Tag Archives: wasps

Don’t Bug Me!

Mastotermes darwiniensis or Darwin Termite, is...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you a homeowner, reside in an apartment or rent a single-family dwelling of some sort? If so, then you know all too well of the niceties that come with living in today’s usual fashion.

Oh there are always maintenance issues such as washing windows, cutting the grass, weeding the flower bed and or vegetable garden, along with general landscaping duties. Then we come to larger concerns, painting the house, repairing rotten wood and replacing worn-out shingles.

However, I do believe the worst household chore, nay necessity would have to be pest and vermin control. Now here is another important question. Do you call an exterminator? Or are you the more adventuresome type, i.e. cheap. If you’re like me, I’ll call an exterminator for one thing and one thing only.… Termites. (Since we will not discuss professional pest extermination, termites will not be mentioned again except to say, “no termites were harmed in this post.”)

I find that ants are one of the most difficult species to eradicate. I’ve sprayed, used a clear gel that they eat and take back to the colony, I supposed to feed their young because they keep coming. The most effective methods I have used to date, are the thumb smash, or sun through the looking glass.

Next, one of the easiest pests to eradicate are the numerous paper wasps that feel the need to build their ingenious little homes underneath the overhangs and porch ceiling of my home. All it requires is a can of hornet and wasp spray. A short blast to the unsuspecting insect and except for the death dance once they hit the ground, they’re pretty much done for on the way down. I call it the spritz and twitch.

I don’t mind snakes, but don’t particularly want them in the house. They are easily enough, picked up and tossed outside. I don’t have a problem with spiders and insects as long as they frolic in the great outdoors, however once they enter my abode they are fair game, by spray, boot, rolled up newspaper,  flyswatter or small arms fire.

I’ve never had to share a living space with cockroaches so I know nothing of how to eliminate these critters other than, place roach under shoe and press down firmly. From what I understand roaches are rather stupid anyway. They can live for a week or more with their head cut off, and that’s only because of starvation or lack of fluid intake. I guess that means, with or without a head they’re pretty much brain dead. Hey, that just happens to describe most politicians. Sorry if I’m sounding inordinately repetitive, but if the hat fits the empty head, and besides they make it so easy.

 When it comes to rodents I don’t care for poison as I want to see that the nasty little fuzz ball has bitten the dust. I opt more for the tried-and-true spring-loaded trap. There’s just something about those beady eye balls, popped out of their sockets when that metal bar lands across its neck that tells me, that particular disease factory won’t have another chance to gnaw or crap on my food.

As I think about it, this post is telling me to write a fantasy or maybe a horror novel. That’s it! A horror novel. A horror novel about zombies. I can see it now. My protagonist, a well armed mountain of a man. He carries two sawed-off shotguns, 50 Cal. Rifle, a flamethrower and multiple hand grenades, knives, 45’s, 357’s, and a sewing kit to mend rips and tears in his clothes.

Wow! It’s uncanny how similar that novel is to my life as a bug killer. It’s… It’s almost like an autobiography. Gonna be a bestseller for sure!

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Don’t Bother Me, I’m Chasing Honeybees Amongst the Pretty Blue Flowers. Now Bug Off!

European hornet Français : Frelon (Vespa crabro)

European hornet  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things that creep, crawl, scurry and buzz their way into our psyche are a part of daily life we cannot escape. If I were to attempt to discuss the entire insect world, it would take the better part of a lifetime to read this post. Instead, I will stick with a few species that are familiar in my neck of the woods and what I have learned about them through my years on this planet.

Without too much scientific mumbo jumbo, of course.

I will say, however, that it is estimated that there are at least ten quintillion insects currently inhabiting the Earth. And yet we’re the ones screaming about overpopulation with our measly six billion.

We’ll choose from this monolith a few species native to Virginia. Among the stinging insects we have honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, paper wasps, yellow-jackets, hornets, and the Pièce de résistance, the Japanese Hornet.

Have you ever seen someone who was scared of a stinging insect? Get the two within close proximity and you’ll have a form of modern dance on your hands, never before witnessed by human eyes. Other than that, these various bees, wasps and hornets fly around, gathering nectar, killing other insects and making babies.

We will now slip into the depths reserved only for the dreaded Japanese Hornet. This beast has been known to kill at least forty people a year…In Japan. What we have in this country is the European Hornet, which is often mistaken for its violent Asian counterpart. And despite popular myths, the hornets that reside in the mid-Atlantic region are less aggressive and no more poisonous than smaller stinging insects. In fact, they will defend their nest vigorously only when provoked and have been known to retreat from human aggressors.

Onto the wonderful world of creepy-crawlies. Namely, the American Cockroach. Why the American Cockroach, you ask? Because among the four most common species (the German, the Asian, the Oriental and American) the American is the largest and lives the longest. Like the Oriental, it can also fly. And on top of all these reasons, this cockroach is an American cockroach. And as you may know, Virginia is in America.

Another tid-bit you may not know about our friend the cockroach: When decapitated, cockroaches can still survive for several weeks. If given nutrients and put in the refrigerator, the head can live even longer. This tells me one very important piece of information about this hearty insect: It’s stupid.

Have you ever seen someone who is scared of creepy-crawlies? They too, when in close proximity to one of these six-legged creatures, can create an interpretive dance that rivals even the best Russian ballerinas.

And last but not least, the piss-ant.

Well, there ain’t so such thing. The term can apply to any wood ant. The formic acid they excrete produces a urine-like odor, hence the name “piss-ant.”

Well there you have it. Our excursion through the Virginian insect world. …Hey! That gives me an idea for my next novel: A radioactive praying mantis mates with a twelve-legged bumble bee and produces an Americanized Japanese Hornet. I can see it now. Bestseller here I come!

Postscript: I bet you’re thinking “spiders would have been a good thing to include in this post.” But since they are actually arachnids, they just wouldn’t fit. And man oh man, talk about interpretive dance…

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