Friday, February 18, 2011

Bees! You Got Bugs? Course I Are. Everybody Do!

Sometime in the 90s, our farrier left to return to his home in the Midwest.

"Too damned many bugs in Virginia," he told us.

As a former resident of Long Island's South Shore, where we were 100 yards from the Bay and various coastal boggy areas, we were frequently inundated with mosquitoes and, those of us with dogs and cats, sometimes sandfleas.

I didn't think there were too damned many bugs in Virginia.

But now I may be changing my mind. A few years ago, cool September days brought us the thousands. And they came into the house and camped out in corners of our ceilings. My vacuum would suck up little dead orange bodies by the dozens.  I felt so awful about them dying in such numbers that I trapped as many as I could and put them in a jar in the refrigerator.

It worked. They survived the big chill in a dormant state and I released maybe 50 of them in the spring. Talk about bailing out a boat with a teaspoon.

Ladybug invasions became so frequent in the next few years that I stopped my Florence Nightingale efforts and let the little buggers fend for themselves.

This year I have new bugs. They're called box elder beetles. They are hanging out in my downstairs south-facing bathroom window. After several weeks of finding them in my bathtub and sink and drowning in the toilet, I realized they were looking for water. I put a mug full of water on the sill and they flocked to it by the dozens. In the evening, they'd crawled back into the crevices of the window where they have taken up residence, but the cup was down by 1/4 inch and there was frass all over it.

After a week, they even seem to have increased their numbers. Success! However one determines what success is.

I know I sound like a kook, but it's a big house. There's room for all of us.

Besides, I am sure they will move out in the spring.

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