Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Poison Wars

I’m not into this idea that all insects need to be poisoned, stomped, broomed to death, or executed via firing squad.  However, there are some insects, chief among them being fireants and yellow jackets, who don’t do enough good to make up for the damage they do. Both parties are super aggressive stingers who haven’t the least bit of live-and-let-live in them. I didn’t start the war between those species and myself and I haven’t the ways and means to end it.

The broadcasting of poison in an area to get rid of one species usually winds up killing hundreds of beneficial insects and most of those would be eating the pest insects if left to their own devices. But the poison wars leave everyone dead except us and whoever it is we are trying to get rid of, and that’s the irony of it all.

I went after some yellow jackets earlier this year and I took a can of poison with me. This was an all-out frontal assault on their nest and there could be only one survivor. Yellow jackets tend to massively attack their prey, and in this case it was me, so I got dinged over a dozen times before I was able to close their front door and build a pretty good fire on top of the nest. I dug the still smoldering ruins out of the ground and honestly, they would have been so much better off allowing the mutts and me some space.

Dragonflies are a lot better at killing flying insects than we are and they are insects, too. The poison wars have cost us more dragonflies than mosquitoes and if you’ve ever tried to buy dragonfly larvae then you know what it costs to try to reintroduce them to an ecosystem.  The tools we need to rid us of pests occur naturally yet there is little profit in this for those who market poison as the only path to freedom from what bugs us.

That said…

My mailbox has become a haven for roaches. It’s not like I leave food out overnight in my mailbox or keep pizza boxes stacked up in the corner of my mailbox. Oddly, I cannot imagine why roaches would decide that a metal box with my name on it might be a place for hundreds, nay, thousands of their kind to congregate. The other day I stopped to get my mail in the predawn darkness and there were dozens of them hiding in between the junk mail and notices that I could get a new credit card simply by filling out a form and sending it in. Okay, that’s junk mail too, nevermind.

Three of them landed in front of the speedometer as if awed by the acceleration of their species. I was able to kill a pair of the intrepid roach explorers but the third escaped me. I think there are a few left in my truck but none have surfaced again and I have vacuumed the truck out on a daily basis in an effort to make sure none can hide from me. I dread being on a date or something like that and have one drop in the lap on some unsuspecting woman. That might be a deal breaker, especially if she leaps from the truck while it is moving.

Is there a protocol for this? If I send flowers to a woman who has been maimed while ejecting from my truck due to insect attack is this considered empathy or romance? I fear I do not date enough to be good enough to recognize the more subtle points of the ritual.

This morning I took the can of poison I used on the yellow jackets and went after the roach haven my mailbox has become. Without ceremony or proclamation I opened the door and let the nukefest begin. Caught so unawares were they most of them were drenched in the first salvo, unable to scurry underneath the offer of a 3.14156% mortgage rate that would make my life as easy as pie. Some managed to make it to the bottom of the junk mail pile where AAA would have me towed to safety in any emergency, even an insect related one, for a low month membership fee, but it was far too late for them all. A mailbox is a metal box canyon and I brought death and destruction upon their hideout.  As I watched their bodies dropping to the ground I wondered why there wasn’t some resident spider or some lurking mantis here, but no… they were all long gone before the war started.

The Poison War has brought even those of us who despise the products to use them. We have little choice now; all the predators are gone. We are as trapped as the bug in my mailbox for we have lost all ability to create habitat for beneficial insects and we have done little but helped evolve those we seek to destroy. Even now I suspect there are roaches under my mailbox who are stoned, not dying, and they will return. And they will have the munchies.

Take Care,


1 comment:

  1. In MA they had a woman in her 80's die of EEE, (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), the nasty twin of West Nile Virus. Shortly after that they showed several towns sending out those trucks that generate an oily, sticky, kerosene fog to kill mosquitoes.
    Of course the bee keepers raised hell, but for the most part people were ambivalent to the risks agent oranging the neighborhood, or even their kids following the foggers on their bikes.