Monday, May 14, 2012

Vermin and Varmints

I started to write this last week, then I started to write it yesterday, and now I must publish it today because every day that goes by adds a new insect or creature to the list of things that have entered my house VERY EXTREMELY UNINVITED. It was a long week. I had just flown in from Chicago on Sunday night when JP immediately left for Austin. I had a terrible, skull splitting headache, so after the kids were asleep I went to draw myself a nice bath. I love our new bathtub. It has clean lines, a deep center, and only cost $140 (I'm still close enough to the project that I like almost everything in relation to how much it cost, maybe in a few months I won't see dollar signs everywhere; also, it only cost $140 because of a sale, a coupon, and the initial delivery of the wrong tub which resulted in many phone calls, a 10-day delay, and a 50% off credit for the post-sale, post-coupon price).

So, my bath. I leaned over to turn on the water from my favorite water spout (that I would adore even if it hadn't been on sale) and I see teeny tiny grey things moving around in my tub. Like 200 teeny tiny grey things. And then I see them jumping. Then I see them on the sides of the walls around the tub and on the floor and in my sink. I promptly freak out and call JP. I am a strong, independent woman and I am not afraid of bugs when they are outside in the wilderness where they belong. But the minute they enter my home I kind of lose it. I feel invaded and I hate them and I want to shiver and shake and brush invisible insects off my body while scouring my skin under hot water. This is why we paid a few hundred dollars to have the entire house sprayed with toxic chemicals the week before we moved in, and why we continue to pay the company to come back and do a sweep with kid/pet-friendly supposedly insect-unfriendly chemicals every month or two. I DO NOT LIKE BUGS IN THE HOUSE. I think we had 10 in our house the whole time we lived in Austin and each time I wanted the bug company to come back and spray. I'm kind of princess and the pea about the whole thing.

Back to Sunday. I call JP and our conversation goes something like this:

Me: there are a million teeny tiny bugs in our bathtub!
JP: oh, don't worry, the bug guy said they're just springtails. They don't hurt anything and they'll die off in a month or so when it gets really hot. They can't do much for them.
JP: Be one with the springtails, seriously, they won't hurt you.
Me: [hanging up to kill springtails with a vengeance]

So I killed them all, cleaned the tub out with clorox spray, and took my bath. The next morning, they were back. The battle raged on all week.

Then, on Saturday, I decided we would clean the whole house from top to bottom, unpack the last few boxes, and hang all the pictures on the walls as my Mother's Day present. JP was at swim practice, but at 7:15 I was up and vacuuming the sunroom in preparation for mopping. I pulled away our shoe basket and there was a SNAKE. A 10-inch long, smallish, but still 100% snakeish SNAKE. I jumped back, because I was barefoot and it was early and I just wanted to vacuum my house, and then I almost landed (barefoot) on a giant black horny beetle. I did not scream at the snake, but I did scream at the beetle and the fact that I should be able to be barefoot in my own goddamn home without risk of death or impalement by snake or beetle. And then I called JP. He was lifting weights. Our conversation went something like this:

JP: Yeah.
Me: Snake!!
JP: What?
Me: Snake and a beetle! A giant pointy beetle!
JP: What?!
JP: Where? Is it alive?
Me: Sunroom, where OUR CHILDREN are eating their breakfast and I am vacuuming barefoot. And I don't know. It hasn't moved. And I think they're upside down.
JP: So... they're dead then.
Me: Irrelevant. Come home.

Claire and Landon both wanted to touch the dead bloated smelly snake, I just wanted to throw up and move back to Austin. JP came home forever later and dealt with it, giving Landon a lesson in snake biology on the way out the door.

Then yesterday I found springtails in the family room and on the floor of our bedroom, so they've moved beyond the bathroom. And they're still in my tub and even though they are so tiny and they don't bite or eat or destroy anything, I hate them and I want them out of my house. So last night when I couldn't sleep I was googling "springtail extermination" until my eyes crossed. A different bug company is coming out tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. and they have promised to kill every living thing that is not human or canine in our house.

And then tonight, while I sat in my bed browsing etsy for living room decor, I saw several long antish looking insects with wings crawling around on our white quilt. I googled them. They are termites. TERMITES. Swarming termites to be exact and I can apparently expect many more to be showing up shortly. Also, I probably have an infestation. I might cry. I'm probably going to cry.

On the upside, I no longer care about the springtails.


  1. Oh no! That's horrible! I would be equally as freaked as you! I remember when I encountered my first of many centipede-milipede-thingy in Chicago. So many legs! I couldn't sleep thinking about them crawling all over the house! I sure hope you can get rid of your unwanted guests.

  2. Gross. I'm okay with A bug. Lots of bugs make me want to bleach my skin.
    Though it could be worse. It could be maggots.

  3. Holy jeebus, girl. I am crying right along with you! I can do spiders, I can do centipedes, and I once lived in a house with a box elder infestation. I hate bugs, but I can deal. But, snakes? Hell to the no! Not a bleeping chance would I still be in that house! One look at that snake and I would have shouted the neighborhood down, followed it with some hefty curses to make a sailor proud, and left to never return. I have a wee little (see:more afraid of than anything else on earth) fear of snakes. If I knew they lived in my house I would loose my shit completely.

  4. We had something similar and while it looked just like termites it was flying ants! Goodluck!

  5. this reminds me of coming home from my 1L fall finals to find a TARANTULA in my Austin apartment. later that same year i found a scorpion inside too. you have my sympathy LL!

  6. Ew, that's awful! I wonder why they are all showing up at once. I hope the exterminator has a solution!

  7. OMG, I am so sorry!! I have a healthy fear of getting termites, especially the swarming ones. I worked in a place that had those, and they wigged me right the @#$(* out. I hope yours are just flying ants, like Anonymous suggests. I really, really hope.

    Also, I had a mini snake in my garage last week, too! I got the broom and swept it out to the backyard, and boy was it getting mad at me! Little bugger reared back and everything, but since he was only 6 inches long and as wide as a linguini noodle, I was surprisingly calm.

  8. Gah!! We found a poisonous centipede on our back porch right after we moved in in Austin. I was ready to move out. We now have an excellent bug guy and I don't care if we are both unemployed, the bug guy will always be in the budget. GAG. I hope the new guy takes care of the problem.

  9. You poor thing! When I was in law school, my roommate and I moved into our new apartment the same week as OCI, and the boys who previously lived there left us...bedbugs. We didn't know what they were at first (assumed fleas), so washed every single item of clothing we owned. The worst part was going to interviews, covered in red splotches. We literally were applying concealer to our legs. I can't even get a mosquito bite now without having flashbacks and panicking. Its the WORST -- hang in there!!!


    I can deal with a bug here and there, but an infestation like that just makes my skin crawl. And termites? We had them in the house we rented with a bunch of other college kids one summer, and JW's room was in the basement where the infestation was the worst and I still remember waking up and TERMITES WERE CRAWLING ON US.

    I guess it could be worse. At least you don't have c---r-----s (I don't want to curse you so I won't spell it out)!

  11. Eek! This is why I live in the NW. Cannot handle insects in volume!

  12. Oh gross. Gross. Gross. Gross-ossities. I could just die. I hate bugs. Hate hate hate hate hate hate. I was squirming in my chair and checking the floor for bugs while reading this post!

    I'm in SC where we have "water bugs" which are 2" long (or bigger) roaches that fly. I had 3 different pest control companies come and finally I tried my granny's trick of using white vinegar. I poured it down every drain in the house (including the dishwasher, washing machine, and toilets). Then to combat every other type of bug that wanted in, I rubbed a paste of borax and hot water into all the baseboards. I repeat the process every 6-12 months. It takes a full day and my knees feel broken but we've been bug-free for 18 months!

  13. We also had a false alarm regarding termites when they turned out to be flying ants. Also, in our part of the states, a termite inspection is part of the buying the house process -- so if that is also the case for you, and the termite inspection didn't turn anything up when you bought the house, even if it is termites, they can't be that well established/problematic yet. They won't have had all that much time to settle in. Keeping my fingers crossed that you did have a termite inspection and/or that they are flying ants!

  14. I literally had nightmares about spiders last night after reading this post right before going to bed.

    This obviously sucks for all the reasons discussed above. We feel like our homes are where we should be free and our domain. It is a very hopeless feeling when you can't control things like this in your own house. Best of luck.

  15. OMG I am mortified by this post and everything you have encountered so far. I am right with you on being totally freaked out by all of this. I hope it all works out!

  16. OMG. That sounds terrifying. I am horrified for you. So you know, I'm deathly afraid of snakes and the mere fact that a snake could enter a home is enough to send me to a hotel - and stay on an upper floor THANKYOUVERYMUCH. I cannot understand JP's nonchalant attitude about bugs - particularly floating in your bath water! Ewwww. We have digger bees at the moment, thankfully confined to the yard. The yard I refused to set foot in until the digger bees die. Happily, that's our only insect infestation and I've never seen a snake anywhere but on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet (inadvertently, while flipping channels). Snakes belong on TV and in the Zoo, at the reptile house (which I would never enter)

  17. yuck

    I'm doing the LL thing and trying to think of a bright side here and I thought of one possibility that is less terrible ... it is possible, at least remotely, that the termites were of the swarming kind that came in from oustide, and your home is not actually infested.