Friday, July 02, 2010

Bug Stories

CLS, over at the Classically Liberal Blog, tells some of his bug stories in yesterday's (Thursday, June 1) post. That got me to thinking if I had any bug stories. I can only think of a couple and one wasn't really about me.

Number one is remembering my brother when he came back from a trip to Europe. He came home with flea bites over what seemed to every square inch of his body. Apparently some place he stayed at was infested with them. Better him than me, I suppose.

But the one bug story that's really about me is kind of yucko:

Back in the late '70s I was living on Beechwood Drive in Cutten. I had a teeny little shed of a house a friend dubbed Fred's Shed. I used to eat a lot of beef back then, specifically chuck steaks and used paper shopping bags for my garbage.

One day the garbage looked full and, for reasons I don't recall now, I'd grabbed the paper bag and dragged it out through the living room to dump it in the garbage can out front. As I go back into the living room, I look down and see a trail of hundreds of maggots on the carpet where I dragged the paper bag across.

I go back out and look at the paper bag. It seemed I'd thrown some meat scraps into the bag. Flies had found them and laid eggs and the maggots and moisture pretty much ate through the bottom of the bag. Now I had hundreds of maggots on my living room carpet. YUCK!

All I had to clean my carpet back then was a manual carpet cleaner. One of those things you push back and forth with the twin roller type brushes that sweep up all the dirt. I brought it out and swept up the maggots. Problem solved, or so I thought.

It isn't but a minute or so later there's more maggots on the carpet and I realize fly eggs must of fallen out of the bag and gone into the carpet where they were hatching as I watched. SUPER YUCKO!

I realized I need something to suck the eggs out of the carpet so drove into town to Shafer's Ace Hardware. It was on F Street back then, between Grotto and Henderson. I bought myself a Hoover(?) canister vacuum cleaner and headed back home to suck up the fly eggs.

It got most of the eggs but one or two maggots would pop up the next couple of hours so I vacuumed over and over again.

That's the story of how and why I bought my first vacuum cleaner. I was to use that vacuum cleaner for some years after that.


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

A mud-dawber wasp taught me how to make peace contracts with animals- including insects. Have made contracts with that original teacher wasp, then our commune made one with the rattlesnakes that infested our Butte County 20 acres, and then later I've made contracts with a paper wasp colony, black widows and an old trailer full of spiders (have a wonderful story about how these spiders deliberately left a hole in their web around one of the trailer's small kitchen windows where the window crank was located so I could get my hand to reach it and not disturb their web. Also raccoons who were terrorizing my neighbor not letter her get to her garbage cans but with me never once bothering my stuff or my kitten or threatening in any way because we had a contract--they got my dinner scraps and never came into the trailer which was open for them through the kitty door and plank leading down to the ground.I never get bit by spiders or stung by wasps or bees. It's been my experience animals will honor their contracts better than human beings. Sound crazy? Not for me after successfully making such contracts. After we changed our attitude on the communal farm, went from fear to willingness to try it, we stopped killing rattlesnakes who were coming right up to the farmhouse and we had no more problems with them coming near the farm house and our little kids running around. The local tribal people here had to live with grizzly bears and they did it. It's all in the attitude towards animals.

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not crazy at all Stephen.
This is how we used to be with nature, before we forgot it.

Sometimes we need toLOOK-AN iPHONE!

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody really should check in on Fred (preferably not Stephen).

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Good God Fred! TMI!

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could do a series of articles like that one, Fred. Your readership would be down to zero in no time.

Next time, put a warning in the title. Like: Don't read this at mealtime!

At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve told me I could make a contract with the ants that have been coming into my house for twenty years. I tried it. Their part of the bargain was to stay off the counters, and my part was to leave them alone if they would stay out of sight.

I am sorry to report those ants repeatedly and flagrantly violated the terms of our contract.

At length, I discovered I could get the peace I needed only by agressively attacking their fortresses in my yard with diatomaceous earth.

Hey! Don't panic! It's organic!

At 5:40 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

I have friends who will confirm that I had made a successful contract with my ants in the lower Redway house I was renting. The ants I discovered had made their ant city home in a biggish planter pot on my kitchen counter by the window with a thriving coleus plant in it. The plant was doing great and I found out why. The ants were in a symbiotic relationship to the coleus and were putting nutrients into the planter soil as well as breaking it down into finer consistency. The coleus which one would think would be harmed by the infestation of ants in its roots was doing great. My bargain with the ants was that they could come out onto the kitchen counter to eat any scraps of food I left when I wasn't around but they had to leave the counter when I was. When I came into the kitchen and found them on the counter, hundreds of them, I would knock on the counter four times and tell them to vamoose. They all went back into their planter home within I'd say a minute or two. Gone off the counter almost every one although sometimes one or two (out of hundreds) were drowned in leftover water spots in the sink. But the ants didn't seem to mind such minor losses and abided by the agreement I had with them for the two years I lived there.

It was a different story here in my Rio Dell apt. The ants here were a very stubborn lot. For the first two years they ignored by attempts to make a peaceful contract with them. They'd come in seriously in the Fall and probably considered me a sucker for being so light on them compared to their receptions with other tenants in this complex. I learned that the soil beneath the apts is rather shallow with bedrock not very far down which in the winter time made that soil saturated with water forcing the ants living there to move to higher ground--i.e., into the apts, which happened every year to most everyone living here including me. I am not an ant killer so for the first two years that I failed to get these Rio Dell ants to respond to my offers to make the deal with them like I had the Redway ants, they just did what ants do in kitchens. But the third year was different. They began to respond to the offered bargain and soon, like the Redway ants, I could hit the counter four times and zoom, hundreds of ants quickly left the counter and out of the kitchen altogether. I haven't had any serious ant problems here for years after those first two while my neighbors complained of their ant infestations. I've been here for about nine years now and the last two years I haven't seen very many ants at all which I think may be the result of over enthusiastic spraying of poison around the apts by the newer apt complex managers. I'm actually sad that my ant friends who finally made the peace agreement with me for years seem to be gone.

I have visions of having a home in which there is a symbiotic relationship going on with several species, each helping to keep the place clean by either eating or using the leftover products of the others. We've only just begun to scratch the surface of such animal/human/plant symbiosis.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's very interesting, Steve. It gives me a better understanding your concept of the symbiosis of man and ant.

What about when a rodent dies outside your house somewhere? As it putrifies, ants swarm it.

Do those same ants come into your house later?

Do they wipe their feet?


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