Ana Veciana-Suarez: Who’s winning the battle of the bugs?

 

aveciana@MiamiHerald.com

The Hubby complains that I’m waging an unwinnable war. Every time I sally forth in armor, he grumbles, “Give it up, already.”

I can’t. I won’t. If I don’t take a stand against the bugs, who else will? What will happen to our way of life? To my plants? To my home?

The bugs claiming territory are many — and as persistent as a grass stain. I no more get rid of a colony in one place than another sprouts as if by magic in a new spot. I feel like Custer at Little Bighorn, outgunned and ambushed. There’s one of me and a trillion billion of them.

But don’t expect a white flag of surrender. I’m armed with soap and water. With broom. With hard-soled shoes. With vinegar, too. And I’m dangerously angry. Watch out, you multi-legged, antennaed fools!

My latest skirmish involves these grayish, teardrop-shaped insects you find attached to the wall by their top point. In my old house, they liked to wiggle around my garage. In my current home, they climb, patiently and with surprising speed, up the outside walls. From afar they look like mud clots.

This drives me batty for no other reason than I want my house to look nice. I live in a neighborhood where people like to walk, some with dogs, some without. So my house may be a mess inside, laundry waiting to be folded and pots needing to be washed, but by golly, as far as outward appearances are concerned, I’m Suzy Homemaker.

To this end, once a month, I cover myself head to toe — to ward off all the weed and tree allergens — and, with the fury of an avenging angel, brush those dang bugs off my house. I swat and scrape and sweep, muttering and cursing all the while. How dare they!

“Happy now?” The Hubby asks when I trudge back inside .

I grunt. In spite of a deep sense of satisfaction, I sense this is but a Pyrrhic victory. I’ll nurse watery eyes and a runny nose the rest of the day. And before I know it, they’ll be back en masse to torment.

Over the summer, I battled black-haired, orange caterpillars that love to munch on the potted desert rose plants I keep on the porch. These are mean, voracious things, nothing like the cute hero in Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. They can strip an entire shrub in no time flat.

But not on my watch. I pluck them, one by one, and drown them in soapy water, feeling not a millimeter of remorse. Take that, you wannabe moth!

Confrontation with creepy creatures is inevitable in Florida. (And probably everywhere else, too, though I wouldn’t know about that.) Roaches, The Hubby claims, are our state bird. Well, if that’s so, we had a virtual rookery when we moved into our house. I won that war, though the occasional insurgent sends me into overdrive. When I get to stomping, I could qualify as a contestant for a Cuban zapateo segment of Dancing with the Stars.

And have I mentioned those itty bitty ants? Though I avoid pesticides, for them I succumbed to store-bought traps. Haven’t seen them in a long while, and good riddance to that. Something tells me, however, they’ll be back. The ants, the roaches, every single pesky bug.

That’s why I never, ever, ever let my guard down.

Follow Ana on Twitter @AnaVeciana.

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