Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Insect Wars

I hate insects. 

If that makes me a bigot, or speciest, or mammalist, then so be it. But I swear by all things furry that those exoskeleton miniature monsters give me the hibby-jibbies. 

I hate their size. I hate their immense population of astronomical numbers. I hate the way they move in that insectiod way of theirs. I make a fist at the sight of bees. I scream at the sight of spiders (only the real ugly big ones though). I swat skeeters. I kill flies mercilessly. I am a soldier in the good fight. 

A metaphor that has crept up in a lot of my writing (and even more so in a stack of unfinished experimental novels I wrote in the early half of this decade) is this idea that insects are spies in a war against humanity communicating with their masters through those clicking antenna. This idea comes from various sources. Burroughs toyed with it. But my primary fear of the buggards didn't really develop until I moved to New York and had to deal with palm-sized waterbugs (giant, giant roaches for those who are unfamilar...if you've ever played Fallout 3 and beat Radroaches to death with a baseball bat, you have some idea what I'm talking about.) Everything changed one day, in the sub-basement of a building on Broadway, I encountered one of these brutes unlike the rest. It had a diamond shaped pattern on its back and was not intimidated by me. I didn't dare kill it, for I knew it was the leader.

Since that day, the insects are onto me. I have a deal with the roaches, but the roaches have enemies. I fought an epic war with the carpenter ants this past summer. No truce could be reached and I had to call the professionals with the chemical weapons. The front is quiet for not. 

But my war is a two front war. One of the odd things about where I live is that on any warm day in the fall, the sky fills with so many ladybugs, one might think it were raining. Now, I know you're all thinking, Ladybugs! I love ladybugs! They're so cute. And yes, they are probably the only insect that can crawl on me and I don't totally freak out. But when there's thousands of them, the cuteness wears off and they become a know, kind of like children. 

Apparently, they swarm on warm fall days looking for a place to spend the winter. That place tends to be somebody's house. My house. They creep and crawl over the outside searching for any tiny crack. You can't stop them from getting in. You can't defend from the outside either, because they're everywhere and will land all over you like little parachuters. The only defense is from the inside. 

My war plan is simple. Wait until nightfall. Turn on one light in the loft so that it shines on the ceiling. Then make multiple trips to collect those that fall for the trap. The other day, I spent all evening removing them and tossing them outside (yes, even I try my best not to kill ladybugs, but sometimes, there are accidents). I must have released three hundred back into the wild in this method.

The trick is to get them out as they arrive, or you'll be dealing with them all winter long. It's frustrating, but after the ant disaster, I'm less annoyed. I hope to reach a peace accord with the ladybugs at some point. If I can get them on my side, the larger war might turn in my favor. 


  1. I think it's great that you won't kill ladybugs, not because I think they're so great--I had one on my face the other day and I almost killed him for that. Then I thought it might be a little tyrannical of me. Being bigger and all.

    (I'm sorry to fill your comments up with this inquiry but you've left a wonderful comment on my blog, after a review I've written of The Heights, and I wonder if I could request an e-mail interview with you. I was just going to contact you via a publishing rep, but why not go direct? Also, thanks so much for your visit. My e-mail is

  2. we are watching you...