Bzzzz July 16th, 2008

Every day is an adventure when you live in the country.

Just yesterday morning I was gazing out my bathroom window and saw–in a single glance, mind you—two deer (mommy and baby), a brown bunny, a bunch of crows, bluebirds perched on the purple martin gourds, a red-tailed hawk (circling) and, well, bugs. Stink bugs on my upstairs bathroom window, to be precise.

Since we moved out here to the boonies about eight years ago, I have noticed that bugs come in waves. The first year—just a couple of months after we moved into our newly built home–those nasty, hybrid Korean ladybugs arrived. They aren’t really ladybugs. And they stink to high heavens. They collected INSIDE MY NEW HOUSE in the corners of the windows, oh, about 20 feet from the floor. They formed clumps—several clumps—about the size of a softball. Did I mention that this was INSIDE MY NEW HOUSE? I had to send my husband up a very tall ladder carrying the vacuum cleaner to evict them.

The following year we had thousands, nay, MILLIONS of tiny, shiny black bugs that invaded every space and landed on the ceiling. They came in through the screens. They walked through walls! I could only fight them with the vacuum cleaner. (Again with the vacuum.) Every time the little dogs went out, the bugs would come in and I would have to vacuum the ceiling. Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…

The year after that was the fruit fly plague. Again, the vacuum cleaner was my weapon of choice. I could not sit on the couch and read the newspaper without the vacuum cleaner beside me to occasionally suck the swarm that formed around my head.

And tonight, oh tonight! After a hideously long and frustrating day, I have a BRAND NEW SWARM. I took the little dogs out and the zelkovas in the back yard are COVERED with a new and unheard-of-in-these-parts (at least to me) swarm. Here’s what they look like:



Here’s what they look like having, uh, making whoopie:



I know my friend Carol tells me to “embrace bugs.” But frankly, she doesn’t live here in the country. She lives in a nice, tame neighborhood, with a neighborhood association with rules against plagues, in that nice, sedate state of Indiana. Here in the wilds of Southern Maryland we don’t just have bugs, we have plagues. Lemme see Carol write a post entitled “Embrace Plagues!”

By the way, folks, what the heck is this current plague I need to embrace?


Posted In: Nature and Wildlife



Bzzzz November 1st, 2007

I don’t generally air my vermin and pest control problems in public, but in this case, I will consider it a public service.

We have been besieged this fall by fruit flies. They are EVERYWHERE. They particularly come out in the evenings, for some reason.

When I was a kid in the South, we called them gnats. Now that I’m all sophisticated, I call them fruit flies just like all my sophisticated friends.

It’s not the first time this particular plague has visited. But some years just seem to be worse than others. I recall one year—before I figured out all the ways to avoid and trap fruit flies—I resorted to sitting on the couch to read armed with the vacuum cleaner, which I had to turn on from time to time to suck up the fruit flies that had congregated near me. It was really ridiculous.

Since then, I have tried water-starving my plants (which they do not like). I have also tried the paper cone trap, the wine trap, the potato in the plants trap and, as mentioned, the high-tech vacuum cleaner trap. If you are similarly besieged and favor home-grown solutions, here’s a handy roundup of gnat, errr, fruit fly traps you can make yourself:

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Frankly, the best option I have found is not a home-grown trap at all. Although they are marginally effective, the BEST traps are from Gardener’s Supply. They are natural fruit fly traps. You can also buy these lovely, decorator soapstone trap holders that I am sure you will want to keep on view year-round, even after fruit fly season.


Even as I write, I have a glass of wine at my desk. Also on my desk is one of these traps in a lovely soapstone holder. Instead of going for my wine, they are flocking to the trap. Sweet!

So where have I been?

I have been absolutely immersed in home repairs. Now that I can take some time from work to look around the house, I see how much has been neglected. Walter, my handy home repair guy has been here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for two weeks straight fixing, painting and sprucing things up. You would think I lived in a hovel of desperate proportions with all he has had to do. And when I’m not spotting him on a high ladder, answering questions, peering at paint colors, fetching supplies or doing my own home improvement projects, I have, in fact, been working at my real job.

The guys are going for a college visit to Harry’s alma mater, The Citadel, this weekend, so for me this weekend is garden cleanup time. I might finally get those bulbs in the ground too.


Posted In: Nature and Wildlife

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