The annual battle with the bugs has begun


There I was, sitting in my garage and minding my own business when it happened.

We were finally relaxing on a beautiful evening and having an adult beverage when what was probably a large bug, but felt like a 747, took a run at my face. Now, I am not going to say I screamed like 12-year-old girl at a horror movie, but it was close. I tried to dodge that sucker so hard I pulled a muscle I didn’t know I had.

And just like that, bug season had begun.

Now, I am used to creepy crawlies. I lived on Guam, where the spiders are large and seemingly angry all of the time. And I mean always. They have a horrible attitude problem. I had to carry Raid like police officers carry pepper spray.

And in my hometown, that little desert burg of Yuma, Ariz., we had cockroaches the size of school buses. And they flew. Yes, it was a nightmare.

Of course, we also had black widows, tarantula hawks (look them up – they are total nightmare fuel) and plenty of other dive-bombing creatures.

But the insects in the Midwest know how to party. Or at least they know how to crash a party. They arrive in swarms and are not very good guests. And when it is time to go home, they just don’t.

It is amazing how a little insect, even just one, can seemingly latch onto you like a little brother following around a big brother. You just can’t seem to shake them, and when you do, they tell mom and there is hell to pay.

Sorry, got off track there with my metaphor.

Every year, my wife and I spray the lawn, perimeter, back patio and driveway with one deadly bug spray or another. You know the ones that you connect to your garden hose. And it usually works.

But this year the flying pests seemed especially thick. Just sitting outside on the patio to enjoy my now famous (if only to me) COVID Cooler was nearly impossible. Swarm, buzz, bomb. The little buggers would not give it a rest.

We also noticed that the ticks were out in force and early. We have a large wooded plot on our property, so ticks are often a problem. We treat out dogs for ticks, but we still found a few – including one in the house (yikes) – already this year.

So we bit the bullet and had some pros come in to spray the perimeter and yard. These guys show up with foggers that looked like something out of “Ghostbusters.” They laid down the death fog hot and heavy and will do so on a regular basis through the summer.

It has certainly helped and will probably make this summer more bug free than ever. But that doesn’t mean they are all gone. And that also doesn’t mean the little blood suckers will leave us alone completely.

And this won’t help at all with the ground nesting bees that we get from time to time. I found one nest a couple of years ago when I rode over it with the riding lawnmower. The bees came after me hot and heavy, and I had to abandon the lawnmower and run up the driveway in a manner that was probably not masculine at all. Thankfully, my wife didn’t see that little “performance.”

But for now, we can go outside and enjoy the beauty of our yard and neighborhood. But I know that gangs of insects are out there watching… waiting for their chance.