Sunday 8 June 2014

#73 Life finds a way

It started with a few small bugs appearing in the downstairs bathtub, each one about 2mm long. I wasn't quite sure what they were or where they came from. They appeared to be some variety of beetle. Fascinating. I washed them down the drain, brushed my teeth and went to bed. That was the first day.

"Rich" I called, "they're back". My housemate wandered in to have a look. There were about two dozen of the little black things crawling around the tub. I realised that they had wings but they never actually seemed to fly, unless they saved this special talent for when nobody was looking. We started to wonder where they hatched and whether they could survive in water. Rich boiled the kettle and gave the latest arrivals a temperature shock, which cleared the second wave.

It wasn't long before the weekend arrived. I usually cleaned one of the rooms of the house each week and decided to check out the downstairs bathroom. This time they weren't just in the bath but crawling over the floor and up the walls. There must have been about fifty in total, scattered around the room. "Not bad" I thought, admiring the species' resilience and explorational tendencies. Grabbing the vacuum cleaner, I whizzed around the room, clearing every critter in sight. Two hours later, they were back.

During the week, I was up in my room and heard a couple of guys muttering to each other downstairs. Pulling a four iron out of my golf bag, I crept up to my bedroom door and listened to their conversation. It turned out that they'd been sent by the estate agent to check out some damp patches in the house, as well as the bugs. Shoving back the club, I headed down to talk to them. They had a couple of ideas about resolving the bug situation but would have to speak to the estate agent. Meanwhile, Naomi had ordered some bug traps but they hadn't arrived yet.

By the time the weekend came, the kitchen was covered with ants. Maybe they'd been feeding on the beetle larvae. The tiny insects had spread themselves out fearlessly across the floor, while the larger flying ants swooped, dived and crash-landed about the scene. I'd often seen ants form a trail towards food but these guys were just scattering themselves from one side of the room to the other. They didn't seem to be after anything in particular.

After vacuuming up most of the insects from the kitchen and emptying the contents the furthest down the road that I had yet emptied them, I kettled the bathtub one more time. Then, I sprinkled a solid line of baby powder right the way around the outside of the kitchen, creating a perimeter inside which the bugs hopefully wouldn't crawl. Even Keira realised what was going on and gingerly stepped her paws over the powder rather than messing it up. Later that evening, I checked the kitchen. The baby powder method appeared to have created a bug free zone, at least for the time being. With satisfaction, I put away the kettle, vacuum cleaner and baby powder and headed to bed, hoping that the traps would arrive the next morning.

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