Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bugs in my life: Black Beetles

These are my nemesis. I don't know exactly what their true name is, but they do look a lot like these buggers (heh, buggers). For about as long as I can remember we've had these small bastards running around the house. On quiet summer-nights you can sometimes hear them crawling inside the walls. I remember one day when I was taking a nap and woke up to find one of them crawling on the pillow right beside my head. Nasty.

When I was younger these were also my favourite object for insect-torture (common, most kids do stuff like that). When I captured one (which wasn't easy as they usually stay hidden during the day) I used to cut off their extremities, starting with the antennae and then the legs, watching the squirm with the small stumps of legs they had left. (Yes, very cruel, I know.) Probably the reason that I liked torturing these bugs in particular was because they were/are so elusive; sometimes I would wake up at night and hear them inside the wall. I'd take a needle and try to stick it into the wall in hope that I'd nail it, but that never worked.

They are also regular inhabitants of the shower/sauna (sort of a conversion really) we have in the basement. This is an old house and the basement is sort of a middle-land, not quite outside, but not really inside. It's a bit like the sewers of a city: those that have no business there would rather not think of what could be down there and those that go there on a regular basis are already used to it. So, anyway, our shower/sauna hybrid used to have these wooden planks as a floor (and under that the foundation), and the black beetles would love to hide under and between them. You try to squash them with something, like a shampoo bottle, but they'd run in there between those boards too fast. Occasionally you got one, but that was the exception rather than the rule.
But a couple of years ago, those old wooden boards were ripped out and replaced with newer, smaller ones that you could lift up and move around. (It's a number of inch-wide or so boards connected with some rope, looks a bit like a wooden carpet.) And ever since I've been mashing them more than ever. I see one try to run under and hide and I can just lift the board up and hit it with a bottle, shoe or whatever I have handy. (Once I didn't have anything handy so I just squished it with my thumb. Ew.)

Though I don't think I'll ever see them completely gone I do find that killing them satisfies some sort of need, perhaps the thrill of the chase still left from the days when early humans would hunt on the plains of Africa, or maybe just mans simple need to kill everything unknown to him.
(Speaking of hunting, there's something really satisfying about catching a fly right out of the air with your hand, even though the result is very, very messy.)

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