My Life With Bugs*

*The word ‘bug’ as used in this article represents any insect, entity, or creature, living or dead, which annoys me in some way or I feel deserves the title ‘bug’ at any given time.

It occurred to me today that I have a rather complicated relationship with the bugs in my home. It also struck me how many bug relationships I have. This is not something I have ever catalogued before.

First, there are the ants. Now, I’ve always been a fan of ants, them having a reputation as clean, tidy, hard-working beasties. However, I am not a fan of their repeated attempts to suck the molasses out of my muscovado sugar, no matter that I’ve transferred it into a jar that looked air-tight, but fails to be ant-tight. I’m also not a fan of their miraculous appearance in my mug when I pour boiling water into it, or the mess of earth and dirt they spread all over my bathroom due to the heap they’re attempting to build in a hole in the corner. I find it hard to bring myself to kill an ant, so I have attempted less violent measures by leaving out tiny tin-lids of sugar and borax, hoping they’ll take it back to their queen and she’ll…well, she’ll go peacefully in her sleep. They appear to be borax-proof ants. I really don’t like using poison, so for now I pour boiling water through a sieve and spend a few minutes a day picking ants out of the sugar. I try to ignore the bathroom floor until I start leaving muddy footprints.

Then, there are the mosquitos, who wait until we’ve turned out the light and started drifting into that cozy relaxed state between wakefulness and sleep, before they begin their reenactment of the Blitz, turn on their whining sirens and dive-bomb us, turning us into a flurry of self-slapping hands, much like my older brother used to do to me when I was a little girl. I can still hear him saying, “Stop hitting yourself. Why are you hitting yourself?” We finally bought a tennis-racket shaped electric mesh of death and have had much satisfaction smacking the smug bastards out of the air with a thrilling “crack!” It is, however, necessary to repeat this performance most nights as they’re decidedly persistent and seem to have endless reinforcements.

In the garden, there’s the scale bugs with their nasty white fluffy armour and pepper-spray-coloured offspring. I pry them off the stems of my long-suffering mint plant and squish them against the pathway. I am only slightly disturbed by how much pleasure I take in the ‘pop’ they make as they spend their red and green smooshy contents on the cement. Then I spread coffee grounds all over the place to deter the ants that bring them (again, with those ants!). Fortunately, my husband and I are mass producers of coffee grounds, so no loss there.

But the bugs that really give me the heebie jeebies are Worms. My worst encounter was opening a packet of sunflower seeds, only to find them crawling with little white wriggling things which I later realized had been spawned by the pesky moths we’d seen hanging around the kitchen cupboards. If only we’d known, we would have disposed of them immediately. My muffin baking plans were spoiled and I still have nightmares. There! I just had a shiver go down my spine while I was writing this.

Of course, not all bugs are bad, especially if they’re edible. I got a taste for this while living in Thohoyandhou, where dried mopane worms are a common snack that tastes like stick. I prefer them cooked; they taste like a kind of wild spinach then. I also enjoy the flying ants that come out after the rain, flutter around for a bit, lose their wings, then crawl around all over the floor while you hide on the bed. The locals catch them and eat them, and I learned this really is the best way of dealing with them. They’re particularly good fried on an open fire; they go all crunchy and have a lovely smokey taste.

Not all bugs are bad, especially if they're edible. Click To Tweet

So, there you have it: bugs that are good and bugs that are bad. I do wish, though, that we didn’t have to fight an endless battle for supremacy. In the end, it comes down to, “Why can’t we all just get along?” 

 

 



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2 Comments

  1. Melissa

    I hear you on the ants and mosquitos (am sporting some fresh bites from the latter as I type.) But I must correct you on the worms. For truely, THE factually worst bug is the cockroach. They scuttle. SCUTTLE! I mean, what other insect can you hear when it moves on foot?! They are masters of suspense and surprise, disappearing and reappearing at will; and they never die. And sometimes they fly!!! The thought of which brings me my turn to feel a shudder down my spine!!!

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