Apparently, where I live now is considered “country”. As a suburban girl my entire life, country living takes some getting used to. For instance, did you know that here in the country, people actually talk to each other? Did you know that their kids play with each other? Outside, even? Did you know that neighbors offer to do things like lend you their lawnmower? And don’t expect anything in return? Did you know that they invite you to their homes and let you inside instead of making you stand on the doorstep?
It’s all true.
The niceness is overwhelming. You know what else is overwhelming? All the damn bugs.
You see, when you move to the country, bugs outnumber people by about 40 million to 1. Not only that, the bugs are everywhere. There are crickets in my garage right now. There are flies in my house. Let’s not even discuss the seemingly insatiable mosquitoes that are bad asses and are apparently resistant to bug spray, citronella candles, and jeans. Even when used in combination with each other. It’s disgusting. And then there’s the spiders. I’m pretty sure they’re bigger than my dogs and I’m pretty sure they’re going to eat me. Or at least wrap my house in a a cocoon of spider web, effectively making me their prisoner.
Also there are snakes. SNAKES.
My husband, who grew up in the country, thinks this is all fine and normal. My friends who’ve lived here for years are unfazed. I, however, am disgusted. It’s not that I hate nature; I don’t. It’s just that I want all the creepy, crawly, disgusting parts of nature to relocate to no where near where I live. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
However, until my creepy crawly relocation plan has had time to take effect, we’ve been having to do some pest control on our own. And while it’s somewhat satisfying to murder a spider with a flip flop (cruel? Perhaps. But when he’s as big as my fist and his web is preventing me from getting through my front door, he’s got to go), I’d rather not commit regular arachnid genocide or anything worse. So we’ve taken to doing the following frugal (and less violent) methods:
- Regular lawn maintenance. Okay, fine. My husband has been taking care of this, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am terrified of the lawn mower. But the point is that by regularly mowing the lawn, keeping the grass short and the weeds out of the plants, we’re eliminating much of the breeding ground for snakes and bugs. This is an excellent start.
- Having an outdoor cat. An unintended side effect of having an outdoor cat (you can read her whole story if you want) is pest control. She’s great at killing mice, which are apparently a problem where we live. All we have to do is pay for food and flea treatment and she takes care of the rest.
- Bug repellent lights. We have several exterior light fixtures. Regular light bulbs attract insects of all kinds–including the ones that fly–and you have to run faster than Usain Bolt in order to get into the house without also letting in bugs. The repellent lights aren’t perfect but they’ve definitely decreased the volume. And they’re not too expensive either.
- Keeping outdoor areas clean. One of our neighbors told us that black widow spiders have been sighted in the area over the years (see, I told you that country folks are nice). No, thank you. Since these vile creatures live in dark, damp places (does it disturb anyone else that black widow spiders and mushrooms thrive in the same kind of environment?), we have to make sure that the area around our wood pile, our garden, and our outdoor storage bin stay clean and as dry as possible. Because if I ever see one of those, I’m moving.
We also plan on using a pest control company to spray around the house but we’d like to get it under control on our own before we introduce chemicals. Neither of us are a huge fan of them but if it’s going to make the unwelcomed four and eight legged, as well as the winged and the slithering, guest leave, I’m all for it.
I guess there’s a downside to living anywhere. For us, it’s the bugs. On the bright side, at least the weather is getting cooler. That’s the best free pest control I can ask for!