The War Against Bugs
The War Against Bugs
By Rachel Mendell
I know I’ll have to wage war again, but for now I have a small victory.
The war against bugs in my house is ongoing: Spiders, ants, flies, Asian Beetles, yellow jackets, mosquitoes. But the most recent battle took an entire week to win.
It started innocently enough with a few fruit flies hanging around the bananas. Then I found them in the trash basket and I assumed taking out the trash would take care of the problem. It usually does. A little cleaning and bleaching of table and floor usually does it.
Not this time.
The next day, I threw away a can and a great cloud of fruit flies (drosophila*) arose and surrounded me. I sprayed them with Glade, which, I found, doesn’t kill them, but it does make them smell better.
That’s it, I said. This is war.
I drove to the store and bought fogger. You know, that stuff that you use before a party that kills everything within 100 yards of your bonfire, including cats and other small animals – The Fogg of Despair.
Back at the house I erected the Pink Sheet of Death over the mudroom entrance and placed the Trash Cans of Doom behind to keep the smell of the fogger out of the kitchen. Of course, that didn’t work, but I felt better.
Next, I sanitized the Sink of Hope and Cleanliness and washed the Table of Plenty until I had the enemy on the run.
Needing to return to my other battle (work), I left a note to my family: “Continue the Battle My Children. Keep Dishes Cleaned. Use only the back trash can for food (The Trash Can of Doom). Kill bugs where you find them. Be Strong. Love, Mom.”
Then I posted a sign on the front door for those who had not yet returned home: “Beware! Bug Battle Within.”
“How did they get inside the bread bag?” The children asked. Even after re-wrapping the bread, they still appeared as if they could materialize through solid objects. But life must go on, even during war.
The children made parfaits while waving the Arms of Peace above the Sweetness of Joyful Happiness. When they found the Great Cloud of Evil rising from the Trash Can of Doom, they changed and disposed of the Black Bag of Darkness and continued the battle.
All food was double wrapped and placed inside cabinets and refrigerators. We had bribed the enemy with the solution of apple cider laced with Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, which drowned many, but still they multiplied.
We continued the battle, our strength renewed when we found the enemy floating belly up in our coffee. Driven from their kitchen feeding ground they moved in clouds to the bathroom, the hallway, the bedroom; each time being attacked by the Family in Frustration.
And now the battle has subsided. The enemy has taken to gorilla warfare and we see them, one or two, on a houseplant, in a drink, on the television, by the computer. We are no longer killing in droves, but one at a time.
I think we won, but I can’t be sure. I was told as a child that all you need is one fruit fly to make a dozen. I know I learned something else in biology class, but childhood knowledge trumps higher education in the heat of battle.
I have taken down my signs, but I know I will need them again. The apple trees are producing well this year. That means making lots of applesauce – in the house – on a hot day. And you know what that means.
*drosophila |drəˈsäfələ| noun
A small fruit fly, used extensively in genetic research because of its large chromosomes, numerous varieties, and rapid rate of reproduction. • Genus Drosophila, family Drosophilidae: In particular D. melanogaster.
ORIGIN modern Latin, from Greek drosos ‘dew, moisture’ + philos ‘loving.’