Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Paradise? More Like Parasite

"It's pretty, and I think it's going to be a nice place to live."

That was me two days ago. Oh how things change. Now, I know it's just been a crappy day, and I'm tired and I'm cranky, but I'm giving serious thoughts to bailing on my rental contract, hopping in my car, and moving back to someplace where I can deal with the wildlife better. Because in the last two days I've enountered some of Georgia's most colorful denizens.

Monday afternoon, I drop a quick note in the blog, put on my shoes, and head out the door. There, crawling on the open-air hallway/sidewalk between the parking lot and my apartment I'm greeted by this friendly little fellow:

This is called a smoky brown or "palmetto" cockroach and the one outside was a large example (about 2"-2 1/2"). I (probably needlessly) doused the sucker with pesticide and then smacked it with a newspaper. It still took about 3 whacks to kill it. If you'd like to know what its guts look like, I can elaborate. Just ask!

Anyway, this was gross and creeped me out, but it wasn't awful. The bug was outside, it was near our house, but not particularly aimed at our house, and further research indicates that palmettos more commonly live outdoors rather than indoors. Nasty? Yes. And it prompted me to buy a new can of Raid and some roach traps for our house, but I can handle it. These bugs are common in the South and hot, wet locations, and though gross, they aren't really vicious or anything.

Then today I went to the closet in my study and found that we had been infested. By fire ants. (I didn't know this at the time; the pest control guy who came over told me later). The thing about fire ants is that they're attracted to sweat, etc. that the human body gets rid of. So while there was no food in my closet, they had gotten all into our spare blankets. Yich!

I unloaded about half a can of Raid (inside and outside) and we tossed our blankets in the dryer (this kills all the bugs--much easier than trying to knock them all off) and the pest control guy sprayed well. The problem is that fire ants DO bite, so now not only do I have little bites all over, but I also have that whole skin crawly feeling like there are ants climbing on me. This has been going on all day.

Supposedly someone is coming over tomorrow to caulk up the crack in the floorboards that allowed these pests in, but the bigger problem is that the drainage from the rain is not being directed away from the house, so there is standing water in the corners oustide our building. I've complained to the landlord, but the rainy season is supposed to be coming soon, and if this doesn't get fixed we're going to be looking at flooding and more bugs, because the water attracts all kinds of bugs. If we were living in a rat hole, I'd understand these kinds of problems, but I'm paying quite a bit more than I was at my last apartment, where maintenance issues got taken care of within hours.

Georgia, you're pretty, but your insects suck! I don't know if I can handle both a lack of seasons and increased obnoxious insect life. OK, I'll post something positive soon. Today was just crap.

By the way, for a really good website on bugs, check out What's That Bug. Informative, Entertaining, and yes, kind of disgusting.

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