And you thought you had a pest problem.

Bra084So I’ve read about other people’s bats ,
rats and gnats. But last night, I had a
surprise visitor of a totally different caliber. I was looking down at the carpet thinking, when I suddenly realized that I was
watching something move. As my eyes came
more into focus, I was shocked to recognize that what I was looking at was a
real, live scorpion scuttling
across my carpet. And granted, it was
tiny – maybe an inch long. But the
surprise of it was enough for a full-blown overreaction.

Scorpion!”  I
yelled as I grabbed Kajsa and huddled in the corner with Maya. Chris, in his usual bemused manner strode
over to this, this creepy, primordial, exoskeletal CREATURE and proceeded to
try to grab it by the stinger. (At this
point I’m thinking that one of us has lost his mind and that I can’t believe
that I actually bred with this testosterone befuddled being.)

But he just chuckled and said, "I had to
try it." Wouldn’t you know, that
darn thing didn’t sting him. So then he
grabbed an empty baby bowl, and proceeded to lure the insect into said Cheerio
scented bowl. He succeeded after a
couple of excruciatingly long minutes. The whole time, I was hearing strains of Ravel’s Bolero in my head. Coming back inside a few minutes later, he
was actually grinning. He apparently
thought that this was a fun way to change up the evening.

Since we’ve lived here, I’ve seen more odd creatures
than I ever knew existed. I’ve written
about ring-tail cats,
Gila monsters
& eagles. Those are the cute, amusing anecdotes. What you haven’t been privy to (until now) is
my battle with the swarms. Yes, I said (wrote)

I don’t know what it is like where you live, but I’m
used to a certain order to my insect population. In the summer you get a few months of having
some of every type of bug. You have a
few flies here, a couple of moths there. Occasionally, you even get the pleasure of a ladybug or butterfly. It is tolerable and organized…just the way
I like it. But, here in
Arizona, apparently
the livestock is not the only thing that runs rampant. The insect life in these parts is positively

You see, in July, I seriously thought my husband was
going to end up in a hospital due to stress related issues. The reason being, not Kajsa’s health, Maya’s
morbid teen angst or even our bill related bickering…but house flies. Big black swarms of them. He even made me buy a fly swatter. Chris would stalk around the house; swatter
raised swearing at elusive bugs. (Yep,
same guy who finds playing gladiator with a scorpion to be high
amusement.) He reminded me of my Grandpa
Charlie. He hated flies, too. He used to adopt the same irritated pose
while mumbling about fly feet and poop and such. Funny, the things that take
you back to your childhood, isn’t it?

Then one day we awoke to find the flies gone. No trace of them. No note goodbye – nothing. The weather hadn’t cooled. The precipitation was the same.  In fact I went outside to look – not a cloud
in the sky.

We took a relieved deep breath just in time for the
sun to set. As the sky darkened, so did
our doorstop, as it became the playground for what I can only assume is two
counties worth of moth population. We
have them in every possible shape, size and pattern. And we have hordes.

As you know, we live in the country. Yes, it is called a town, but really it’s
not. What it is, is a few houses and a
couple of restaurants along a highway as it crosses the top of a mountain. So when the sun sets around here, it gets
DARK. We see so many stars at night that
it doesn’t look like there’s a speck of sky that isn’t covered with them. The longer you look, the more awesome it
becomes. It is a wonderful sight to
behold…until we turn on the porch light.

Then, we cannot approach our house without being beaten about the head
and face by large, frenetic, fuzzy-winged critters. They get in our hair and hitch a ride inside where they line the walls as
they meet the ceiling – like some trendy designer’s “hip” new ideas from a bad day on a cheesy home improvement show.

When I stand at the sink to wash the dishes, I can
watch the miasma as it creates ever-changing hopeful patterns across the
window. Heaven help me though, if I
chance a look down into the dishwater. There
is always a dead moth floating and bloating through my suds.

As the weather cools, I expect that many of our
creepy-crawly friends will come to the end of their lives, and we will be
facing new unexpected battles (like the rising price of propane). But, there’s a part of me that fears there
will be one last invasive throng before the plagues end. It’s that chunk of my brain that, as I looked
down at that scorpion last night wondered, “What’s next, frogs?”




13 thoughts on “And you thought you had a pest problem.

  1. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but Arizona is the only state that has scorpion antivenom. There are two venomous scorpions with enough venom to kill old folks and small children that live in Arizona. Both are very small, tan, and nearly transparent. The Arizona Bark Scorpion, which goes by a bewildering variety of both common and scientific names, is the bad one. Big brown scorpions are not much to worry about it is the little innocuous looking onew that are the problem. This link has some good information.

  2. And now I’m ready to throw up. Thank you.

    I knew that the little ones were the worse ones. But now, I’m going to be absolutely paranoid about this.


  3. Well, I feel a bit better now. i just went to both sites. At the end of the askabiologist site I took their quiz and aced it. So I trust that I will know how to detect and deal with a sting, should one occur.

    Meanwhile…no fingers and toes where I can’t see them.

    Thank you!

  4. You are very brave. I would basically move out immediately. Yes, I am a vegan who cannot tolerate insects of ANY kind. Not even baby spiders. That’s why I have a husband.

  5. Ooohhh! I remember having an Orkin man come to school for a talk when I was in grade school and he mentioned scorpions getting in shoes. I was afraid to put my shoes on without looking for years and I didn’t live anywhere where I would have found one.

  6. Miriam:
    If I could; I probably would. I’ve been creeped out all day.

    I don’t blame you at all! Fortunately we’re still in flip-flops around here. I am; however, going to be checking between the sheets each night.

    Chris is brave. I think he’d charge a dragon if given half a chance.
    I think the locusts are due in December…or was it March?

  7. ..That’s how it is here in Hawaii…we have a random two weeks full of fruit flies..everywhere…and then they’re gone. Next week we have bazillions of these little black lady buy-like stinky bugs. It’s wierd. We have scorpions here too! (I had no idea!)

    You should get a black light. Scorpion exoskeltons are UV sensitive, so they glow under blacklights. It’s pretty cool, plus it makes it easy to look for ’em!

  8. Because that’s what I want to do in my spare time.

    It’s good to hear from you, Ben. I saw you’d posted over at Dave’s place. You must be making the rounds today. Please say hi to all the ladies for me.

  9. oh good lord! i’m glad all we have to deal with around here is the occasional spider (which i catch and set free outside) and earwigs (which get smashed).
    hope you don’t see anymore scorpions (or anything worse!). ick!

  10. oh, yuck! And Jason wants to move to Arizona! I won’t even kill a tiny spider, he calls me in to do it! Good luck, and I hope you don’t get any more friends for a while!

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