Creepy Crawly Crazy

I used to not be a very squeamish person. While I wouldn’t want them hanging out in my shower or anything, rodents, reptiles, and even spiders didn’t wig me out. Open wounds, blood and guts? Kind of intriguing, actually.

Things have changed a bit, and I know exactly why: Bugs hate me. They have it out for me. They are determined to turn me into a squeamish, screaming, entomophobic with sweaty palms and rapid breathing at the sight of them.

While I know for certain this is truth, I’m not exactly sure why they’ve singled me out. Although it may have something to do with the fact that about once or twice a year, I go completely rambo on every mosquito, fly, moth, fruit fly, and spider in the house, killing all in sight with a wet towel while shouting things like, “You’re going DOWN you stupid BUG! TAKE THAT!” All while leaving their dead carcasses on the walls to clean up when the massacre is finished and I have calmed down. Sometimes I even leave one or two up as a sign to other potential home-invaders, you know, to intimidate them. They need to know what I am capable of. Maybe that has backfired. Instead of intimidating them, it has just caused them to rally together their bug army and begin their attack on my psyche.

You all remember Attack Number 1: fly eggs in my fajitas. It used to be a once a week meal at our house (fajitas without fly eggs, that is). I’ve only made them once since that first attack back in June, and I could barely gag them down. True story.

Attack Number 2 was actually a series of 3 attacks in one day. Clearly their attempt to wear me down.

Attack Number 2, Part A: The kids and I noticed a yellow jacket-looking thing on the window in the dining room. Only it was much, much bigger and all black. I’ve seen various wasps, but this one was different. We stood 15 feet away and watched it’s massive body creep up the window. I’m fairly certain we heard it’s bug feet hitting the window with each step. Yes, it was that big. I sent the kids to their room for protection and swatted it (read, leaned over with a broom handle and took my best whack at it from as far away as possible.) When it was good and dead but not smooshed entirely, I examined it closely. Google says it was a black wasp, which apparently is not any more dangerous than a yellow jacket and supposedly not aggressive. Maybe not more dangerous, but seriously more intimidating. That sucker was 1 and 3/4 inches long. So while it didn’t actually come at me, I call it an attack because I’ve never seen one before or since, and because it was ONE and THREE-FOURTHS INCHES, PEOPLE. True story. I measured.

Same day, just a few minutes later. Attack Number 2, Part B. I called Matt to tell him of the crazy giant death-wasp in the window. I was standing right next to the window as I was on the phone. And suddenly, a hummingbird flew at full speed right at the window, crashing loudly and scaring me to death. I know birds often fly into windows that are so clean they seem invisible. And maybe that is what the hummingbird was doing. That was my immediate thought: Stupid bird didn’t even see the window. Except then I realized that I was on the other side of the window, and it still flew at full speed… right at me. It was on a mission to attack me with it’s long hummingbird razor beak, but my clean window (ha!) saved me. The band of bugs have enlisted the help of other creatures in their attack against me. Obviously.

Same day, after kids had gone to bed. Attack Number 2, Part C. The bug army must have noticed that while I was shaken, the giant wasp and the miniature bird attacks weren’t having their desired affect. So, they resorted to what worked in the past: eggs. No, I’m not kidding. Only this time they weren’t in my food, they were on my couches. I noticed several large moths as I entered the room. I grabbed a paper towel to get them. A couple of them tried to escape but failed. The third didn’t even try to move. Hmmmm. Why so lethargic, large moth? Ohhhhh. Because you’re LAYING EGGS on my COUCH! I didn’t even know moths would do that. Google says this sometimes happens in clothes, area rugs, and even on furniture. It takes about 5 days before they hatch and become teeny tiny caterpillars that destroy your clothing, carpet, or couch. (Adult moths don’t make the holes in your clothes. It’s the larvae that do.)

Here’s the thing: my couch doesn’t fit the description of the type of environment they prefer. It is kind of a faux suede, smooth with no crevices for hiding or fibers for clinging to. Nope, this moth was trying to send me a message right out in the open. It was a full-on attack. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this:

The final attack came yesterday, and it was the battle that won the war

After arriving home from a long but fun weekend away, the kids and I took the dog for a walk. We went our usual route, out the driveway to the right, right at the stop sign on Main. While we often walk in single file while playing “Follow the Leader,” this time, we held hands and walked side-by-side. Jacob held Izzy’s leash in his right hand, then my hand in his left. Leesie was to my left holding my other hand.

Just after turning the corner onto Main, I felt something in my nose, as though a bug had flown up it. We stopped while I swatted and blew quickly, trying to get it out. As I swatted, I noticed a little yellow thing on my arm, so I gave it a flick. When I turned my eyes to flick it, I saw in my peripheral vision there was something in my hair, like a big piece of dandruff. I gave it a shake, then noticed it fell on the front of my shirt. It looked like a little worm, less than a centimeter long. I flicked at it as well. We began walking again, when I realized the “dandruff” was still clinging to my hair. It hadn’t fallen on my shirt after all.

Suddenly I froze. I realized that the something in my nose and then on my arm and then in my hair and then on my shirt were four of the same thing. I began to examine the kids and dog, who were all right next to me the entire time. Nothing on them. Phew.

We continued to walk, when I began to feel my skin crawl. Only it wasn’t the creepy crawlies. It was crawlies creeping. All over me. A few on each arm, several on my leg. A bunch stuck to my shirt and skirt and a few in my hair where I could see them. I was covered in about 30 little worms that had rained down from the sky, directly onto ME and only ME. Like a crazy woman, I started screaming and flicking them all off and hollering at the kids to check every part of me.

I did realize I was causing a scene on a busy road and was just about to tell myself to calm down, when I noticed a little yellow worm crawling into the V of my v-neck shirt. Calming down was now out of the question. Jumping, screaming, reaching into my shirt and discovering one – cover your eyes for this next part, dad – in my bra. (Dad, I know you didn’t cover your eyes, so you’ll just have to get over the fact that I wear one. As does every other woman. Except that lady we saw at Wal-Mart the other day. But really, she should have been, too.)

A full on aerial attack, missing all 3 of my walking companions, but completely covering me. I looked up and saw massive webs full of the little creepy crawlers, ready to dive-bomb me at any moment. We ran. Only not our usual route home. We ran through the back yards of what I’m sure were nice but now terrified old ladies, in damp grass all the way to our back yard… and locked door. Annalise was just steps behind me the entire way, providing me with constant updates on the whereabouts of more worms on my back and legs but not having the courage or decency to flick them off me. Thank you so much, my dear daughter.

Continuing the crazy, I pounded on the locked door, frantically hollering for Matt to open up. The moment I was inside, I began stripping all my clothes off and throwing them on the kitchen table for further examination and determination of whether they should end up in a burn pile. Now completely naked, I ran to the bathroom to examine my hair. An “all-clear” was made, and the crazy subsided. Dressed in clean sweats and shirt, I sat down to Google once again. This is what I learned:

From Wikipedia, “The fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea, is a moth in the family Arctiidae known principally for its larval stage, which creates the characteristic webbed nests on the tree limbs of a wide variety of hardwoods in the late summer and fall… The adult moth lays her eggs on the underside of leaves in ‘hair’-covered clusters of a few hundred. Eggs hatch in about a week…

ONE moth lays a cluster of a few hundred eggs. In that giant oak tree on the Southeast corner of Main and 19th, you’ll see thousands, THOUSANDS of little moth larva, pale yellow caterpillars raining from the sky, or oak tree as it may be.

And they have won the war. I am officially creeped out, buggy crazy, sweaty-palmed hyperventilating over the thought of bugs and their eggs, and especially their larva. And how do I know for sure? Today, while teaching, I felt something in my nose and ran – no, skipped/climbed/jumped/leaped/clammered while making little shrieking noises all the way to the tissue box. I whacked one kid in the head with my flailing arms, and- only when I blew my nose and discovered there was nothing out of the ordinary in there – did I realize that I was in my classroom, 27 sets of 8 and 9-year-old eyes looking at me, wondering why their teacher just went crazy.

You win, dumb bugs. You win.

4 thoughts on “Creepy Crawly Crazy

  1. Holly, you crack me up… at the same time I was reading this, I was thinking how much I hate bugs too and I steer clear of them every chance I get.. I don’t want to hurt your feelings because I love you so… BUT… given the enormity of your personal attack, I think you should stay FAR AWAY from me. LOL (JK)

  2. Oh man Holly! This made me laugh sooo hard! I, too, have a bug phobia, and I know exactly the kind of worms you are talking about. They fall out of trees and have attacked me as well. Lately they are EVERYWHERE! Spiders too! Yesterday I walked face first into a web across my back deck, with a spider about an inch away from my mouth!!! My neighbors hear me screaming all the time. LOL!

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