Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bad Bugs and a Bug That Brings You Joy


I've grown to hate bugs. In Jersey, it was only the cockroach I had to worry about. And the occasional mosquito bite. But here... I've got bees the size of a man's big toe; I've got spiders you remove with pooper scoopers (well, that was actually Oklahoma); I've got ladybug infestations and stinkbugs; wood bees that are drilling my barn down; moths that are running amok; mud daubers, chiggers, superhuman ticks and don’t get me started on the flies. Anywhere you see cows, there are flies. Big flies, little flies, in-between flies, flies that give you the middle finger…


One time there was a praying mantis on the top of Kurt’s head like a jaunty hat. He looked this way and that way (the mantis, not Kurt) and was kind of cute until you remembered praying mantises cannibalize their mates after sex. What was he doing on Kurt’s head?



Kelly found a beautiful dragonfly the other day. Neon green. He was as big as my pinky. He was injured, so she brought him in the house. I said, “Very nice but this ain’t a baby bunny we can try to nurse back to health. It’s a bug!” and I made her take him back outside again. The next day when I was sweeping the front porch, I found his carcass behind the geraniums. I felt guilty. When the bugs are so big you feel bad about their deaths, it’s a problem.



I still kill them though. In Jersey, I’d scoop them up in a napkin and carry them outside where I set them free. Except the cockroaches. Here, I’ve learned that as soon as I see two of something right in a row, I’m in for an infestation. It is going to be holy hell. There is nothing cute about thousands of ladybugs crawling up the walls and across the ceiling and dropping into the mayonnaise when you’re trying to make a sandwich. This is what happened when we lived in the Amityville Horror House. Not here thank God. Here I’ve got what’s considered normal bugs for the area. Which is bad enough. A few dozen of this, a couple of that. Just enough to annoy me, sting me now and then, and make me scratch.




I like some of the bugs. Lightning bugs. Cicadas. When they make that clicking noise, it reminds me of a hot summer day. Crickets. They’re good luck. And butterflies. Butterflies remind me of my mother. She loved butterflies. She had butterfly decorations in her house and a sweatshirt with a butterfly appliqué on it. She even had a tattoo of a butterfly on her ankle. I don’t even have any tattoos and she had one. I was very proud of her for that.

The morning of her funeral, everyone was waiting in their cars to proceed to the cemetery. The funeral home guys were going back and forth carrying all the flowers out to the hearse, and the family, Kurt and I, my dad, my brother and sister and their spouses, were standing outside the door watching them, smoking cigarettes and crying. The limos were waiting for us to get in, the doors opened.

All of a sudden a big yellow butterfly flew out of the funeral home door and fluttered in and out of us. It flew all around. We all started screaming. “Look! Look! It’s Mommy!” Then it flew up, up, up over the roof and disappeared into the sky. We all watched it go.


This was in April. It was cold up in Jersey. Butterflies weren’t even out yet. And butterflies don’t live inside funeral homes. It was a sign from my mother telling us it was okay, she was still with us, maybe not in the way we were used to, but she was here. And we really needed that. None of us is religious. Some of us don’t even believe in God. How do you get comfort if you can’t tell yourself, “She is in Heaven now?” I’ve come to realize that’s one reason why religion is good. Comfort. Or else you need a good, old fashioned butterfly.

28 comments:

Giulia said...

We had a bevy of ladybugs who took up residence one winter up North in our bedroom in one corner of the ceiling. We fondly called it the Winter Palace. Having done a number of Chekhov plays it seemed natural. Ladybugs are supposed to be good luck too. Actually they are. They eat aphids. Praying Manti also, I believe eat things you'd rather not have in your garden. So, even though they eat their spouses (as do spiders), they do provide benefits for us all. Hey, I often feel I'd enjoy chewing the head off MY spouse. So I feel many a kindred spirit out there...HA!

Gilly said...

I love that butterfly story about your Mother. Such a comfort - snd who can say its not true?

But you in the US do seem to have a rather outlandish line in bugs!! And yours seem much bigger than ours!

Think I'll stay here!

Sweetflutterbys3 said...

Wow, I got ewwwed out and chills at the same time reading your post!

The picture of the bugs all over the curtain and on the ceiling reminded me of a horror movie. I would have ran screaming and never looked back!

It's amazing that you saw that butterfly at your mom's funeral. I think sometimes God sends signs like that so we will believe. Maybe that is what your mom was trying to tell you. My mother in law had a dream of her mother telling her she was ok when her mother passed and she said it was very reassuring.

Gail said...

We, too, have been overrun with bugs this year, some I have never seen.

Keep the praying mantis, he is a good guy and eats other insects, always a helpful additon to the garden.

The lady bugs, if they are the same as mine, are not really lady bugs but an imitation and they do bite! Here they seem to hole up for the winter in the facia of the house and then, first warm day, they throw a party!

Going Crunchy said...

I'm glad I stopped in to read you and visit! This post was intrigue, entomology, horror (my gawd woman, those bug pictures freak me out), spiritual AND funny at the same time. Love it!

Rural Rambler said...

We have those imposter Lady Bugs, Asian Beetles, every fall and they freak me out and Gail is right they bite! I mean we sweep up piles of them and I actually seal up a couple of our doors with painters tape to keep their orange bodies out of the house. They haven't hit yet but they are coming and they STINK! AND their orange trail of death squiggles stain everyTHING!!!

That is very cool about the butterfly Debi :) I will take a good old fashioned butterfly any ol day as a sign. It put a little peace in your heart that day!

Jeff said...

Hilarious, just hilarious! Lady bugs dropping into the mayonnaise? I know it's true, but it's still funny! More soberly, the butterfly: yes, it was your mother. A similar thing happened to me when my mother died.

Chris said...

I love your description of the butterfly. A similar thing happened at my dad's funeral. My dad was not religious but he believed in God and believed that God could be seen and felt all around. At his funeral, the casket was set in front of a large window. On the outside of the window, a butterfly flitted all through the service. I felt it the most appropriate symbol of the day, certainly my fondest memory of the day.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Every time I tell that butterfly story, other people share the same kind of thing happening. It's great.

Yeah, those ladybugs are actually Asian lady beetles introduced by the Dept. of Ag to control the aphids. Of course now they are running amok like everything else the Dept. of Ag tries to manipulate. They have no natural predators here and no safe pesticides kill them. They are actually dangerous because they can clog your light fixtures and heating ducts and cause a fire. I suspect they can also cause asthma, just like roaches do, especially when you have so many. This is what happens when you mess with Mother Nature.

The stink bugs are from Asia too and they are worse than ever this year. Also no natural predators. The Dept. of Ag is saying no big deal, they don't hurt anything. YOU try to live with that smell! But let me give you guys a tip. Put about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. You can spray them off your screens with it. It kills them and doesn't hurt your screens. Just hose it off. You can also ping them into a cup of water with Dawn in it.

Thanks everyone for your nice comments!

Kritter Keeper said...

i used to hate bugs, but am now the opposite of you...i don't kill any unless they have buzzed my head in a threatening way...borer bees, red wasps, hornets and sand hornets...those stupid stink bugs have no clue where they are flying and have flown into my face causing a big shriek, my chest and probably my legs...i just ping them off.

thanks for commenting about my deer. i joined your blog and hopefully you will join farmtails. love that you referenced your mother that way...i agree, she was there, no coincidence. i am more spiritual than religious...lost dad two years ago, i know the sadness...take care!!!

Anonymous said...

We have the stink bugs in a bad way. So very not fond of them.

Love the story about the butterfly and your mom. Mine appeared as a cat.

CountryDew at Blue Country Magic
(sorry about the anonymous, having trouble with the log-in)

Nezzy said...

Yep, sure shootin' those lady bugs will bite. I was out one weekend workin' in the gardens and the lady bugs were bitin' my legs to thunder. Hubby thought I was nuts (like what's new with that??) 'Till I told him some of the other teachers at school had the same experience.

I just adore you butterfly story. God does work in mysterious ways.

God bless and have the best 'fall day ever. I think I need send ya some of my barn spray...works on everything!!! :o)

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm not big on bugs either. We get those ladybugs or whatever they are in the spring as soon as the warm weather hits. We keep a portable vacuum handy to get them off the ceilings.

Love the butterfly story. I always think of my mom whenever I see a butterfly flitting around, and here's the thing, I don't know why. I don't remember her ever being into butterflies but whenever I see one I think it has something to do with her. Weird I know, but it's just this feeling...

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

We have all sorts of bugs, too. Luckily the stink bugs have't completely taken over and I didn't see that many lady bugs this year. I had a good laugh about the praying mantis on Kurt's head. That is wonderful about the butterfly at your Mother's funeral - a beautiful sign.

Christina said...

Keep your lady bugs around, they ear aphids. I am with you on the roaches, flies, chiggers and skeeters. I will try and help a spider outside if its not a posionous one but they creep me out. I am very mistrustful of things that have more than 4 legs. LOL.

Dragonflies eat mosquito's. They are good omens as well. After Hurricane Katrina the dragonflies came in and ate all the mosquito's and their eggs that were in the standing water. NOT once did a dragonfly sit on a dead body. It was a very interesting story.

I am not religious either but I do believe in the afterlife and in signs. I think the butterfly was a gift from your mom for sure.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

rofl! You had me rolling while reading about the praying mantis on Kurt's head. Oh man! Too funny!

And I just rescued one today from getting ran over by a friend who was backing her car out of her driveway. I always tell myself that I like any bugs that killbad bugs.....but I don't know why that same sentiment doesn't carry over to spiders. *shiver*

We've had lady bug infestations, too. Shocking. One or two in your house are cute....several hundred are not.

The worst bugs of all, and why I moved far away from South Carolina are the Palmetto Bugs.....the sweet as sugar names South Carolinians give to these creatures, when all they are, are flying cockroaches the size of golf ball! Eeeek!
They get in your house and....and....when they fly on you while watching TV..........SCREAM!!!!!

*shiver*

whew. I'm ok now.

I think.

The story about your Mother and the butterfly made me teary eyed.

Because of you, I think I will finally get that tattoo I've often thought about.
I love the idea of my kids thinking of me like that.


~Lisa

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I forgot to tell you about the signs I received when I was worried about my unborn daughter. She hadn't been moving for about a week before I went into labor and I was very worried. A day before I went into labor, I looked out my kitchen window at a flower pot on the deck and there was a beautiful pink flower blooming in it.

The odd thing is that I had never planted anything in that pot...ever.

And then the night I went into labor and was walking out the front door for the hospital, I looked onto our grassy front yard and there was a tiny little bunny, holding a pink flower in his mouth.....just looking at me calmly.

After I brought my beautiful baby girl home from the hospital (weighing 11 lbs 12 oz....no wonder she didn't move much. She had no room. haha!), the pink flower in the flower pot was gone and I never did see that bunny again.

~Lisa

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I have never in my life seen a wild bunny with a pink flower in its mouth! And I've seen hundreds of bunnies. That WAS a sign!

Oh, those palmetto bugs. I heard about them. My girlfriend said she was cleaning the stove one day and there was a hair sticking out of the burner and so she grabbed it and pulled it out. It was the antenna of a palmetto bug! Ew!

Verde Farm said...

I found you through Farm Tails. I'm so glad I did. I laughed out loud (for real) in this post and I was touched at the same time. Your bug story is just hilarious to read. You are very descriptive and I could visualize all of it.
As for the butterfly, I do believe in signs like that. I am sure it was your mom reassuring you all she was just fine. I have no doubt :)
Amy

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Kritter, by the way, I don't really kill ALL the bugs. Only the ones I have to. I've even rescued a Copperhead snake. I know, I know! I can't help it :(

Hey Nezzy, what's that barn spray?

Well thanks for coming Verde Farm!

Beth said...

I'm not so sure that those Asian ladybugs eat aphids---we had a few gazillion of the ladybugs last year in our house, but this year was our worst year ever for aphids. They ate everything in sight, including our vegetables and flowers. Ate one huge healthy rose bush down to bare stalks. This year, the ladybugs get vacuumed.

I love the story of your mom and the butterfly. I have no doubt that that was your mama's way of telling you that she was fine. And God's way of telling us that He loves us. We've had several experiences with birds that I think might be my mama saying Hello.

By the way, just as I was typing this comment, a huge black spider dropped down from a lamp right next to me. I confess---I squashed that sucker flat between two books. I just can't have big spiders dropping down out of nowhere in my house. *Shudder*

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

So that spider dropped down beside you right while you were reading this post, huh? Hmm, what is that a sign of? lol

Beth said...

Ha ha...I don't know, maybe a sign that I need to vacuum a little more often? Or that God has a sense of humor? :-)

Anyway, two dictionaries slammed together sure do make for a very flat, very dead spider. We have Black Widows living near our porch, so I was trying to make sure it wasn't a Black Widow spider, but, by the time I'd smashed it, you couldn't even tell it was a spider.

Cynda said...

I believe that was your mama too. She was giving you a message she is ok. I enjoyed reding that Debi.

Sloan said...

I love how your mother is coming to you every time you see a butterfly. Thats a beautiful story Debi. The other bugs are a different story!

Motley said...

I had a fly flip me off one time, but I got him with my handy bug zapper and he never flipped the bird again!

Jamie Ferraioli said...

I'm sad that I didn't get to see the butterfly. But every time I saw a butterfly floating around during the spring and summer, it made me feel like Nana was close by.

As for the jaunty praying mantis...I'm going to pee my pants with laughter if I think about that any more.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Yes, I heard one of your favorite new words to use is "jaunty."

Aunt Junelouise just told me she was sitting by her window and she was thinking about you and all of a sudden a butterfly floated by.