Pests or room-mates?

19 Oct

Whose house is this, really? I pay rent to live here but my family and I are outnumbered by various pests that have invaded our home…or perhaps they have been here all along. They don’t have jobs so they have all day to breed and they win the game of hide and seek every time.

Since moving into the house I affectionately refer to as ‘my crappy rental’, mice have made themselves known. This old house has several holes in skirting boards in cupboards and behind doors and despite my best efforts to get rid of them, they let me know they are still here and aren’t going anywhere. I have tried ratsak, foil in the holes, traps…apparently snake poo is a great way to get rid of them because they are deathly afraid of snakes and will run at the sight of it. The obvious question here is – do I want mouse droppings all over my home or big piles of snake poo? Doesn’t seem like much of a solution to me.

Cockroaches also enjoy living in my home. They play a game where they wait until I start walking down the hall and then they run across me to see if they make it to the other side before I step on them. Sometimes I jump back and squeal. Sometimes they trick me by going to run across me and taking a detour instead. Apparently if you spot one that means there are thousands in your home. The cockroach baits have definitely reduced their numbers but they keep coming back.

I also have moths. There are little holes in my clothes and carcasses all over my pantry. Apparently there are clothes moths and pantry moths. Well, I can confirm that I have both. Once again, moth balls and moth traps have reduced their numbers, as has my weekly habit of sweeping their nests of the ceiling and walls with a broom, but I really feel like I am fighting a losing battle.

An old house has so many hiding spots for pests. I’m not sure a pest controller can help me, short of burning the house to the ground and building me a brand new one. Some days I go through my pest control ritual of refreshing traps, cleaning, vacuuming and poisoning and some days I just throw my hands in the air in surrender. Maybe I should start leaving food and clothing out for them. They seem to rule this house. They just let me live here.

My breaking point came about two weeks ago. I left the house as usual to drop my son off at school. I ran a few errands and came home at midday – to a swarm of bees in my front garden. There were thousands of them, I kid you not. I could see them flying around from a distance but I didn’t identify them as bees until I was driving up my driveway and they swarmed the car. It was like a horror movie. My three-year-old started screaming. I beat a hasty retreat to my sister’s house where I starting ringing around for a pest controller who was available immediately. I couldn’t even get into my house. Where had they come from?

After being told by several pest controllers that there was no way there was a nest because they couldn’t have built it fast enough and to go back in a couple of hours and they would have magically disappeared, I found someone who believed that I had seen what looked like a nest on a branch of the tree in my front garden. He agreed to do the job for me. I just had to pay with a credit card over the phone and sit and wait.

I was right. A nest of feral bees had to be removed from the tree and the rest were ‘treated’ to an early grave. Apparently they had quietly built the next with little noticeable activity in the cold weather and then on the first warm day decided to dance all over my front yard. I came home to a missing branch on my tree and piles of dead bees all over my front yard. There were too many to count.

I suppose the moral of this story is that we can put up a good fight but we will always lose the war with pests. Because to them we are the pests who built a great big house on their turf and by golly, they are going to make the most of it.

La Dolce Vita (sort of) – Jo Abi


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