Bugs or How I Learned to Not Be Afraid of Spiders


I imagine the face of death for bugs is a jack-o-lantern with angry eyes.

My windowsill on Halloween is a graveyard. I will vacuum them up tomorrow morning. By tomorrow night, back again.

At least they’re dead this year. Last year, before I grudgingly sprayed the window with insecticide, they would buzz around, hang out and do their ladybug thing around my lamps, on my couch, or just lie there on the floor.

Last spring, after a winter of one or two ladybugs a night on the lampshade, we had seven, eight, nine, sometimes ten. I swept them; I vacuumed them; I flushed them; I put them outside.

One Saturday I looked up and said where the hell are they coming from? as if tempting God in the blue sky above to reach with a big pointer finger on a disembodied hand to show me. He didn’t need to do that because when I looked up I saw.

Remember this scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?


My beetle friend; I don’t know your name, but I try not to crush after you wake up from hiding in the cracks of my house.

Just above my great room window, I had the Temple of Doom Bug Tunnel, except with ladybugs. Sure I had some beetles in there and maybe some cluster flies–cluster flies look like house flies except they’re dumb, slow, and slightly less annoying than a regular house fly–but mostly ladybugs.

I got the ladder and the dirt devil and went up. It sounded like popcorn kernels rattling in the hose. Cleaning the vacuum was worse;I gagged while cleaning it. I had to hose it down to get them unstuck. I cringe thinking about it.

With the ladder up in the house and accessing the window, i put down enough insecticide to keep them crawling over their own corpses for the rest of the year.

When it got warm enough I resealed all the windows and doors.

My windowsill on Halloween half a year later is still a graveyard.

So far in the house I’ve had the usual invaders:

  • moths
  • little ants
  • mosquitoes
  • house flies
  • big ants

Plus the ones I didn’t expect:

  • spiders
  • beetles
  • ladybugs
  • a more scary different kind of spider
  • cluster flies
  • silverfish (ugh!)

The ants were the easiest to control inside once I knew what to do. I found that if I went outside and sprayed their ant highway to the door or window they used to get in, the problem went away. In a log home, ants pose another problem.


You can see the white larva drip out the hole after I squeeze a borate wood preserve into the hole.

Scavenging inside for food is a nuisance; eating my walls one tiny nibble at a time is a disaster.  On the positive: ants usually don’t eat wood, only move it out of the way for their cool little ant tunnels. On the negative: I had some pretty rotten wood that I had to deal with before my house toppled over on itself. I bought a liquid wood epoxy, a wood clay compound and a wood borate/glycol preserve and got to work, fixing, sealing and preserving as best I could.

My ant problem is down, but I doubt I got them all. There is literally trillions of them. I worry about the ants; wood-boring beetles and termites. Sometimes I just listen to the walls hoping not to hear anything. I don’t hear anything, but I worry I should, but can’t because of loud music. Then I stop the crazy for a little while and chase after a cluster fly or a ladybug or toss one of those beetles out the door so they can begin their journey to crawl back onto the inside of my windowsill anew.


Caterpie I choose you! Use Shield Dust Caterpie!

Outside, the garden amazes me every time I stop and take a breath. This year I saw grasshoppers three or four inches long: big fat things happily munching on the greens I didn’t have the time to tend. I should have taken a picture of one of them. Next year.

The colors and variety in this garden are a sight to see. Beside my friend, the green caterpillar, I have the bright yellow spider; I have little red aphids (to keep all my ladybugs well fed), butterflies, moths, millipedes, bees, crickets (so many crickets this year) and cicadas. And of course mosquitoes.


After a visit, check your clothes.

I found a shamrock spider last fall and my son digs up tomato bugs–I haven’t the heart to tell him he wants to say potato–every chance he gets. I hate the mosquitoes. The shamrock spider had an abdomen the size of a golf ball. The ants are slowly eating my house. And the yellow spider in that yellow flower? Those yellow flowers lean in from the garden onto the footpath to my front door. Any time anyone comes to my door, there’s a chance a bright yellow spider is now nesting on them somewhere.

You don’t get those kind of experiences in the city.







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5 thoughts on “Bugs or How I Learned to Not Be Afraid of Spiders”

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