Monday, March 27, 2006

Creepy Crawlies

I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but in California we love to talk about ants. Hey, if you're gonna have ants, you might as well learn to love talking about them, I suppose. When the weather is rainy and ants come into the house, folks will unfailingly remark, "They're coming in to get away from the water." When the weather is warm and sunny, these same folks will knowingly say, "They're coming in to find water." It seems ants are never happy with their lack or abundance of water. Silly ants.

Lately I've been noticing ants in the upstairs bathroom. I'm pretty sure they're after the traces of peanut butter that my son leaves in the cracks around the light switch right before he washes his hands. I'm always trying to wipe that stuff off and teach him to flip the switch with his elbow if his hands are sticky, but it's a never-ending exercise. We just got finished with the fruit fly affair; prior to that it was Mosquito Invasion 2005. When we still lived with my son's dad, the old rental house came with deluxe cockroaches. The kiddo's dad was my hero back then as he filled every hole in the walls and baseboards, thus ensuring a roach-free home for the remainder of our time there.

Now we live near a lake, complete with all sorts of critters, and although I'm not especially fond of the bugs that find their way inside, I'm inordinately grateful that we've never had a bee in the house, because people, let me just tell you, I would totally lose it if that happened. Once when we were walking uphill on the lake trail, a woman hastily making her way downhill kindly informed us that there was a bee swarm up ahead. We turned around and were following her, debating whether or not to announce the swarm to every single person on their way up, when a few bees took a liking (or maybe the opposite??) to my red hat. At first I simply tried to walk faster, but the bees meant business. I tried shooing them away with my hat, and finally had to resort to the running/jumping/hollering dance that some people (hello) do when they encounter bees.

I do not like bees. Of course, now that I've said it, we'll have nothing but bees for the rest of the year. We're always finding dead ones on the deck, so it's probably just a matter of time. *shudder*

When the kiddo was a baby, his dad and I took him to huge park where we could all ride the small train that wound through the grounds, and walk alongside the kiddo as he sat precariously on a pony that traipsed around a ring. While out walking, we took a shortcut through a parking lot and noticed a black cloud over our heads. Bees! I scooped up the kiddo and ran toward the little train station while my son's dad calmly followed. The bees weren't interested in us, as it turned out, but I'd never seen so many bees in one place. Then, not more than a few days later, I was on my parents' patio, enjoying a quiet afternoon with my plants (the kiddo and I lived with my folks for a time), when I heard what sounded like a small plane approaching. I hopped back into the house and shut the glass door in time to see a huge swarm of bees zoom through the yard.

I'm guessing it wasn't the same swarm we'd seen at the park, since the park was many miles away, but then again, what do I know? My knowledge of bees comes from "B" movies about killer bees stinging children to death in the Deep South, and a couple of Discovery Channel documentaries in which dazed townspeople spoke of the day the killer bees showed up and started stinging the babies and dogs and even the fire department wasn't sure what to do.

But I digress. The bug du jour is ants. Little critters that don't really bother anyone and are fairly easy to control. I found a crack in the baseboard where I think they're coming in, and I sprinkled baby powder in it because I read somewhere that ants won't cross that. to resume my peanut butter abatement efforts...