It’s just halfway into April and I’m already scratching three mosquito bites on my skin. In fact, as I’m writing this with my office door open to enjoy our unseasonably mild winter/spring/summertime combo, I can see those little black bastards emerging from underneath the bricks of my rooftop patio and headed this way as they sniff out my exposed, blood-filled limbs. Damn it!
I despise mosquitoes. And, since our winter low was somewhere around 50 degrees, the Noog’s warm temperatures over the past year have likely enabled their species to thrive in much greater numbers than normal. And normal is usually awful.
Aside from transporting malaria and other deadly diseases, I can’t for the life of me figure out Mother Nature’s purpose for these bloodsucking bastards. My “trusty” Wikipedia page doesn’t really tell me why either, but does offer some other interesting tidbits:
“Mosquitoes are very widespread, occurring in all regions of the world except for Antarctica.” Doesn’t that statement apply to just about every living creature that can’t stand subzero temperatures? I read on.
“In the bloodsucking species, only the females suck blood.” That makes sense. “Not all mosquitoes transmit diseases under the same circumstances. For example, some species attack people in houses, and others prefer to attack people walking in the forest.” What!?! “Attack!?!”
The page goes on: “Some authorities argue that mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous animals on earth.” Wow. I thought mosquitoes were pesky insects, but “dangerous animals?” Lions. Tigers. Mosquitoes?
Forget bloodsucking mosquitoes, flying insects in general are just plain annoying. I recently had an outbreak of fruit flies in my house—likely caused by my not taking out the trash in a timely fashion. Let me tell you, getting rid of fruit flies is one of the most time-consuming and frustrating pest-control tasks one will ever encounter.
Fruit flies must multiply like 10 or twenty 20 a minute. It starts out with the one you notice first. Then, 10 minutes later, they’re everywhere. Taking out the trash the obvious first step. No help. Run the garbage disposal. No help. Wipe down counters with bleach. No help. Vacuum and mop. No help.
All you’ve done at this point is just piss off the little buggers and encourage them to hang around until that next inevitable juicy piece of trash is discarded within their former nest. And believe me, they can wait.
Since I can’t recall a can of Raid ever promoting the demise of fruit flies as a benefit of it’s poisonous formula, it took a little bit of online research to obtain a few pointers on capturing and/or killing the dozens (and counting) that now called my kitchen home.
Most of the home pest-control remedies I discovered included ingredients not normally found in a single man’s pantry. You know, stuff like sugar, vinegar, fresh fruit or even fruit juice. It’s sad, but even the most primitive methods of fruit fly extermination required items I don’t stock, except one: The beer bottle trap.
Drink a bottle of beer down to near backwash, leave it out, and the fruit flies will come on in. Then, when you notice a bottle containing a few, simply recap it and discard. This trick is especially intriguing to me, and since I love beer, very doable. Pretty soon I had at least a 12-pack’s worth of empties on every table in the house (just in case). And, within a couple of days, it worked.
One pest you don’t see much of any more is the common house fly. When I was a kid a staple of any home was a fly swatter hanging on the wall. Even as a youngster I got pretty good at timing the velocity of its deadly smack against a fly’s incredibly fast reflexes.
Nowadays, in our sealed-up, LEED-certified, TVA-Energy-Star-Rated, double-paned, energy-efficient society you just don’t see that many house flies actually in a house any more. I didn’t realize how strangely I felt about that phenomenon until recently.
I was watching TV in the dark with a lady friend when we noticed a very large house fly affixed to the overwhelmingly attractive glow of my 53-inch screen. As it changed positions several times on top of our show I inquired as to whether the pest was bothering her. She said no, and I must admit it actually didn’t bother me, either. I think we both realized its presence added a strange sense of comfort to my living room. Despite its distracting nature and my former prowess with the swatter, this fly was different in that it made us feel a little more at home.
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.