Disregard the unpronounceable names above---in ordinary conversation, these are familiar pests: the common cockroach and the various types of ants that share our space. Although scientific studies have disclosed many interesting facts about these apparently indestructible bugs, the thing most people are interested in is how to rid their homes of their presence.
The tiny sugar ant is known by several common names and is also know as a grease ant because of it’s attraction to a spot of grease or anything containing grease or oil. The tiniest speck of meat on a counter top will soon be covered with ants.
Not content with whatever crumbs the kitchen may offer; these tiny, almost invisible creatures circulate throughout the house. They crawl around a splash of water in the bathroom; they can be found crawling upon clothing hanging in the closet, or even on the bedding. They insist upon sharing the sofa: they invade the computer, the oven controls and even hunt a way to get into the refrigerator. Once I unwrapped a fresh roll of paper towels and quickly tossed it aside. It’s roller was filled with a thriving nest of ants.
My mother began keeping her hose in a sealed glass jar in order to keep these tiny pests from eating holes in her silk or nylon stockings resulting in an unwelcome “runner.” She also placed the feet of the old iron bed in a dish of water allowing a night’s rest without the occasional sting of a prowling ant.
Boric acid mixtures are reportedly successful in riding the premises of these pests. I have bought a box but don’t remember where I put it. Pest control folks can give several months relief but they usually make no promises for long-lasting control. I have read that the main nest/den must be destroyed if any lasting respite is to be achieved. As this nest is generally secluded in a wall or attic the main source of ants remains safe and the householder has to be satisfied with short term solutions.
I dislike chemical sprays but when I have reached a certain point of intolerance for ants on my cabinet, I sometimes spray around the perimeter to get relief. The floor around the sofa will soon get the same treatment.
Although the stings of these little grease ants are annoying, they don’t begin to compare to those of the fire ants. These imported pests appear to be here to stay. A bed can be treated with various controlling measures and may appear successful but the ants will reappear, either from a neighbor’s yard or an overlooked anthill.
One year we tried an unusual procedure. Our son had a new recipe for Mustang Grape wine. He had placed his jars far back in the cabinet and they were forgotten. Finally remembering his project, he set the jars out and carefully opened one. One whiff was enough to tell the story but we did venture a tiny taste. That stuff would blow the top of your head away! Now what? We looked at each other and had the same thought---a fire ant bed! He poured the entire jar into and on the mound and there were no more ants. Ever! They may have stung each other to death in a drunken frenzy or the fumes may have killed them instantly but as a permanent remedy it’s too complicated to consider!
Ants are pests. Cockroaches are repulsive. The study of ants is interesting : that of roaches makes me shudder. Last night as I walked up the hall, I spotted one of those big fellows that we sometimes call a “water bug.” Co-existing with these giant sized varmints of the roach family is not in my plans; picking up this wiggly thing to toss outside was unthinkable so the best plan seemed to be to slip off my shoe and solve the problem with a quick swat.
I never knew about roaches and water bugs until my marriage and subsequent change in climate from N. Texas to that of Corpus Christi. All the kitchens in the large housing complex in which we lived, had small, removable cabinet base units and the residents periodically removed their utensils and took these units outside for a hard, water spraying which we hoped would remove all bug eggs. This was in 1943 and almost our only protection against the common roach taking over our apartments. There were no spray cans of roach killers in those days.
It wasn’t until I spent a night with a friend that I discovered water bugs. Our husbands were navy guys and had the same duty nights so we wives often stayed together while they were on night duty.
After an evening of girl chatter we donned our nighties and went to bed. For some reason the light was turned on again and we discovered that her apartment had been invaded by dozens of scurrying water bugs from the joining apartment whose tenants had just moved out. Disturbed, the bugs were hunting a new home. We felt like doing the same, but there was nowhere to go so we went to battle with a broom and a Flit hand sprayer. We were badly outnumbered and occasionally had to take refuge on chairs and the bed.
This picture sticks in my mind---two squealing, giggling, teenage girls standing on the bed, trying to get enough nerve to sweep out the darn bugs; both of us more than “kinda” pregnant, our little tummies stretching our nighties. We were alone so we had to tend to the bugs. The navy would not have been pleased with an emergency call to our husbands for help; so we sprayed and swept, and finally we slept.
I do not like water bugs!