Tuesday, August 17, 2010

non-food Marathon

Originally posted over at Seetrail; backdated here and edited for relevance.

Mites. Our mite infestation has pretty much vanished now that the Gladys family is gone. All three young Barn Swallows apparently fledged, and we congratulate the Gladys parents for a job remarkably well done. The nest withstood the season and the kids were well behaved! However, in the last few days, it looked like Mr. and Mrs. Gladys were thinking about one more brood. Their visits back to the nest had us worried about more mites... couldn't they just go to the nest on the side of the house, up under the eaves? We brainstormed about ways to startle Gladys and Gladys - get a helium balloon and float it next to the nest, put a ping-pong ball in the nest, fence it off with mesh... all ideas that required just a bit too much effort for the amount of incentive we had. Finally, in a fit of inspiration, I took some twist-ties from bread bags and produce bags and made a rather pointy looking ball of ~8 legs. Upon a chair I stood, and into the vacant nest this twist-monster was placed. It won't blow out, it is pretty much non-toxic, it won't hurt the birds, it won't chase more mites into the house.... it just keeps Gladys and Gladys from getting cozy again. We love them, but the mites were pretty psychologically troubling.

Spiders! Our beloved jumping friends ('bold jumping spider') have now surfaced in the living room as well as the bedroom. One each in those rooms, and at least three or four different individuals from the bathroom (do they like humidity?) brings us to a total of... many relocation trips outside. We've had teeny ones, the size of my pinky nail, dime-sized ones, at least one nickel-sized one and one gigantic critter whose legs would likely shadow a quarter. Pretty, alluring, constantly alert, these critters have become friends so long as they're not in the bedroom. Admittedly, the bedroom critter was escorted outside with a little less ceremony than the others.

Nocturnal roommates. Perhaps it's because nothing in this house is sealed - you can see daylight underneath and through the middle of the back door - but generally twice a night we have to relocate, squish, or otherwise lure out uninvited 'bed friends.' It's disconcerting enough with moths, but we've had beetles, wasps, some funky long-necked winged ant creatures, you name it. Alas, a bug net would not be compatible with the ceiling fan. Lately we've been getting less sleep than we'd like due to these nocturnal buzz-thump-buzz-thump ::crawl:: activities. Our evening reading is therefore in the living room, or with a much brighter hall light on (which stays on when we turn off the lamp in the bedroom, then we have to scurry out to turn off the hall light and quickly retreat lest the moths follow us back - it's an odd routine). The gigantic katydid was the last straw - we've down put duct tape over the window gaps, back door edges, etc.

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