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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Different in the South, Part 1

Things are different here in the south, but I’ve been adapting.  For one thing, there are more bugs, and they’re all bigger.  I’d written about the baby alien on my windshield, which I’ve come to believe might be some mutant variety of praying mantis.  When I first moved here, my supposedly nice apartment had a few pest issues.  One morning I was in the shower, and I opened my eyes after rinsing out shampoo to see a gigantic millipede on the floor of the tub.  I’d seen millipedes in WI that were an inch or two long, but this specimen was at least 4 inches of wriggling tentacles and limbs.  I shrieked at the top of my lungs.  

When I was out of breath, I inhaled, and determined that one shriek was not sufficient to express my horror at being in a shower with such a creature.  With a full breath of air, I shrieked again, as loud as I could.  I cut this one off early, and jumped onto the ledge of the tub.  The drain was the kind that didn’t have any kind of screen in it, so while I balanced on the ledge, I cupped my hands full of water and used it to splash/guide the creature down the drain.  I let the water run while I dried off to try and ensure that the creature reached the water treatment plant.  It was months before I could shower without picturing the giant millipede crawling back up the drain.

The other issue, the more ongoing one at that apartment, was ants.  I believe the whole apartment complex was infested, from the parking lot to the apartments.  If my car stayed in the same parking place more than a day, when I got into my car, there would be ants all over the floor.  This happened even if I vacuumed my car, and didn’t eat in it.  I kept cans of Raid in every room in the house, but I didn’t want to store one in my car because I was afraid it would explode in the heat, becoming a poison and shrapnel bomb.  Instead, I just moved my car to different parts of the lot even if I wasn’t going anywhere on the weekends.  I adapted.

Inside, I kept all food, even unopened cereal boxes, canned food, and pet food in the fridge.  I called every week to be on the list of apartments getting sprayed for bugs.  I was fastidious in the housekeeping.  No dishes out, tight sealing garbage can, the whole bit.  One time, though, I got myself some flowers.  I got a vase of beautiful lilies and put them on the bathroom counter, where I could enjoy them as I got ready for work.  The morning after I got them I opened the door to the bathroom, and the wall and part of the counter were black.  I furrowed my brow, and kept staring at the counter.  Slowly, horror dawned on my sleepy morning brain - the flowers and vase were completely covered in ants.  They were coming into/out of a nail hole in the wall next to where the mirror was attached.  There were hundreds of them.  I grabbed a nearby can of Raid, and sprayed the entire area.  I used paper towels to gather up the piles of dead ants, and threw them in the trash with my flowers, vase and all.  So, no flowers in that apartment.  I adapted.

Have you moved?  Have you had to make adjustments for a new area?


  1. OH MY I AM SO GROSSED OUT!!! I could never have cleaned that up! I am absolutely shivering! I think I'll stay up here in Wisconsin and let the cold freeze the ants right where they are.

  2. Haha, it was pretty awful, but I've learned that I can do whatever is required of me - I wasn't about to knock on a neighbors' door asking for help!!! I have to say, that's about the only good thing about the cold - it kills the bugs before they reach mutant size or form enormous colonies.

  3. Poor Allison, ask your mom about the spider photo I showed her :) The South does have a variety of living things we don't have in WI, but there are perks as well. Meghan, you've come a long way and I don't believe I've heard of ants in your house, right?

  4. Ack - my skin is crawling. I don't think I could tolerate the insect life in a warmer climate.

    It was bad enough moving from an Ontario city to rural Nova Scotia. I think the adjustment from urban to rural was much bigger (greater quantity of insects but most of which I was already familiar) )than the one from central to east: It's all north of the 49th parallel!

    1. I did the city to country move right after high school - and only survived it for 9 months. I missed the easy access to cultural events. Do you like the country?