Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Infestation: Part I

On a normal workday, the first voices that I hear in the morning (other than the ones in my head) are the morning radio hosts on my favorite station, The Current. One of the things I enjoy about my favorite station is that there are no advertisements and the announcers do not talk for long periods of time about nonsense.
Although they tend to feature more music than other stations, they do have brief news-oriented segments that are usually quite interesting. Today, they discussed the increase in the infestation of bedbugs in the United States. I had heard this all before; in fact, it has been several years since I heard that they were having a local resurgence, especially in hotels.
While I’m fairly certain that my own bed is pest-free, it did cause me to ponder the other types of infestation I have encountered in my six years as a homeowner. I could try and cram all the details into one long entry, but since I do now have some school related reading to complete in my evenings, I figured I would make it a little bit easier on myself and break it out into a trilogy.
To ease you into this theme (which some people might find a little frightening), I will start with what I consider to be the most innocuous pest infestation: ants.
As a general fact, ants in a house do not really scare me. In fact, I believe that most people at some point or another will have to deal with their presence. As a child, I remember my mother putting out little pieces of cardboard with Terro on it around our house during the summer. When I asked why they didn’t die immediately upon eating the poison, she told me that they have to live long enough to bring it back to their colony so that they can kill off the rest of the ants at their base.
When you really think about it, the idea is a little bit sad. I mean, the ant thinks that it has hit the jackpot in the super awesome tasting Terro and simply wants to take it home to share and eat with its family. Too bad it doesn’t work out better for them.
This childhood ant-pity stayed with me for quite a while. At least until I found my first ant in my own home. After completely pulling apart all my living room furniture and vacuuming over every square inch of my first floor, I laid out the new version of the Terro trap. Instead of the old-fashioned cardboard with poison deal, they now make enclosed plastic containers that are theoretically less messy.
Even though I have no doubt of the poison’s effectiveness, I like to take a little extra precaution. If anyone knows me well, they know that I am not a fan of spiders. It’s not that I hate them, because I really don’t think it’s sane to get emotional towards something that is definitely not emotional towards me. Instead, I live by my own “personal space” philosophy.
For me, “personal space” with respect to spiders comes down to indoors versus outdoors. If the spider is indoors and is in my personal living space, I will not feel guilty about squishing it. If it is outdoors, unless it is attempting to actually crawl ON me, I will live and let live.
However, when it comes to addressing the ant or other small bug infestation issue, especially in my entryway, I am a bit more lenient. In fact, if you were to look around the vicinity of my front door at this moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to find two or three well-hidden spiders. I am more than content to let them live. I consider them my henchmen, or the “muscle” of my war on pests.
If at any point the spiders themselves become an infestation, I may have to use my vacuum cleaner to thin the herd. As I have learned from working in an office that has spider overpopulation, it can quickly escalate into a scary and dangerous situation.
Hopefully I have not scared anyone too much with this entry. I know that creepy crawly things can be major hot-button issues for many people. To give you some incentive to return for my next two infestation installments, I should tell you that both entries contain far more specific and humorous components. As a teaser, let me just say that the next one involves the use of big-gun pesticides, not just wimpy Terro.
On a side note, I apologize for slacking. I may not be able to sustain my original tempo once school starts next week and I have to start reading and writing for grades. I promise that I will not ignore this entirely and hope to find ways to keep my friend Rox laughing out loud at work for a long time. J

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