and windows and set out little sticky traps to see if we can figure out how the fuck all these bugs are getting in and twice a year the visit ends with a baffled shrug. 

Yesterday, I think I cracked the mystery.

(Oh hey, if you're still reading at this point but are like, itching from head to toe a little bit? You might want to finally cry uncle and bail.)

So ever since the Great Fertilizer Dog Buffet Debacle and subsequent shutting down of the Canine Liver Contingent, we've been diligent composters. Yesterday, however, I left the pile's offerings (bruised section of peach, apple core, lettuce) sit out on the kitchen counter for juuuuust a bit too long, as we've yet to buy a suitable indoor container. I went to toss a banana peel on top and OH MY GOD, a fucking mushroom cloud of fruit flies sprang from its depths. I gagged and grabbed the nearest bowl (Sorry, Dora the Explorer), swept everything into it and bolted outside to deposit it in our composter.

(EXHIBIT 28430290 OF WHY HIPPIES ARE STUPID, DAMN DIRTY)

As soon as I opened the back door, the stink bugs attacked. Five or six of them flew towards the opening at top speed. I shrieked and slammed the door shut. The motion once again disturbed the flock of fruit flies who were following me and my bowl of mush like the Pied Piper, and a stink bug ricocheted off the door frame and landed on my hand. I dropped the bowl and shrieked again, and the bug fell off my hand...and into my shoe.

(Gardening clogs, okay? That I promise I only wear for GARDENING. And picking up dog crap. And fine, maaaaaybe taking Noah out to the school bus sometimes but it's just because they are usually right there by the door and that's just really convenient.)

At this point I probably looked and sounded like I was being attacked by bees. Or sharks. Or hell demons. I kicked off my shoe and sent it sailing across the yard and stood there for another three or four minutes shaking my limbs and hair and clothing while gasping out stuff like "ew ew ew ew ew shit shit shit."

When I stopped to catch my breath and retrieve my shoe and Dora bowl (opting to allow the compost to stay where it fell, providing all kinds of essential nutrients to the wood of the back deck), I made the mistake of surveying the back of our house.

Stink bugs. Everywhere. On the brick, on the windows, on the gutters. I slooooowly reached for the screen door handle and I SWEAR, they all fired up their wings, ready to attack. 

I dashed in as fast as I could, slamming the storm door closed (AND LOCKING THE DEADBOLT, BECUZ I ARE SMARTER THAN THEM BUGS). I walked over to the sink to deposit the bowl...and felt something on my ankles.

Two mosquitoes. I smashed them, leaving smears of blood on top of the already-forming welts.  (FOUR BITES, already. FOUR.)

And that's when I noticed something in my hair. Multiple somethings.

You guys. They rode inside the house IN MY HAIR.

By my count, THREE OF THEM. I have since vacuumed up one, another is MIA (shakes hair shakes hair shakeshair), and I have cornered a third one inside the living room blinds, unable to coax it quiiiiite close enough to where my vacuum can get at it.

No, seriously:

IMG_3479

The way we live now.

(And just for the sake of completeness, besides the two mosquitoes that used my ankle as some kind of illegal border crossing van, minutes later I found a third one, BITING MY BABY ON THE FACE. Without thinking, I smacked it off him [AND THUS, HIS FACE], which shocked him so much that he did the whole heartbreaking face-melting-sobbing-real-tears thing, and then STILL woke up this morning with EIGHT gigantic angry red bites on his face and legs. Obviously, the suburbs are dirty, disgusting and absolutely no place to raise children.)

Comments

clarabella

I live in rural Mississippi. I feel your pain.

Mir

DUDE! BE CAREFUL. I always thought they were harmless to everything but the nose, BUT!! THEY TOTALLY BITE. And it's not a little nibble, then they move on.

They grab hold and hang on, much like a tick. The only thing that has ever bitten me harder or for longer was the neighbor's damn Nazi poodle when I was growing up.

Watch the floors - the one that got me grabbed my foot.

Caroline

Oh sweet Jesus. This is why I would live at Disney World if I could - no bugs anywhere.

Kim

Ew, ew, ew, ew! I used to have a mailbox that would fill with hissing cicadas every summer. After bringing them in hidden in the mail a couple of times, I started making my husband get the mail. Ew.

beanery

Fuck nature. Seriously.

Starbuck

Amy, I'm sorry for laughing at your sufferings. But you have a talent for making suffering freaking hilarious! I just have one suggestion to get you through all of this -- come visit me and you can drink your fill of D&M coffee. You know you want to.

Baileyswedishfish

I guess you don't want to hear my story then. The one that involves my very naked body, a loofah, a loofah colored centipede the length of one 4" bathroom tile and a shower head that was permanently aimed at the loofah. Indicision really bites in moments like that.


I hear ya on the fruit flies. I have them. Or, maybe they have me. Not sure. But it was fun waving the vacuum nozzle around last night in a dance of death trying suck up the little annoying buggers.

My neighbors must think I've lost my mind.

Mosquitos are of the devil. Like head colds. And hang nails.

Wineplz

I'm guessing time for a new pest control company.

Glad the worst offender in my suburban yard is an obnoxious preying mantis that keeps showing up on the back door and scaring me at random intervals.

Arlene

I see you your stink bugs and raise you a camel cricket in my kitchen: http://images.google.com/images?q=camel%20cricket&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&safe=on&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

Seriously WTF is up with nature. Why aren't there any corgi or baby bunny infestations?

Michelle

O.M.G. Ick!!!! That is why I live in CO. Sure we get the occasion blizzard and yeah, it snowed on Monday but the bug population is delightfully sparse.

You have my complete and sincere sympathies. Giant scary ass bugs suck!

meghan

ugh. i'm horrified. stay strong.

heathabee

My apartment through university had a bug infestation and I can still remember waking up because I could feel one of these red-hard-shelled-beetle-things (which were the size of those stink bugs) crawling ON MY FACE. Horrific. They were everywhere in our apartment.. EVERYWHERE. So I feel your pain.

Also, fruit flies are the bane of my existence. Really sweet trick to get rid of them:

Get a shallow bowl or 7 (depending on how many fruit flies you have), pour a centimetre-high (sorry, metric - I guess a 1/4 inch? I'm Canadian, I have no idea)of juice (orange preferably, but any juice will work) in the bowl and then a good squirt of liquid dish soap/detergent (like palm olive, etc). Then cover said bowl with plastic/saran wrap, pulling it very tightly over the top of the bowl. Punch tiny holes in the saran using the end of a pencil or pen... I swear on everything I value, it works. The fruit flies can get in, have a drink, get stuck (because of the dish soap) and they can't get out because they're too stupid to figure out the holes they got in through.

Try it, it's AMAZING!

Val

mother f-ers. last year i decided to drown one hiding in my bathtub figuring that would prevent the smell. um, no, and my bathroom smelled like that for MONTHS. ew, they were all over.

Morgan S.

AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHH, gross. OMFG. I would have died. We live in Oregon and are BUG FREE, thank you Jesus. My friend's husband moved to CA from MA and he said he had never realized how amazing life could be without BUGS EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE.

Robin from Israel

Oh. My. God.

I am staying in the city forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

jenni

if you house is made of brick, why does your pest company spray for termites? maybe you need a better pest control company because mine sprays QUARTERLY and we've since seen nary a stink bug. and we had lots, yo.

Julia

I have never been so grateful to live in Seattle.

Saint Tigerlily

GAH. As someone who is currently suffering from a madness-inducing roach infestation I would like to nominate the city, also, as a really yucky place to live, bug-wise. Even after emptying out every cabinet and spraying poison and disinfecting, they are still there. I see them out of the corner of my eye, even at work...and I've started talking to myself at home. My husband and I get super happy when we go to swat something and it is "only" a fly, because: OMG! Only a fly! Best bug ever! I've heard that wasps eat and kill cockroaches and am seriously considering infesting my house with wasps and just committing to wearing a bee-keeper's costume for the rest of my life. And little ones for the cats. Totally worth it. Either that or I am moving to the North Pole. In short: I feel you.

beyond

ugh. poor you. this is why i hope i never have to live in the burbs.
(btw, $1/2 million for 800 square feet (!!!) sounds like a good deal for manhattanites.)

schoolofmom

OMG YOU USE DEET? Clearly you want to kill everything including YOUR CHILDREN! (Just kidding. I thought I'd beat the random troll of the day in picking the most minute fact from your post to obsess about while completely missing the actual point of the post, which, GIANT BUGS.)

And, East Coast is not as bad as it could be. I used to live in Texas, lived there for my most formative years, in fact--well, most formative for my neuroses, i.e. from 11 to 18--and those TX cockroaches are evil. They chase you down and lie in wait in towels to spring on your face right after you've just washed said face and have your eyes squinched closed against the bubbles and therefore cannot see the insect freak show headed your way. I live on the East Side now and at least we have winter here.

I'm praying that a harsh North wind blows all those bugs away very quickly for your sake. And the sake of the children! Oh, and I used the duster handle to get inside my blinds and push a bug out one time. Maybe that would work? (Because what if it dies in there and sends out a pheremonal message that says "Bug Cemetery: A Great Place to Die!"?)

KB

O M G. I had never heard of a stink bug until last night when I saw a giant fucking bug on the door, inside the house, and my cousin freaked the fuck out and took great lengths to get it back outside without killing it. Unfortunately she did kill it, and it's gross bug guts are on the door. I am now deathly afraid that when I get home today the house will be covered with bugs. Gaaaaaah. And I just moved to the suburbs from the city! The most I had there were some fruit flies. Oh yeah, and I mouse that pooped in my pantry and ate anything that wasn't in a plastic bin.

Liz

Dude, I live in Charlottesville, and we are also under stink bug attack. I've lived here for 3 years, and I don't ever remember them being this bad before. Every time I turn around, there's another one. The only good thing about them: they're slow-moving.

Susan

And I thought Louisiana was bad. Wow.

lumpyheadsmom

Scratch, scratch.

Great, and now MY HAIR itches.

Katie

OMG! I'm laughing and getting the heebie jeebies at the same time. I am SOO glad that I live in Los Angeles, no bugs. Well very minimal at that.

Keely

bwahahahaha! Give me my miserable 800 square feet any day!

Nel

I am SO itchy! It really took all of my strength to finish reading that, but the last paragraph was SO worth it.

Kate

The mosquitoes have been really bad this year (I live in a suburb between DC and Baltimore). My four month old currently has at least 4 bites, two of which are in the middle of his forehead; it looks like he's trying to grow little horns!

Angella

DUUUUUUUDE.

I had never heard of stink bugs until we moved to the butt poke of nowhere eight years ago.

They fly into my hair ALL THE TIME and get stuck and I can hear the buzzing in my ears and I FREAK THE HELL OUT.

Maybe I should move back to the city.

Stefanie

Wow. I didn't think that anything could be worse than a spricket (which is apparently called a camel cricket, thanks Arlene!). Those used to be the only bugs I was afraid of but now I will add stink bugs to the list as well.

Kendra

There's something about the DC metro area. I grew up in Fredericksburg, VA and the mosquitoes were never as bad as I have experienced in McLean. They are like an effing plague here, man. What the hell. And the stink bugs! I first encountered them in Plymouth Meeting, PA a couple of years ago (apparently close to their point of origin in this country...Allentown, PA or thereabouts?) and had a similar "WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT WHAT IS THAT" encounter moment. And yes, now theeeeeeey're here. Everywhere! But mostly clinging to my front door! Sick, dude. Just sick. The saddest part is that your post was in no way hyperbolic.

Meg

California spiders are way scarier, though. Two weeks ago, I was on my way to bed when I discovered one the size of a SILVER DOLLAR on my ceiling. Seriously HUGE - I could see the hairy mandibles of death and everything. Of course, hubby was away on a business trip, so I slept in the guest bedroom.

lumpyheadsmom

Came back to say: Yep, still scratching.

DeAnn

DUDE! I live in texas(for another 3 weeks that is) And I MADE my budget afford a pest control service that came omthly and as needed because the bugs out here, OMFG!! And oh yeah we have scorpions, which may have made me attack a die cast tan truck of my sons because, maybe, I thought it was one, and ended up HURTING MYSELF! Whatever, at least I have good stories to tell... :-)

Valarie Ryerson

Oh God, I so feel your pain...and then some. We live in Harrisburg, PA and the stinkbugs were bad last year too (though judging by the Amityville Horror scene at my house yesterday, this year will be worse). Last year though, my baby was still a crawler, and very oral. Yeah, you guessed it. She ATE THREE STINKBUGS! There would be a gross smell all through the house and she would be sitting there munching, acting like she was eating the usual piece of waffle that she found on the floor. I would fish out the bug, vomit, and contemplate the ethics of putting a 7 month old baby in a cardboard box and leaving her on the steps of a church. This year she has passed through the oral stage, and yesterday just HANDED ME A STINKBUG. I hope the nuns are good to her.

miranda

ewwwwwwwwwwww. This is why I hate the summer. We're having a problem with those too and I keep flushing them down the toilet. No lie, one crawled back up after two flushes. Gag.

Jen

Oh sweetie. I can't help but shake my head and laugh. I grew up in the country - not the suburbs, the honest-to-god STICKS - and while I don't call myself a hippie I guess I am one. But I still hate bugs with an unholy passion. Snakes, frogs, etc I can totally deal with, but stink bugs, mosquitoes, creepy-crawlies, anything except cute little bumblebees or ladybugs... I hate to admit that I would probably react the exact same way!

catherino

Gah - I'm going to take a shower now.

Belle

Hahahahahahah my sister got slapped in the forehead when we were eating on a patio the other night and her boyfriend spotted a mosquito on her...
p.s. I could write the book about all the 28430290 reasons why hippies are so stupid and dirty... if you want to collaborate, I'm REALLY very good at that.

Brenda

Well, the snake might actually help in the eating-the-bugs sense. Maybe you guys could put up a bat house? Ecological green points AND voracious insect consumers in one happy combination?

Adventures In Babywearing

Ohhhh dear. I hate to even mention this, it's not like you aren't freaked out enough as it is, but you might want to keep a close eye on the yellow jacket nest. We had one like that by our front door and when the weather turned they ATE THROUGH OUR HOUSE and infested our basement. Yellow jackets.

Steph

Christine

Now I have a name for the bugs I see in my garden once in a while and know now to squish them. I live in the 'burbs near Vancouver and thankfully the bugs are happiest outside.

See, your post helped someone today!

Christine

I mean, know NOT to squish them.

Stephanie

GAH! I HATE BUGS!! My body is crawling now. CRAWLING. I feel for you.

Kristen

Oh my holy fuck, I have stink bugs! I should never have looked at the google image search. Now I'm freaking out because they are all over my screens and are coming into the house.
And thanks, am itchy from hair to ankles now.

Tiffany

I have to give you credit for waiting patiently for the bug in the blinds, because my first reaction would have been to freak out and open the blinds. Thus squishing the evil, terrifying stink bug and attracting the hordes to my house. *shudder*
Mmmm pestilence. My favourite.

julie

I was doing ok until I got to the part when they were in your hair. Made my skin crawl.

That's just horrible!

I'm in kentucky. Cicadas here (the noise is deafing) and what we call sprickets. Now I know they are camel crickets.

Your sight is educational.

Just Shireen

What is it with the bugs lately? A co-worker just told me that her daughter had over 200 camelback crickets in her bedroom. TWO HUNDRED IN HER ROOM. SOME OF THEM ON HER WHEN SHE WOKE UP!

I'm never going to stop feeling like they're crawling all over me, am I?

Lori

I'm sitting at my desk furiously scratching my head and trying to make sure nothing is in my hair. so, thanks for that.

Also, while hilarious in the recounting this is terrifying to me, as I am not a fan of the bugs in any form.

Michelle

Your poor sweet baby! And OH MY GOD I need a Xanax NOW... Panic. Panic. Breath. Bugs. Big Bugs. Creeps Me Out! And they FLY! EWW!!

Julie

I'll see your stinkbugs and raise you the rattlesnakes and tarantulas that live in my yard and surrounding areas. Yesterday, there was a tarantula the size of my hand casually strolling across the road in front of my house.

On the bright side, we won't need Halloween decorations.

I don't know where that poster up there lives in CO, but it's not the part where I live.

shriek house

Oh my god, you're like a stinkbug coyote! Were you not tempted to shop vac your own head though, after the three riders in your hair?

Sprite's Keeper

I don't know what's worse, your stinkbugs or our freaking huge who left the lid off the steriods jar spiders...

Sam

Tip from a dirty hippy? Jusdt use one of those plastic flour bins for your compost. You know, the boxy, cheap, has-a-lid-that-fits-snug-to-keep-out-weevils (and fruit flies) kind? I think ours cost $5, and it came with matching, descending-order-of-size ones for sugar and stuff (which we use to hold Taco Bell hot sauces).

The most horrible infestation we ever had was golld, old-fashioned black flies. Hundreds of them. We know there were hundreds, because we stuck up seeral boxes' worth of fly paper (go, Victorian-era engineering! Wooot!). Finally, we found where the maggots were being laid - IN THE LITTERBOX. That's right, we had kitty poop filled with maggots. You think a stink bug smell is bad? Eeeek.

Also, tell your freind we have stink bugs in the West, too. It's just that here, they're black (no tripes or spots) and rounded instead of flat, and actually kind of pretty; and they smell more like rotten eggs and...and... something unidentifiable, although I don't think it's rotten cilantro.

Jenny

So disgusting!!

Cori

I'm laughing right now because as soon as I got to "...I found a third one, BITING MY BABY ON THE FACE," I knew EXACTLY where that was going. We live in Houston and since it never actually FREEZES to get rid of the mosquitoes, we have them year 'round and I've smacked my kid so many times trying to kill those damn things. BTW, Skin So Soft (from Avon) works really well at repelling mosquitoes. And, there aren't any of those gross chemicals, so I can put it on my two year old.
Thanks for the laugh!

C @ Kid Things

MOVE.

Jamie Bowden

I hate bugs. I hate living in a fucking box even more though, so suburban or rural it is. I grew up in Va. Beach, and the bug population there was much less than here...brackish and salt water are apparently not optimal places for insect populations.

Liz M.

Don't come to the city seeking refuge!

Last night I was babysitting for my two boys in the Dupont Circle area. They are 7 and 4 and apparently raised in a barn because they are incapable of closing the back door. The stupid Tiger mosquitoes are relentless this year (also an invasive species from Asia!) One mosquito managed to make it all the way up to their bedroom on the second story, and proceeded to dive bomb us during story time. After 2 minutes, the seven year old had 5 welts on his neck and across his back. He quickly changed his mind about not wanting to wear pajamas. I had bites on my arm, ankles and the bottom of my feet.

This was the luckiest damn mosquito too -- I tried to kill it no fewer than 6 times, each of which involved smacking it off one of the kids. Luckily they are 7 and 4 and think that hitting is a higher form of comedy, so no tears were involved.

Last week while babysitting I found two cockroaches in the living room, scared the mouse of the trash when I turned the light on in the kitchen, and rescued the boys’ dirty clothes from an ant attack in the bathroom.

In my own house we've had multiple ant attacks (including in the kitchen cabinets which required much throwing away of food and purchasing of airtight container for storing baking goods -- also had a ant colony set up home in one of our house plants), a parade of silverfish, cockroaches, giant (and smart!) houseflies, and multiple mice attacks, including one that died in our bathroom wall.

When nature attacks, no where is safe!

Katie

It took me about three different tries to get through this post. The entire thing made me laugh hysterically while simultaneously checking my shoulder for stink bugs (although, I'm not sure if I've ever actually SEEN a stink bug, and so would have no idea whether or not one was near me). We do, however, have an issue with the fruit flies. No matter what I do, they will not go away. I want to try the "oven trap" for them, where you put a piece of fruit in the oven overnight and then in the morning you close the oven and burn the fuckers up... my husband says no to that idea because he "doesn't want to clean the oven twice in one month". Stupid. Those flies are going to burn soon enough if I have anything to do with it.

birdgal

Holy shit. I live in NC and have never seen anything like that! (the swarming of stink bugs I mean) AND I live in the suburbs! I can feel your pain on the mosquitoes, however (and cockroaches in the bathtub *shudder*).

Amy Jo

Yeah, we've had trouble with the compost, too. We have a small can under the sink, and I'm kind of lax about our 'empty it every night' rule.

Fruit flies can be caught by putting a cut piece of fruit in about half an inch of red wine vinegar in a cup covered with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap so they can get in, and then they're too stupid to find their way out. The acid in the vinegar eventually kills them, but not immediately. I like to stick the cup in the freezer after a while, just to fuck with them.

Good luck!

Amy Jo

Yeah, we've had trouble with the compost, too. We have a small can under the sink, and I'm kind of lax about our 'empty it every night' rule.

Fruit flies can be caught by putting a cut piece of fruit in about half an inch of red wine vinegar in a cup covered with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap so they can get in, and then they're too stupid to find their way out. The acid in the vinegar eventually kills them, but not immediately. I like to stick the cup in the freezer after a while, just to fuck with them.

Good luck!

pickles & dimes

GLAH. They are EVOLVING, capable of rational thought. (Although that text conversation was hilarious.)

I spotted another one of the 3 trillion spiders we've had in our house lately in the shower this morning, about to burrow into my towel. My husband unhelpfully shook out my towel (over my head in the shower, mind you), proclaimed I was seeing things, and left the room.

I towel-dried off as usual (shaking the towel every 2 seconds), got ready, arrived at work and found a squished-up, dead spider corpse in my hair. True story.

Excuse me, I need to take another shower (or fifteen hundred).

Maren

Every day I have to shake earwigs out of my mail...otherwise there are unfortunate incidences where I am driving down to the house screaming EEEWGETITOFF and making tracks through the yard. It is also unfortunate to smack a person you are barely acquainted with on the forehead to kill a mosquito. I can only hope that she forgives me because the smack is far better than the bite...right?

Helen

I am in England and I swear we have been targeted for a biblical type plague fest, flies, mice, crickets
( actually blame Seth for that one as the crickets are his lizard's food and escaped)and then NITS as in hair nits. Bubonic plague next ( or swine flu, either is a good bet)Itch, scratch, Ewwwwww. Glad we don't have stink bugs over here, you can keep them ones.

CarrieB

I'm in a DC suburb too, and OMG we have stink bugs everywhere. And we have the same kind of blinds you do...and they love to march back and forth in the honeycomb but stay just out of range.

Do you have the centipedes?? They are far worse.

Amber

I've seen 3 stink bugs this year - that's well beyond quota.
The sprickets or camel crickets everyone's talking about - OMG hate them. FYI for y'all, they come in as babies through holes beside pipes in your kitchen or bathrooms & they grow. Guh-ross.
I'm battling ants as we speak. It's a grand melee in my kitchen. But with household chemicals instead of guns.

Georgia

Ack! Ugh! Ewwww!!! Sooo glad I live in Los Angeles, where we've wiped out any trace of anything even remotely natural a long, long time ago.

I'd like to know where the hell your cat is in all this mess. Isn't she supposed to be EATING these horrible bugs?? Isn't that what she was, like, made for???

Emily T

If any of your readers gives you a good tip on how to get rid of the stink bugs, will you post it for us all to see? Because seriously, they are EVERYWHERE. I live over in the VA 'burbs and there are 4 that I can see on the sliding glass door as we speak. That awful cilantro smell is among the worst things that can happen to a pregnant and smell sensitive person! They are mercifully slow and easy to dust-bust up ... but still, I want them GONE!

Sara

OMG OMG. We are dealing with simliar issues, being in Georgia, and also with it being a spectacularly WET summer.
The roaches think they own my damn house. And the exterminator? Yeah. I'm pretty sure they fart in his general direction.

Emily T

Oh also, if you dust bust or vacuum up the stink bugs, beware that those damn things can live for DAYS inside your dust buster ... then when you go to empty it, you wind up with a swarm of them flying at you ... and you may wind up screaming and throwing the entire dust buster off the deck into the yard. Then of course your husband has to go fetch it, all the while shaking his head at what an idiot you are. Just a warning.

Brenda

Two words.

BUG BOMB

And we do have bugs in Oregon....anyway on the west side of the state. Just not big enough to carry a person away tho.... but still..

BIG BOMB. I do it at least twice a year. Keeps the fleas, spiders and silver fish away.

But first makes sure everyone is out of the house... and stay out for at least 3 hours.

Elizabeth

Eeeekkk - I am itchy all over. We have a community of bugs outside our front and back door that are just waiting for the moment that we open the door to come inside to our nice cozy home. Grrr.

Jamilyn

Apparently there's large crunchy bugs everywhere. I thought it was just here in Florida! (except crickets and roaches...they're everywhere!)

A few months back, I had a giant prehistoric beetle on my windshield that lasted 12 1/2 miles of my 13 mile trip to work before it finally flew off. I was starting to make contingency plans in case I got to work and it was still there. There was NO WAY I was going to get out and risk the wrath of that thing knowing how powerful its sticky foot pads were! *shudder*

M

heebee jeebeesheebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees heebee jeebees...

Am going to go hide under a blanket until winter...

JennyM

Aiieeeee! It's enough to make you fear the outdoors, man. Stink bugs, cave crickets (I think the same as camel crickets?), palmetto bugs, orb weavers... and the mosquitos! It finally rained this year after four or five years of drought and so four or five years worth of mosquitos sprang forth at once this summer. HORRID. At least the orb weavers eat the mosquitos, but they do it by spinning giant webs at HEAD LEVEL that you can't see UNTIL YOU WALK RIGHT INTO THEM OMG. I've died several times this summer already.

Erin

You have succeeded in making hundreds of people itch. We don't have those things where I am, but we have these big bright green flying beetle-type things. They're really pretty when they're not trying to eat your face. They seem to particularly enjoy hair, landing on it, crawling into it, hiding in it. And they sound like when you drive by those loud power lines. They're about two inches in diameter.

Oh! And last night, I was walking out of our building with my three year old and hanging right in front of my face was the largest spider I have seen outside of a zoo, weaving a lovely web across the walkway. We broke the web with a broom handle, not wanting to kill her, since she was going to eat all the damn mosquitoes. The web was really strong. Glad I didn't walk into it or I'd still be screaming and thrashing and doing the "get it off!" dance.

In short: bugs = eeew!

*scratch scratch*

chatty cricket

Oh we have flies. Like, The Fly kind of flies. They are gigantic and terrify the children with their incessant buzzing and flying into windows and they are big enough to make thuds when they hit the glass so gross.

Also, once you mentioned it I have to google Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and ohmygodyoumayaswelljustMOVE.

Susan

When I read through this, I really thought it said 'Hitchcockroachian'. For the record, Arlene's camel cricket thing has me all Heebie-Jeebied out, and after physically shaking a few times during your story(ies) I will now take a walk around the building since there are likely fewer bugs outdoors than in. Thanks, all!

kate

THAT is why I stay inside!

Mrs Chaos

Note to self: Never live where Amy lives.

Yikes.

I will never complain about CA bugs again. Ever. Not even a little bit. Don't blame your friend at all for moving back. I think I have PTSD just from the picture and images I've conjured up. (Am apparently a very huge wimp.)

(Also, good luck?)

nanann

you know, people make fun of us Texans, but our bugman comes out every other month!

thank goodness!

great post! although i am all itchy!

Jamie

Okay I will be making my first trip to the east coast in a couple of weeks and am now totally creeped out. I think maybe I will just stay here in Colorado, the worst thing we have is box elder bugs http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05522.html. My mom's house is always infested with them every autumn. Not so much in my burbs.

Juliette from NJ

I have to agree with the point about California spiders: They are super scary. When I lived in San Rafael (Northern CA), I regularly dealt with not only HUGE spiders, but also wolf spiders that JUMP TOWARDS YOU and scorpions. Thanks but no thanks!!

Jess

That snakeskin is a good thing. It means you'll have less mice. :-)

MommiePie

That makes me actually happy to say live in California. Yes, we have mosquitos, and wood beetles but not those Super Bugs of Suburbia you describe! Guess I'll settle for a dumb-ass government over creepy, nasty, baby-eating bugs. Ewwwww!

Alyssa

*nods and vows never to move to the suburbs*

Chris

Things I have learned, as a 4th generation Floridian:

1. Bugs are part of the deal down here. "Pest Control" is an endless process. They're never really gone.
2. I'll take any bug over a rat/mouse any day of the freakin' week.
3. Keep all food in plastic containers or fridge, run all food waste down garbage disposal.
4. Spray Ortho Home Defense outside the house, to create a barrier so you don't have to kill them inside the house.
5. Come in and out of exterior doors quickly, no lolly-gagging with the door wide open. That's like invite demons into this realm.
6. Find a way to laugh at it all. Very few of these things will kill you. Mostly.

Amalah, I have no kids and never will, but I read your mommy blog because you crack my shit up on a daily basis. Thank you!

MKH

"Even though these insects do not harm humans and do not reproduce inside structures such as houses, they cause concern when they become active and conspicuous in fall and spring. If many of them are squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, their smell can be quite apparent."
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug
Good luck!

Monica

You mean you don't follow them around, trying to capture a live specimen to send to Rutgers?
http://njaes.rutgers.edu/stinkbug/
Yeah, me either. That would be weird.

Becky

Down here in South Texas we have scary spiders like black widows and brown recluses. Last week I thought I had a blood clot in my leg. Turns out it was a spider bite, unknown type. I was actually happy about the spider bite diagnosis, not so happy that spiders are apparently lurking around waiting to bite us in our sleep.:( And I guess the exterminator sometimes riles spiders up when they destroy the fire ant hills...

Lisa

I hate bugs..and I live in FL..bugs are EVERYWHERE! But check w/your bugman, we get sprayed quarterly, but anytime I see a bug, I can call them and have them spray at no additional charge! Might be an option..love your blog!

kris

stink bugs - check
camel crickets - check
fruit flies - check

We have quarterly treatments from out pest company. It's actually helped a lot with the inside bugs. No more any problems, very few of the other random gross bugs and we have far fewer camel crickets in the basement. Those things scare the crap out of me. To the point that I refused to go into the basement. We don't get to many of the stink bugs in the house..but I don't leave our windows open (to many allergies) so they just linger between the screen and window when do get in there. We had gobs on our new sunporch and my husband had to take out all the windows before putting in the screens to get rid of them all. They wig him out too.

Della

I'm doing that kind of whole body shudder where you have to do a couple kegels ahead of time.

Typing EWWWWWWWWWWW just doesn't express it.

Erin

I totally hear ya, sister. I'm in the DC area too and stinkbugs amok AND horrifying creepy huge ass spiders in the sandbox. I'm done with the outdoors. D-O-N-E. It's the sunroom for sun and car (read McD's drive-thru for latte) for air.

Jen K

Stink bug aren't bad here (coastal NC), but OMG the ants,and crickets, and GIANT fruit flies, and mosquitoes that could carry a Boston Terrier away. WTF nature? I turned out the light the other night and laid down. A cricket jumped on my face and HUNG ON! Total panic, much screaming and jumping about. My daughters think this story is x-terical. Just wait till it happens to one of them! On the plus side, the Boston really enjoys hunting crickets and black beetles.

Vegas710

I'm pretty sure someone cursed you. Somewhat related, I had an encounter with hundreds of maggots in my outside trash can yesterday.

another Amy

This morning I found 2 tiny little white larvae on my counter. Hmm. Odd. Later I was taking out the compost crock to empty it on the heap and when I brought it back inside to clean it out I found dozens of them in the lid. Ew. Upon closer inspection I found their mother--a dead fly, surrounded by her tiny maggotty progeny. I'm a science teacher and I live in the country and that grossed even ME out. Ick.

Loren

Something is very, very wrong when even your own hair isn't safe.

I live in Georgia, where we have "palmetto bugs" which are really just gigantic, flying roaches with no purpose other than destroying my sanity. Thanks for the shop vac idea...I usually just run after them, armed with a can of Raid Max screaming "You bastard!! I did not invite you into my home!!!"

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